Emission Omissions: Carbon accounting gaps in the built environment

New study discovers important gaps in life-cycle approach used to account for GHGs in buildings

By Philip Gass, Senior Policy Advisor, International Institute for Sustainable Development

In Canada, there is rising interest in how building materials may affect greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), and whether innovations and choices in these materials can help the country meet its emission reduction targets. The fact that over 30 per cent of GHGs come from the communities and structures we build for ourselves underscores the need for us to get this right.

To date, evidence for optimizing the choice of building materials has largely been drawn from life-cycle assessment (LCA) studies that consider the GHG (and other) impacts of building products at each phase of their “cradle-to-grave” lifespan (i.e., production, use and end of life).

While LCA is the best-available approach for evaluating GHG performance of alternative building products and designs, policy-makers and building designers should be aware there are also limitations, challenges and uncertainties that need to be considered when looking to decarbonize our buildings. We should exercise caution when making decisions that advocate for one building material over another.

Recent research by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) has identified serious gaps in how emissions from building materials and products are being measured and accounted for. Failure to account for all carbon emissions may undercut today’s climate change efforts and shortchange future emission reduction opportunities.

News Release: https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/tool-for-tracking-ghgs-in-canada-s-buildings-has-built-in-errors-study-875617021.html

Backgrounder: www.iisd.org/library/emission-omissions

Full Report: https://www.iisd.org/sites/default/files/publications/emission-omissions-en.pdf

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City of Calgary Composting Facility, Calgary, AB

Technical Award | Stantec

Jury comments: This facility represents a significant milestone on the road to a circular economy, by converting millions of kilograms of domestic organic waste into valuable compost each year. By-products of this process are also re-engineered to create other marketable commodities, while solar panels, rainwater harvesting, grey water recycling and other environmental strategies have helped this project achieve a LEED v4 Gold rating – the first in Canada.

Nearly 60% of single-family household garbage is compostable waste in Calgary. The City wanted to change this. First and largest of its kind in Canada, the Calgary Compost Facility (CCF) diverts 85 millionkilograms of material from landfills annually by converting it into a marketable product—compost. Opportunities to convert other resources that might otherwise have been overlooked also included:

• 100% of the harvested rainwater is used for the composting process or to flush toilets and urinals

• Greywater from the sinks and showers is diverted into the composting process

• Solar energy is captured via an on-site photovolatic solar farm

• Odour control is maintained using recovered wood chips

• Sulfuric acid used to remove ammonia from the exhaust air in the composting process creates hazardous waste, ammonium sulfate. A process was developed to convert this to a neutralized crystallized form, which is used as fertilizer for agriculture.

These innovative strategies were implemented despite a tight construction schedule. Ina visionary move, the CCF designed the adjacent Administration and Education Building to reach new sustainable heights. It is the first building certified under the LEED® v4 Building Design + Construction rating system in Canada, achieving Gold certification.

The Administration and Education Building boasts a high-performance envelope, reducing the amount of energy lost to the outdoors. It also takes advantage of energy-saving technologies such as condensing boilers, exhaust air heat recovery and high efficiency domestic water heaters.

PROJECT CREDITS

  • Client:  City of Calgary Waste and Recycling Services
  • Architect:  Stantec
  • Civil/Electrical/Mechanical/Structural Engineer:  Stantec
  • General Contractor: Chinook Resources Management Group
  • Landscape Architect:  Stantec
  • Commissioning Agent:  WSP
  • Photos:  Ian Grant

PROJECT PERFORMANCE

  • Energy intensity (building and process energy) = 65.3KWhr/m²/year
  • Energy intensity reduction relative to reference building under ASHRAE 90.2 2010 = 39.1%
  • Water consumption from municipal sources = 2,462 litres/occupant/year
  • Reduction in water consumption relative to reference building under LEED = 50.4%

The administration areas are heated with Viessmann Vitodens 200-W condensing boilers.

