Dedicated to sustainable,
high performance building

Technical Award

The Putman Family YWCA, Hamilton, ON

Jury Comment: “This precast concrete structure is a great example of an industry adapting to the challenges it faces in regard to sustainability. Creating a high performance building that is quick to construct and has a long service life is in itself commendable; that the building also serves the most vulnerable sectors of our community makes its contribution all the more valuable.”

This project is Hamilton’s first affordable housing residence for women and children, prioritizing those from Indigenous and marginalized groups. The six-storey building comprises five floors of apartments above a ground floor podium. The podium, flanked by a community garden, includes a gathering space, an Innovation Centr and health and wellness programming for seniors.

Architecturally, the intent was to reflect the tradition of Hamilton as a Steel Town and to use local materials and manufacturers where possible. The brick clad podium reflects the scale and materiality of the neighbourhood, connecting the community programming with the street.

The pursuit of Passive House certification is consistent with supportive housing projects across the country, as it significantly reduces operating costs, while providing a high level of indoor environmental quality for residents. These attributes align with the YWCA’s core mission to provide comfortable, healthy, secure, resilient, and safe housing for women.

Construction Approach

In taking on PH design standards, the client wished to pursue a factory-built solution to reduce the uncertainties still associated with a high-performance building. At this scale, the project team was most comfortable with a modular precast concrete solution.

Analysis concluded that a factory-built concrete building could significantly reduce embodied carbon when compared with that of conventional cast-in-place. Hollowcore prestressed floor elements reduced the depth to span ratio, minimizing the volume (and hence weight) of concrete per unit of floor area.   All precast concrete and steel elements were manufactured in Hamilton.

The building uses a total precast system with a sandwich panel forming the Passive House compliant thermal, air-tight, structural, weathering, and aesthetic façade in one factory-built component.  Using locally manufactured precast concrete reduced the use of traditional formwork, auxiliary elements, and waste.

In turn, factory prefabrication reduced erection times and required only a single crane and a flat bed truck. As a result, truck idling, traffic congestion, construction site emissions and site lighting requirements were all reduced; as were noise, pollution and other environmental impacts on the surrounding community.

The building is a prefabricated total precast concrete construction, including the exterior finishes as seen with the “corduroy” dark slate textured precast concrete finish on the north and west elevations. SIGA membranes and tapes contribute to the integrity of the air barrier.

Project Credits

  • Owner/Developer  YWCA Hamilton
  • Architect  Kearns Mancini Architects Inc.
  • General contractor  Schilthuis Construction Inc.
  • Civil engineer  RJC Engineers
  • Structural Engineer  RJC Engineers
  • Precast Concrete  Coreslab Structures Photos Kearns Mancini Architects Inc. & Co.

Project Performance

  • Energy Intensity 95 KWhr/m2/year
  • The building is Passive House certified
  • Construction materials diverted from landfill  70%
  • Recycled materials content by value  4.75 %
  • Regional materials by value  60%


Residential (Large) Award

SFU Affordable Housing, Burnaby, BC

Jury Comment: “Providing much needed affordable accommodation for previously under-served sectors of the student population, this project is notable for its strong community focus, the multiple opportunities it creates for interaction between residents, and its strong connection with nature. Attention to detail and comprehensive data supported impressive energy performance.”

Simon Fraser University (SFU) Affordable Housing is a high-performance, community-oriented housing project that strives to promote connection—people to one another, students to university, residents to neighbourhood, and everyone to nature.

Located near a daycare and elementary school in the UniverCity neighbourhood at SFU’s Burnaby campus, the project provides 90 below-market student rental apartments that prioritize underserved communities with accessible, adaptable, and family-oriented housing—demographics with modest incomes and limited access to transportation, amenities, and community support.

Consisting of two wood-frame buildings of four and six storeys on top of a single-storey parkade, the residences are supported by a blend of amenities to cultivate community connections including a courtyard and playground, multipurpose pavilion, shared laundries and study rooms, and a bicycle workshop to support active transportation.

Utilizing simple massing with a high-performance envelope and rigorous attention to detailing along with PHPP and THERM modelling, the project surpassed Step 4 of the BC Energy Step Code and was recognized as a Clean Net-Zero Energy Ready award winner. Completed in 2022 on a conventional wood-frame construction budget, the project continues to be leveraged as a case study for local industry and academia in the design and construction of high-performance buildings.

The project started with a complex site and client challenge to deliver Passive House performance on a conventional construction budget while prioritizing community and occupant well-being. Certification was an initial goal, but was relatively new to the market when the project was initiated in 2014, leading to disproportionately large cost premiums and constraints.

Project Credits

  • Architect  Local Practice Architecture + Design
  • Project Manager  JLL
  • Owner/Developer  SFU Community Trust
  • General Contractor  Peak Construction Group
  • Landscape Architect  space2place
  • Civil Engineer  H.Y. Engineering
  • Electrical Engineer and Structural Engineer Associated Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineer  Rocky Point Engineering
  • Fire Protection  Mfpe Engineering
  • Building Envelope  RDH Buiding Science
  • Energy Model  Tandem Architecture Écologique
  • Building Code  Jensen Hughes
  • Cost & Constructability  Heatherbrae Builders
  • Photos  Latreille Photography

Project Performance

  • Energy Intensity  49.82 KWhr/m2/year
  • Reduction in Energy Intensity  62% (Based on BCBC – 2012 Energy Step Code Level 2*)
  • Water Consumption from municipal source  67,262 litres/occupant/year
  • Reduction in Water Consumption  11%
  • Construction materials diverted from landfill  66%


Commercial/Industrial (Large) Award

Endress + Hauser Customer Experience Centre – Burlington, ON

Jury Comment: “This project is notable for setting and pursuing high environmental performance goals: achieving net Zero Carbon and awaiting confirmation of LEED Gold certification. The interior addresses the health and wellbeing of employees through its socially focused program organization and brightly lit interior spaces. The positive response has catalyzed broader changes at its parent company in Switzerland.”

The ZCB Certified, LEED Gold pending Endress+Hauser Customer Experience Centre in Burlington was designed as a gift for its employees from the Swiss-owned company. The 4400 sq. m, $24 million environment is a sunlit, open concept space, uniquely tailored for the employees and engaging for visitors who have come to experience its Process Training Unit (PTU) and calibration labs. 

The glass enclosed PTU is prominently positioned at the southeast corner, acting as the public face of the building; and offering educational engagement with the leading-edge equipment and systems it contains. The ground floor is home to a program of training spaces, calibration lab, and private employee wellness areas. The second level, accessible by a central stair, is organized into neighbourhoods around an atrium and indoor walking track. The open working environments are each slightly different based on their particular functions. The facility is punctuated with coffee nooks and seating areas to promote impromptu exchanges and casual meetings.

A large exterior patio extends along the southern façade of the second storey, with direct connections to the employee kitchen, office workstations and breakout space. Fitness centres, and exterior walking tracks, compliment the organizational focus on health and wellness.

At the outset of this project, it was clear sustainable leadership was central to the company’s culture and identity. The design team pitched a business case, offering Endress + Hauser a way to exceed its standard commitment to LEED Silver certification. 

Project Credits

  • Owner/Developer  Endress + Hauser
  • Architect  McCallum Sather
  • General Contractor  G.S. Wark Construction
  • Landscape Architect  GSP Group
  • Civil Engineer  MTE
  • Electrical and Structural Engineer WSP
  • Mechanical Engineer  McCallum Sather
  • Commissioning Agent  CFMS-West Consulting Inc.
  • Other Engineering Service RWDI
  • Photos  Philip Castleton

Project Performance

  • Energy Intensity  73.95 KWhr/m2/year
  • Reduction in Energy Intensity  26.05% (Based on NECB 2015)
  • Reduction in Water Consumption  33.2%
  • Construction materials diverted
  • from landfill 76.38%


Institutional (Small) Award

Neil Campbell Rowing Centre – St. Catharines, ON

Jury Comment: “A very elegant solution that achieves high standards of environmental performance without compromising aesthetics. The form is simple and the material palette robust. The thought processes required to resolve the detailing of the mass timber roof and to ensure there was no thermal bridging through the envelope were thoroughly and convincingly documented.” 

This project demonstrates how simple, elemental, and respectful design can support a broad spectrum of uses and enhance the identity of a venerable place, while achieving both Net-Zero Energy and Zero-Carbon Emission benchmarks.

The NCRC was a key venue for the 2022 Canada Summer Games and will host the 2024 World Rowing Championships. Beyond this, it will provide year-round fitness and rowing training for Canadian athletes, continuing the site’s rich history of competition that began in 1903.

The form of the building is generated by the roof, which is designed with an innovative mass timber system utilizing Canadian glue laminated and cross-laminated timber products, and is held aloft by a light steel column structure and a centralized CLT shear core. The asymmetrical overhanging timber roof, operable doors, and concrete steps down to Martindale Pond further reinforce the connection to the water and create a strong identity for the club.

The building includes a simple and robust material palette; a high-performance building envelope; passive sun control and low-energy mechanical and electrical systems in order to enhance environmental sustainability and reduce ongoing operating and maintenance costs.

The NCRC is situated on a man-made extension to Henley Island, which lies at the approximate mid-point of the race course. The building is configured to provide shade on an otherwise open site and to make a strong connection to the water for athletes and spectators. This conection was facilitated by clearing weeds and debris from the water’s edge and creating long concrete steps that also serve as spectator seating.

Siting the building north of the asphalt staging area completes a courtyard already bounded by the sheds to the west, rising topography to the south, and Martindale Pond to the east. The sense of enclosure raises the excitement by focusing attention on race preparations.

Project Credits

  • Owner/Developer  Canadian Henley Rowing Corp
  • Architect  MJMA Architecture & Design
  • Joint Venture Architect  Raimondo + Associates Architects
  • General Contractor  Aquicon Construction
  • Landscape Architect  MJMA Architecture & Design
  • Civil Engineer  Upper Canada Consultants
  • Mechanical and Electrical Engineer  Smith + Andersen
  • Structural Engineer  Blackwell
  • Environmental Graphics  MJMA Architecture & Design
  • Photos  Scott Norsworthy

Project Performance

  • Energy Intensity: 0 KWhr/m2/year (83 KWhr/m2/year which is offset by PV array)
  • Reduction in Energy Intensity: 38% (Based on NECB 2017)
  • Water Consumption from municipal source: 33.5 litres/occupant/year
  • Reduction in Water Consumption: 21%
  • The building was just recently “CaGBC Zero Carbon Design Certified”.


Institutional (Small) Award

Bill and Helen Norrie Library – Winnipeg, MB

Jury Comment: “This project clearly articulated the social and cultural focus that has become the primary role of community libraries. Taking visual cues from the Metis village that occupied the site, the building evokes the traditional ‘Big House’. The social, cultural and educational agenda is underpinned by the low embodied carbon and operating energy of the building.”

Located on a busy recreational campus, the 1,300 sq. m library unites the physical energy of the broader site with engaging social spaces to create a home-away-from-home for the community.

Inspired by the Métis heritage and dense residential context of the site, the library is conceived as a ‘big house’, reflecting diverse experiences of home — reading on the porch, playing in the backyard or gathering around the living room fireplace.

The building is strategically oriented on an east-to-west axis on the compact site to maximize daylight

into the library year-round. Positioned to absorb solar heat in the winter and support solar shading in the summer, overhangs minimize glare, direct sunlight and mitigate unwanted heat gain. These strategies reduce energy consumption and costs, and support visitor well-being.

The high performing building envelope, radiant in-floor heating and cooling zones, and a linear, active chilled beam system optimize resource efficiency and support thermal comfort.

Anchoring the approach to the site, a low semicircular bench serves as a resting place while waiting for the bus. Convenient bike storage ties into cycling and walking paths, encouraging active commutes to and from the library and nearby amenities. The modest campus parking lot includes the first EV charging station at a Winnipeg public library.

From the cozy living room and interactive children’s area to the multi-purpose room that accommodates diverse programming, community members of all ages can relax, play and build relationships. Strong visual connections between spaces indoors and out promote awareness of one’s surroundings and contribute to the inclusive family-friendly environment.

Extensive glazing on the north and south facades floods the open, linear library with daylight, creating a bright and uplifting interior setting. Daylight and occupancy sensors maintain consistent lighting levels, while simultaneously reducing the lighting load by at least 50%. All lighting is LED and lighting levels meet IESNA recommendations.

Fresh air is provided by a dedicated 90% efficient, dual core, energy recovery ventilation unit, minimizing long-term maintenance and costs. Demand control, fresh air ventilation is integrated and modulated in conjunction with the zoned VAV boxes to reduce energy use. A minimum MERV 13 Filtration is provided, and fresh air quality meets the requirements of AHSRAE 62-2007.

Project Credits

  • Architect  LM Architectural Group
  • Owner/Developer  City of Winnipeg
  • General contractor  Gateway Construction and Engineering Ltd
  • Landscape Architect  HTFC Planning & Design
  • Civil Engineer  Sision Blackburn Consulting
  • Electrical, Mechanical and Structural Engineer  Tower Engineering Group
  • Commissioning Agent Integrated Designs Inc
  • Sustainability Consultant  Footprint
  • Photos  Lindsay Reid

Project Performance

  • Energy Intensity  180 KWhr/m2/year
  • Reduction in Energy Intensity  44 % (Based on NECB 2011)
  • Water Consumption from municipal source  11,000 litres/occupant/year
  • Reduction in Water Consumption  25%
  • Construction materials diverted from landfill  40%
  • Recycled materials content by value  20%


Institutional (Large) Award

Manitou A BI BII Daziigae, RRC Polytech – Winnipeg, MB 

Jury Comment: “This project successfully resolves a complex program that includes the integration of a brick and beam heritage structure. It incorporates a variety of well thought out details and design solutions, achieving a harmonious relationship with its historic context, providing engaging communal spaces, and setting a technical precedent with its ‘shape-shifting’ photovoltaic cladding.”

Manitou a bi Bii daziigae is a post-secondary learning hub that unites a repurposed brick and beam heritage building with new construction, creating an engaging crossroads in Winnipeg’s historic Exchange District – the city’s Innovation Alley.

Targeting LEED Gold Certification, the 9,300 sq.m. building provides flexible, high-tech, and interactive spaces that nurture creativity and collaboration, and connects students with education and industry professionals to facilitate social innovation, enterprise and pioneering research. 

These aspirations informed the design process, and the completed building reflects a sense of wonder, imagination, empathy, mystery and passion. It is hoped that the Innovation Centre will inspire these qualities in students and faculty.

The facade of the new building is made of Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) panels that change colour depending on the angle of view and the weather.

This innovative concept – a Canadian first – conceals solar cells behind nano-coated glass panels. Their shape-shifting appearance animates the building conveying a sense of wonder that is an outward expression of the path of learning and innovation.

The building exemplifies regeneration and renewal at multiple levels. It reinforces City policy for urban renewal in the city core, undertakes adaptive re-use of a heritage structure in accordance with City requirements for restoration and re-use, and involves the full remediation of a brownfield site.

The historic Scott Fruit Warehouse has been rehabilitated for academic use and carefully integrated into the overall development. Key character-defining elements, including masonry walls and wood windows, have been restored to maintain their historic appearance and upgraded to enhance energy efficiency, ensuring sustainable performance well into the future.

A  view down the Elgin Plaza with the glazed bridge and the Scott Fruit Building on the right. Series 900 Double Hung windows (dual pane with two coatings of low e) and Series 458 Fixed windows (three coatings of low e) by Winnipeg-based Duxton Windows & Doors were installed into new insulated walls on the interior side of the existing brick walls and behind the existing storm windows of the Scott Fruit Warehouse Building. New rough openings were made larger than existing brick openings to hide window frames in the wall for more visible glass area.

The facade of the new building includes Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) panels that change colour depending on the angle of view and the weather. Elastochem’s Insulthane Extreme. Used both internally above and below grade to achieve a thermal, air and vapour control layer, it was sprayed onto Dorken Delta-MS Drainboard in the below grade section while above grade only 2lb foam was necessary. 

The agora borders the atrium. The building is equipped with a high-efficiency central ERV system, specifically an RG 2000, by Winnipeg-based Tempeff. Acting as the building’s lungs, the ERV not only recovers heat, but also factors in humidity making it the best choice for occupant comfort in a cold climate. The ERV makes use of Dual-Core technology, allowing for continuous fresh air supply and frost-free operation in this climate.

Project Credits

  • Architect  Diamond Schmitt
  • Joint Venture Architect  Number TEN Architectural Group
  • Owner/Developer  RRC Polytech
  • General Contractor  Akman Construction Ltd
  • Landscape Architect  HTFC
  • Electrical Engineer  SMS Engineering Ltd
  • Mechanical engineer  Epp Siepman Engineering
  • Structural Engineer  Crosier Kilgour & Partners
  • Building Science  RDH Building Science
  • Photos  Doublespace photography and Lindsay Reid

Project Performance

  • Energy Intensity  112 KWhr/m2/year
  • Reduction in Energy Intensity  45%
  • Water Consumption from municipal source  934 litres/occupant/year
  • Reduction in Water Consumption  41%
  • Construction materials diverted from landfill  82%


Interior Design Award

Aedifica Headquarters – Montreal, QC

Jury Comment: “This LEED Platinum certified interior fit out was impressive; addressing multiple quantitative and qualitative criteria including: efficient water and energy consumption, biophilia and diversity of spaces, low-emitting materials, enhanced air quality, occupant comfort and carbon neutral energy. The LCA documentation was comprehensive and the result refined and elegant.“

Ædifica is a multi-disciplinary design practice whose mission is to enrich human lives by creating sustainable, carbon-neutral and inspiring interiors, buildings and urban environments.

The challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic prompted a review of the firm’s culture and how best to deliver its services moving forward. Ædifica decided to relocate to smaller premises and adopt a hybrid work policy which included teleworking and unassigned physical workplaces.

The location in Old Montreal was chosen for the wealth of nearby amenities, easy access by transit and bicycle, and the enduring qualities of the base building. Design ambitions for the project were both qualitative and quantitative:  healthy gourmet lunches served for free by a chef, efficient water and energy consumption, biophilia and a diversity of spaces, low-emitting materials, enhanced air quality, occupant comfort, and carbon neutrality in both energy and materials.

The open concept kitchen is the heart of the project. Employees can gather around and eat at the counter or in the brightly lit agora. This layout promotes interactions between co-workers and develops a sense of community. A happy hour zone has also been integrated into the agora to encourage impromptu festivities and thus strengthen team bonds.

With the wellness of its employees a top priority for the company, the new office includes a variety of spaces to create, work, eat and relax. Numerous plants have been installed through the space to contribute to the psychological well-being of staff.

A monumental shelf filled with vegetation separates the main entrance from the kitchen and shrubs are planted in large concrete pots in the agora. These are complemented by natural materials, such as wood (for flooring and furniture) and terrazzo.

Different spaces are designed to encourage collaboration between colleagues or focused individual work. Open-plan workstations, conference rooms, small offices and telephone booths have been designed to meet all possible needs.

Project Credits

  • Architect  Ædifica
  • Owner/Developer  Ædifica
  • General contractor  Sidcan
  • Electrical Engineer  Ædifica
  • Mechanical engineer  Ædifica
  • Commissioning Agent  Virgile Schwab
  • Photos  David Boyer

Project Performance

  • Energy Intensity  98 KWhr/m2/year
  • Reduction in Energy Intensity  20% (Based on ASHRAE 90.1)
  • Water Consumption from municipal source   2,834 litres/occupant/year
  • Reduction in Water Consumption  51%
  • Construction materials diverted from landfill 62%
  • Recycled materials content by value  10%


Residential (Small) Award

SoLo House, Soo Valley, BC 

Jury Comment:  “This off -grid project provides an object lesson in how to address the imperatives of carbon neutrality, energy self-sufficiency, occupant health and more efficient, low-impact construction materials and methods: in short, how to future proof our built environment. Realized in a remote area, these lessons could nonetheless be applied in urban locations.“

SoLo house is a 380 sq.m, self sufficient, off-grid home with a 40 sq.m ancillary building, sitting lightly on a forested knoll overlooking the spectacular Soo Valley north of Whistler in the Coast Mountains of British Columbia.

Reflecting the client’s expressed intention to ‘Set a new benchmark for environmental performance, health and well-being’, SoLo is not a typical alpine home.

Rather, it is a prototype that demonstrates a unique approach to building off-grid in a remote environment where every choice has consequences. Challenging conventions in both aesthetics and construction, the prototype acts as a testing ground for low-energy systems, healthy materials, prefabricated and modular construction methods, and independent operations intended to inform the approach to larger projects. 

The house includes living space and a master bedroom suite on the main level linked to a sauna and storage space in the adjacent ancillary building. The upper level includes two more bedrooms and two bathrooms.

Given the valley’s extreme climate, it was critical to have an ‘enclosure-first’ approach to ensure energy efficiency and outstanding comfort. A two-layer solution was used for the enclosure with an outer heavy timber frame acting as a shield against the weather, and the heavily insulated inner layer acting as the thermal barrier.

With the goal of eliminating fossil fuels and combustion, SoLo includes a photovoltaic array and a geo-change system, with a hydrogen fuel cell for backup energy storage. To avoid snow build up in winter, the PV array is mounted vertically on the south elevation.  In addition, the house collects and treats its own drinking water and processes its waste water.

Because of the remote location and short construction season, modular building elements were fabricated off-site by a local contractor. This enabled quick erection of the building in the summer season while also minimizing the number of deliveries to the site and the amount of construction waste created.

Project Credits

  • Owner/Developer  Delta Land Developments
  • Architect  Perkins&Will
  • Structural Engineer  Glotman Simpson
  • Mechanical and Electrical Engineer  Integral Group
  • Building Envelope Consultant  RDH Building Science General
  • Contractor  Durfeld Construction
  • Code Consultant  GHL Consultants
  • Photos  Latreille Photography


Mixed Use Award


Jury Comment: “After standing idle for a decade, the adaptive reuse of this 1928 heritage structure is worthy of recognition. Within the context of the large mixed-use development that occupies the remainder of the site, it has catalyzed the revitalization of a section of Toronto’s waterfront. Conserving the embodied carbon in existing buildings is an increasingly important strategy in combating climate change.”

The 1928 Loblaws Groceteria warehouse was listed on the Toronto Register of Heritage Properties in 2001, but sat abandoned for over a decade. The 2020 restoration and adaptive re-use has preserved a remarkable example of Toronto’s waterfront industrial heritage, while introducing healthy food options, local retail and community services into a neighbourhood experiencing rapid intensification.

Perched on the south edge of a site bisected by the Gardiner Expressway, the warehouse was commercially unviable due to its small footprint, lack of services and structural deterioration. The architect devised a masterplan inserting high-rise residential towers at the north end of the site, with below-grade servicing and parking. The land value unlocked by this strategy financed the restoration and expansion of the Groceteria warehouse, which is reborn as a centre for food, retail, local services and employment in the Fort York neighbourhood.

A four-storey Class AAA office ‘pavilion’ sits lightly atop the 1928 structure, clad in glass and steel brises soleil and set back from existing exterior walls to allow a clear reading of historic and new elements. The renovated and expanded warehouse is fully accessible, and certified LEED Gold.

Preserving an historical building is an act of environmental responsibility. The architects retained the original footprint, and reinforced its structure to accommodate a modest but effective density increase.

The warehouse typology is highly adaptable to a range of programming. A ground floor ‘galleria’ of small shops is convenient for pedestrians stopping quickly as they go about their day. The entire second floor is occupied by a flagship Loblaw grocery store, offering groceries and freshly prepared meals for office workers and local residents. The new rooftop pavilion has space for 1,100 Loblaw’s digital economy workers.

The building is fully accessible. All entrances are flush with grade. A barrier-free lift at the south entrance enables visitors to negotiate an internal grade change on the ground floor.


Sloan products, supplied by Dobbin Sales, used in the project include: Designer Series Sink Systems, Touchless soap dispensers, high efficiency faucets and flushometers for water closets and urinals.

Project Credits

  • Architect  architects-Alliance
  • Associate Architect  ERA Architecture
  • Owner  Choice Properties Construction & Development
  • