Dedicated to sustainable,
high performance building

2015 Award Winning Project: Mountain Equipment Co-op Head Office

Jury comment

A very high-performance building that does justice to its client’s corporate philosophy and aspirations. It includes some wonderful collaborative and social spaces. The project has been tailored to its inhabitants, offering up environmental features as a way to enhance their day-to-day working life. The green roof is not there just to gain a credit, but is a habitable program space for the enjoyment of employees.

Founded in the 1970s, Mountain Equipment Co-op has a long history of promoting active outdoor lifestyles and environmental awareness. As a natural extension of these values, MEC embarked on creating a green building for its head office that would reflect its unique corporate culture. The site chosen for the 12,100m2 building is southeast of the city centre, adjacent to a rapid transit station and a major east-west bike route.

An integrated design process informed the concept and guided the development of the project: Among the key considerations were:
• Wood construction was evaluated against other more conventional structural systems, and chosen for its renewability and aesthetic qualities. [See more on the use of wood in this project in ‘Tall Wood’ – SABMag 46, Winter 2014-15]

• To reduce energy consumption, the building was designed with three large ventilation towers, and the plan oriented to take advantage of prevailing winds.

• A cruciform plan was chosen, with narrow floor plates which, together with extensive glazing and appropriate solar control, ensured that the majority of occupied spaces receive ample daylight.

• The intersection of the third and fourth-storey wings also serves the human agenda of the project by creating a vertical atrium that is the social heart of the building. Work environments are designed to promote collaboration between teams and a high-degree of operational efficiency.

The MEC Head Office is estimated to be 70% more energy efficient than the reference building under the Model National Energy Code for Buildings [MNECB]. This is achieved through a combination of passive design and highly-efficient mechanical systems.

  • Project credits
    Proscenium Architecture + Interiors Inc.
    Structural Engineer
    Fast + Epp Structural Engineers
    General Contractor
    Ventana Construction
    Landscape Architect
    Sharp + Diamond Landscape Architecture
    Civil Engineer
    KWL Associates Ltd.
    Electrical/mechanical Engineer
    Pageau Morel et Associés
    Commissioning Agent
    Ed White Photography
  • Project Performance
  • – Energy intensity [building and process energy] = 297.5 MJ/m2/year
    – Energy intensity reduction relative to reference building under MNECB =
    – Potable water consumption from municipal sources =
    2,441 L/occupant/year
    – Potable water consumption reduction relative to reference building =
    – Recycled material [by value] =
    – Regional materials [800km radius] by value =
    33.5% of LEED materials divisions
    – Construction materials diverted from landfill =
  • Materials
    Glulam and nail-laminated wood construction with structural insulated panels and curtain wall system; TPO roof by Carlisle Construction Materials; heating and cooling through a series of 20 geothermal wells optimized by a ground-source heat pump system. The REHAU radiant heating and cooling system is one of the technologies which allows the structure to be 70% energy intensity reduction.