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Radium Hot Springs Community Hall and Library, Radium Hot Springs, BC

Institutional [Small] Award | Urban Arts Architecture

Jury comments: This community project in a small town in the mountains of British Columbia reimagines the meaning of ‘community investment’. With a community-centred procurement focus, the project was designed to optimize the social and economic benefits for those living and working within a 100-mile radius of the site and, as such, creates a new ‘recipe’ based on the locally-available ingredients of materials, technology and craft skills.    

The village of Radium Hot Springs Is located in the mountainous southeast corner of British Columbia. The new Community Hall and Library occupy a prominent corner in the centre of the village, overlooking the Legends Park kettle hole.

Designed as the “100 mile” building, the project maximizes the use of local materials and trades in the Columbia Valley. The project goals were to: support economic sustainability through a unique project process that would maximize the use of local resources, both material and human; demonstrate the use of renewable resources and innovative replicable building systems; and create a building that would respond to the micro-climate of the site.

Critical to the success of the project was an integrative design process that identified local materials, resources and labour, thereby dramatically reducing the life cycle embodied energy and overall carbon footprint of the development. The design process resulted in a building that maximized the use of local wood fibre, utilizing approximately 288 cubic metres of wood products harvested from woodlots within 50 kilometres of the site and processed at the local Canfor mill just one kilometer away.

The structure comprises dowel laminated timber (DLT) panels combined with glulam posts and beams. DLT is a mass timber structural panel constructed of standard dimensional lumber, friction-fit together with hardwood dowels, not requiring the use of nails, screws, or adhesives.

This combination results in a structural system with a high potential for demountability, adaptability and reuse. Much of the material fabrication was carried out locally, including the panels which  were prefabricated off-site in Golden, 60 kilometres north of Radium, and transported to the site in a choreographed sequence to maximize efficiency. The cladding was milled by a local mill and charred in Brisco, eight kilometres from the site.

The building is organized and oriented to maximize passive strategies with a long linear form on the east-west axis, permitting natural daylighting and cross ventilation. Strategically located roof overhangs control solar exposure.

Window locations are carefully calibrated to capture the views of the mountains and connect to the park while maintaining less than 40% window-to-wall ratio for energy efficiency.

PROJECT CREDITS

  • Client:  Village of Radium Hot Springs
  • Architect:  Urban Arts Architecture
  • Civil Engineer:  Core Group Consultants
  • Electrical Engineer:  Applied Engineering Solutions
  • Mechanical Engineering:  Rocky Point Engineering Ltd.
  • Structural Engineer: Equilibrium Canada
  • General Contractor:  Ken Willimont
  • Landscape Architect:  Hapa Collaborative
  • Photos:  Dave Best

PROJECT PERFORMANCE

  • Energy intensity (building and process energy) = 274 KWhr/m²/year
  • Energy intensity reduction relative to reference building = 36%
  • Regional materials (800km radius) by value = 80%

Lighting and acoustic panels are built into the roof panels. Uponor supplied PEX piping for the heating system consisting of air-source heat pumps and high-efficiency Viessmann Vitodens 200-W boilers.

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Wellington Building Rehabilitation, Ottawa, ON

Existing Building Upgrade Award | NORR Architects and Engineers

Jury comments: Now widely acknowledged as one of the cornerstones of a sustainable built environment, the renovation and repurposing of existing buildings conserves embodied energy, supports social sustainability and cultural continuity. This project carefully and cleverly reconciles the competing challenges of seismic upgrading of the structure, updating of building services and infrastructure and the constraints of heritage conservation.

This project transforms an insurance office building, consisting of a historic 1927 Beaux Arts landmark and a 1959 addition, into facilities for the House of Commons. The program includes parliamentary offices, multipurpose rooms, library of parliament facilities, cafeteria, ground floor retail space, security processing, as well as two levels of underground support facilities.

The transformation involved stripping the building back to its internal structural frame work, a complete building system replacement, seismic upgrades, heritage restoration, the insertion of a new more robust structural core and new multi-storey spaces.

The project achieved a four Green Globes rating through the preservation of the building core and shell, the reuse of the copper roof, stone and other materials, connection to the district energy plant, solar panels for domestic water pre-heating, heat recovery units, reduced water requirements, a rainwater cistern, a green roof, and room sensors to regulate temperature and light levels. 

A sky-lit atrium brings natural daylight into the upper floors of the building reducing artificial lighting needs. A living wall biofilter provides a natural aesthetic, dampens noise, and cleans and humidifies the air in the ground floor lobby.

The repurposing of existing building stock rather than discarding and building new reflects the priorities of the federal government. The challenge was to rehabilitate the building in a manner that would ensure another 90 years of life while respecting its heritage aspects. While the existing material pallet of stone and bronze has stood up well over time, the mechanical, electrical systems, and exterior windows needed complete replacement and the seismic performance needed significant upgrading.

PROJECT CREDITS

  • Client  Public Services and Procurement
  • Architect  NORR Architects and Engineers
  • Heritage Architect  FGMDA
  • Structural Engineer  Adjelelan Allen Rubeli
  • Mechanical/Electrical Engineer: NORR Architects and Engineers
  • General Contractor:  Ellis Don Corp
  • Photos:  Doublespace Photography

PROJECT PERFORMANCE

  • Energy intensity (building and process energy) =  213 KWhr/m²/year
  • Energy intensity reduction relative to reference building under ASHRAE 90.1 2007 = 34%
  • Water consumption from municipal sources = 5,458litres/occupant/year
  • Reduction in water consumption relative to reference building under LEED = 64%
  • Recycled material content by value = 20%
  • Regional materials (800km radius) by value = 20+%
  • Construction waste diverted from landfill = 87%

Viessmann supplied solar hot water roof panels. The atrium links the reconstructed 1927 and 1959 lobbies to the spaces above via escalators and a sculptural stair. The Nedlaw living wall biofilter is 8.9 m wide x 4.4 m high and removes VOCs from the atrium area, creating 4,000 cubic feet of virtual outside air per minute. Uponor radiant heating systems are used in selected perimeter floor areas. 

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The Duke, Vancouver, BC

Residential [Large] AWARD | Acton Ostry Architects Inc.

Jury comments: An innovative approach to high density urban  living that takes advantage of Vancouver’s relatively mild climate to incorporate a courtyard typology to optimize the use of available site area. The project configuration promotes casual encounters and social interaction between residents and includes an accessible roof, with play space for children, raised planters for community gardening and a dog-walking area, providing a level of amenity that is rare if not unprecedented in a rental building.

Completed in March 2018, The Duke is a LEED Gold target, rental residential project designed under the City of Vancouver Rental 100 Secured Market Rental Housing Policy, which allows height and density limits in strategic locations in the city to be rezoned in exchange for provision of 100% rental housing.

Located near a busy transit-oriented node in Vancouver’s Mount Pleasant neighbourhood, the 15,260 m2, 14-storey, mixed-use project includes 201 rental units, with a small ground floor retail component, all compactly contained in an open-air atrium court building typology that is new to Vancouver.

In contrast to a traditional design approach that would typically feature a double-loaded corridor with units along both sides, the floor plan for The Duke instead features a single-loaded corridor with living units pushed to the outer edge of the site to create a central void space. Such a strategy substantially increases the number of units that can be accommodated on the site by maximizing the overall density within a prescribed 14-storey height limit.

A traditional double-loaded corridor approach would have made the project economically unviable as a rental property; whereas the strategic decision to push the units to the site perimeter made the development viable for rental housing.

The central void is transformed into a soaring, open-air circulation atrium over which a translucent Teflon canopy shields the space from the elements. The rental units are arranged around the perimeter of the trapezoidal-shaped site. This outdoor circulation space enables occupants to step out into a well-lit, weather protected environment designed to provide opportunities for residents to interact, even if only for a brief moment. An array of multi-coloured front doors further animates the central atrium space.

PROJECT PERFORMANCE

Performance metrics for the LEED certification are:

• Operating Energy: 32% reduction in energy cost relative to an ASHRAE 90.1- 2007 Baseline

• Water Consumption: 37% reduction compared to reference building

• Recycled Materials: 21% by cost

• Regional Materials: 33% by cost

• Waste Diversion: 87% of demolition and construction waste diverted from the landfill

PROJECT CREDITS

  • Client:  Edgar Development Corp
  • Architect:  Acton Ostry Architects Inc.
  • Structural Engineer:   RJC Engineers
  • Mechanical Engineer:  Rocky Point Engineering Ltd.
  • Electrical Engineer:  MCW Consultants
  • LEED Consultant:The Integral Group
  • Building Envelope Consultant:  Morrison Hershfield Ltd.
  • Building Code Consultant:  Thorson McAuley Certified Professionals
  • Acoustics Consultant:  RWDI
  • Landscape Architect:  Durante Kreuk Landscape Architects
  • Interior Design:  Bob’s Your Uncle Design Inc.
  • Construction Management: Ventana Construction Corporation
  • Photos:  Michael Elkan Photography

One bedroom and studio apartments. Units are open in plan for maximum daylighting. Thermal batt/acoustic insulation by Owens Corning.

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Bank of Canada Renewal, Ottawa, ON

Existing Building Upgrade Award | Perkins+Will

Jury comments: This major rehabilitation and revitalization project, driven by quantitative issues of obsolete infrastructure, poor energy performance and related carbon impacts, and an outdated working environment, has been addressed with aesthetic sensitivity and restraint. Innovative structural upgrades enabled the restoration of the integrity of this 1970s office tower by Arthur Erickson,  while the 1930s centre building and its immediate surroundings  have been transformed into valuable new public amenities.

Located just west of Parliament Hill in Downtown Ottawa, the Bank of Canada Head Office complex comprises 79,500m² of offices and operation spaces. The original Centre Building was built in the 1930s; the twin office towers and connecting atrium being added in the 1970s. Completed in 2017, this project included the comprehensive renewal of the existing complex, including some reconfigurations and additions to the program.

A new museum invites and educates the community about the Bank’s role in the Canadian economy. The pyramidal glass entrance pavilion and the enhanced public realm that surrounds it form an abstraction of the Canadian landscape and functions as an accessible, multi-faceted public realm throughout the year.

Major drivers for renewal were the performance and infrastructure deficits of the facility, energy upgrades and carbon reductions, and modernization of the workplace. Within the towers, floor plates and waffle slab ceilings were restored to their original open plan concept.

The renovated towers were designed to be modular, allowing for a diverse range of uses so that each contains a combination of private and collaborative spaces.

The Centre Building accommodates both offices and conference facilities, while the atrium provides a variety of social spaces.

The design looked to maintain as much of the existing building infrastructure as possible, to lower both costs and negative environmental impact. Passive design strategies include revealing floorplates, allowing for deeper daylight penetration and greater access to views to the exterior and atrium.

PROJECT CREDITS

  • Client:  Bank of Canada
  • Architecture/Interior Team: Perkins + Will
  • Civil Engineer: Novatech Engineering Consultants
  • Electrical/Mechanical Engineer: BPA Engineering Consultants
  • Structural Engineer:  Adjeleian Allen Rubeli Limited
  • Project Manager:  CBRE Limited/Project Management Canada
  • General Contractor:  PCL Constructors Canada Inc.
  • Landscape Architect:  DTAH
  • Food Service/Commissioning Agent:  WSP
  • Heritage ConsultantEvoq Architecture
  • Building Envelope:  ZEC Consulting
  • Building ScienceCLEB
  • Sustainability Consulting Team:  Perkins + Will
  • Security:  LEA
  • A/V:  Engineering Harmonics
  • Acoustic:  HGC
  • Cost Consultant:  Turner & Townsend
  • Lighting:  Gabriel MacKinnon/Perkins + Will
  • Code & Life Safety:  Morrison Hershfield
  • Photos:  Younes Bounhar

PROJECT PERFORMANCE

  • Energy intensity = 183 kWh/m² /year
  • Energy savings relative to reference building = 44%
  • Water consumption = 4,645L/occupant/year (based on 250 days operation)
  • Water savings relative to reference building = 35%

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Evolv1, Waterloo, ON

Commercial/Industrial [Large] Award | Stantec

Evolv1 is a commercial office building targeting net positive energy and net zero carbon. In order to achieve this standard, the building must produce 105% of its own energy requirements. The 10,000m2, Class AAA building is located in the David Johnston Research + Technology Park, within Waterloo’s Idea Quarter.’ The goal of the project was to inspire development of regenerative buildings by producing an economically-viable prototype that works within the real market. The building is targeting LEED platinum certification and has been certified by the Canada Green Building Council as the first Zero Carbon Building in Canada.

A multipronged low energy design approach was used to meet the client’s environmental goals, including a ground source open loop geo-exchange system, that significantly reduces the heating and cooling loads, and photovoltaic panels installed by VCT Group to produce more energy than the building was going to consume.

The team used an Integrated Design Process (IDP), taking advantage of collaboration between different disciplines, considering the advantages and trade-offs between performance, user comfort and costs from an early stage.

The design team knew what was achievable technically, but had to find ways to make it feasible in the marketplace in order to ensure widespread impact. The team used a proprietary parametric modelling tool that enabled them to analyze thousands of design scenarios simultaneously.

The choice of site was also important; being on the University of Waterloo campus and thus able to leverage the university’s culture of innovation and attract young, tech-savvy tenants. Proximity to the new LRT station was also an advantage. 

PROJECT PERFORMANCE

  • Energy intensity (base building) = 44.5KWhr/m²/year
  • Energy intensity (process) = 33.5 KWhr/m²/year
  • Energy intensity reduction relative to reference building under ASHRAE 90.1 2007 = 105%
  • Water consumption from municipal sources = 1,748 litres/occupant/year
  • Reduction in water consumption relative to reference building under LEED = 69%
  • Recycled material content by value = 28%
  • Regional materials (800km radius) by value = 49%
  • Construction waste diverted from landfill = 82.5%

PROJECT CREDITS

  • Client:  Cora Group
  • Architect/Landscape Architect:  Stantec Architecture Ltd.
  • Civil/Elec/Mech/Structural Engineer: Stantec Consulting Ltd.
  • General Contractor  Melloul-Blamey
  • Commissioning Agent  CFMS West Consulting Inc
  • Photos  Jesse Milns

A large PV array installed by VCT Group on the roof and in the parking lot helps the building to produce 105% of its own energy requirements.

Part of the cladding is slat wall panels made of öko skin from Sound Solutions and consists of glassfibre reinforced concrete that can be mounted horizontally or vertically on a substructure in a rainscreen system.

The geo-exchange system: Water, at a fairly constant at 10°C, is taken from the aquifer 160m below ground, filtered, and sent to a heat exchanger to provide heating and cooling to the building all year round.

Passive strategies were used to reduce energy consumption, followed by active strategies and efficient equipment such as Mitsubishi Electric AC units and fan coils

Sechelt Water Resource Centre, Sechelt, BC

Commercial/Industrial [Small] Award   |  Public Architecture + Communication

Jury comments: We hope this project marks the beginning of a new era in which the invisible infrastructure that has long-supported urban life is brought out into the daylight. Only through making infrastructure visible can we fully grasp and understand the implications of our linear systems of production, consumption, treatment and disposal. Alongside the learning opportunities provided by this facility, the volume of waste discharged into the ocean has been reduced by 90% compared to its predecessor and the bio-nutrient by-products can be used for industry and agriculture.

The Sechelt Water Resource Centre (SWRC) rethinks traditional municipal wastewater treatment. Instead of sequestering this essential service behind a locked chain-link fence, the transparent suburban facility reveals the mechanical and biological systems that clean wastewater, replacing the traditional ‘flush and forget about it’ systems with one that encourages the public to consider their role in the hydrological cycle.

In comparison to the facility it replaced, the SWRC discharges ten times fewer waste solids into the sea, boasts double the treatment capacity and nearly half the operational costs; and, captures resources (biosolids, heat, and water) for industry, parks, and agriculture. A sewage treatment plant, botanical garden and teaching facility in turn, the centre also provides a more humane work environment where employee duties include harvesting tomatoes and pruning roses.

Wastewater is treated and reused at its source instead of being pumped back and forth from an energy intensive pipe network, effectively closing the water loop. The SWRC replaces an existing packaged extended aeration plant with the first North American installation of the Organica Fed Batch Reactor System.

This system is set apart by the inclusion of microorganisms, which live among the roots of plants grown in a greenhouse above the reactors. The plant roots create a complex environment which fosters a biologically diverse community of insects and bacteria that consume the organic matter.

What is remarkable about this system is the elimination of noise pollution and odours associated with conventional treatment as well as its reduced footprint. The entire process is housed in a single building, which integrates with the surrounding neighbourhood and nearby Sechelt Marsh Park.

PROJECT CREDITS

  • Owner/Developer: District Municipality of Sechelt
  • Architect:  Public Architecture + Communication
  • General Contractor:  Maple Reinders Group Inc.
  • Landscape Architect: Urban Systems
  • Civil Engineer:  Urban Systems
  • Electrical Engineer:  IITS Ltd.
  • Mechanical Engineer:  HPF engineering Ltd.
  • Structural Engineer:  CWMM Consulting Engineers Ltd.
  • Commissioning Agent:  CES Group 
  • Photos:  Martin Tessler

PROJECT PERFORMANE

  • Energy intensity (process) = 584 KWhr/m²/year
  • Energy intensity reduction relative to reference building under ASHRAE 90.1 2007 = 22%
  • Water consumption from municipal sources = 12,597 litres/occupant/year
  • Reduction in water consumption relative to reference building under LEED = 69%
  • Recycled material content by value = 17%
  • Regional materials (800km radius) by value = 26%
  • Construction waste diverted from landfill = 96%

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Okanagan College Trades Renewal and Expansion Project – Kelowna, BC

Institutional [Large] Award  |  Diamond Schmitt Architects  

The primary objective of the Okanagan College Trades Renewal and Expansion project was to enlarge and unify disparate elements of the Trades training program on the Kelowna, BC campus and to provide an exemplar of highly sustainable building design for students and future generations of trades workers.

The project comprises two distinct but integrated components: the renovation of 4,180 m² of existing trades workshops and the construction of a 5,574 m² addition. The three-storey addition frames a new courtyard, preserves a mature copper beech tree and positions the Trades Complex much closer to the main road, creating a new public face for the college.

The new building accommodates classrooms, group offices, labs, trade shops, a café, as well as student social and study space for the campus as a whole. The ambitious sustainable design targets were a driving force for the project. They include achieving Living Building Challenge petal certification including Net Zero Energy, LEED Platinum for the new addition, and LEED Gold for Existing Buildings Certification (LEED EB:O&M) for the renovation.

The application of bioclimatic design principles was critical to achieving the ambitious energy targets. These principles informed the orientation, footprint and massing of the building and maximized the potential for capturing solar energy and minimizing the need for conventional mechanical and electrical systems.

PROJECT PERFORMANCE

  • Energy intensity (base building) = 17.7KWhr/m²/year
  • Energy intensity (process) = 19.3KWhr/m²/year
  • Energy intensity reduction relative to reference building under MNECB = 51%
  • Water consumption from municipal sources = 2,935litres/occupant/year
  • Reduction in water consumption relative to reference building under LEED = 35%
  • Recycled material content by value = 25%
  • Regional materials (800km radius) by value = 32%
  • Construction waste diverted from landfill = 81%

PROJECT CREDITS

  • Client  Okanagan College
  • Architect  Diamond Schmitt Architects
  • Associate Architect  David Nairne + Associates
  • Civil Engineer  True Consulting
  • Electrical Engineer  Applied Engineering Solutions
  • Mechanical Engineer  AME Group
  • Structural Engineer  Fast+Epp
  • Commissioning Agent  I Design
  • Sustainability  Integral Group
  • Envelope Consultants  RJC Engineers
  • General Contractor  PCL Constructors Westcoast Inc
  • Landscape Architect  Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg
  • Building Code  LMDG Consultants
  • Cost Consultant  Quantity Surveyors Ltd.
  • Photos  Ed White Photographics

Exterior sunshades were provided by McGill Architectural Products.

The south main entry. Steel cladding 7/8-in. corrugated profile supplied by Vicwest.

The central three-storey atrium brings daylight into the core and assists with natural ventilation. Alumicor supplied the operable windows 5000 Series Phantom Vents, 2300 Series skylights, and 2600 Series curtain walls.

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Building Blocks on Balmoral at Great West Life – Winnipeg, MB

Institutional [Small] Award | Prairie Architects Inc.

Jury comments: This project comprehensively and creatively addresses multiple aspects of sustainability simultaneously. The adaptive re-use of a heritage house as the centrepiece of a new and much needed daycare facility not only achieves LEED Platinum environmental performance, but also acts as a powerful catalyst in the revitalization of the fabric of Winnipeg’s West Broadway neighbourhood through the addition of this community amenity.

Building Blocks on Balmoral at Great-West Life comprises  the adaptive re-use of the 110-year old Grade II listed Milner House and two new structures, which together provide 100 licensed childcare spots to Great-West Life employees and the West Broadway community.

In addition to upgrading and extending the useful life of a heritage structure, the new facility has achieved LEED Platinum certification with the integration of sustainable features that include: a geothermal ground source heat-pump with in-floor radiant heating and chilled beams for cooling; displacement ventilation that requires lower fan power than ducted systems; significant use of salvaged, refurbished and re-used materials; substantial water use reduction (a particular priority in the Prairies); abundant daylight and views and use of low-emitting materials.

In order to create a sense of “home” for children, the facility was deliberately divided into two smaller additions on either side of the existing Milner House: one for toddlers and infants and one for preschool aged children. Each addition has direct connection to accessible exterior play yards, designed with naturalized landscapes and an age-appropriate focus.

The need to replace the deteriorating foundation of the Milner House provided an opportunity to make the ground floor of the facility fully accessible.

In order to keep the entire main floor on one level without introducing ramps and stairs, the original structure was lowered approximately 610mm onto a new foundation, and the north end of the site was built up 1,220mm to provide an accessible outdoor play area  for the children.

This also enabled the implementation of two site planning moves that facilitate on-site stormwater management: the elimination of an impervious lane connecting Balmoral Street to the Great- West Life parking lot; and the creation of a retention area for stormwater run-off at the north end of the site.

With a particular concern for indoor environmental quality, the project has been designed with 100% fresh air displacement ventilation. The system, which introduces low velocity fresh air at low level, was selected not only because of the significant energy savings it offered, but also because it was the most effective way to deliver fresh air close to the floor in spaces occupied by small children and crawling infants.

PROJECT CREDITS

  • Owner/Developer:  Great West Life Assurance Company
  • Architect:  Prairie Architects Inc.
  • General Contractor:  Manshield Construction
  • Landscape Architect:  Nadi Design & Development Inc.
  • Civil Engineer:  WSP
  • Electrical/ Mechanical Engineer:  KGS Group 
  • Structural Engineer:  Wolfrom Engineering Ltd.
  • Commissioning Agent:  Pinchin
  • Energy Modelling:  Stantec
  • Photos: Lindsay Reid

PROJECT PERFORMANCE

  • Energy intensity (building and process energy) =  145.5KWhr/m²/year
  • Energy intensity reduction relative to reference building under MNECB 1997 = 56%
  • Water consumption from municipal sources = 2,993 litres/occupant/year
  • Reduction in water consumption relative to reference building under LEED = 50%
  • Recycled material content by value = 14%
  • Regional materials (800km radius) by value = 36%
  • Construction waste diverted from landfill = 89.5%
  • The chilled beam around the perimeter. Daikin contributed fan coils and its Enfinity water-source heat pumps to the HVAC system. Each of the four new buildings use an Uponor manifold and in-floor radiant system to provide  even heating across the floors. 
  • The project uses an ERV system by Winnipeg-based Tempeff North America. The Dual-Core technology recovers both heat and humidity in winter allowing for continuous fresh air supply and a frost-free operation in extremely cold conditions. This ERV simplifies system design and does not require preheat or any form of defrost strategy.
  • East-facing childcare space where large windows admit natural light. DUXTON Windows & Doors supplied the fiberglass fenestration, in FiberWall™ Series 328 and 458, high performance triple glazing. The windows came complete with a 350 Panning exterior extension, providing a seamless, prefinished flashing detail for easy installation.

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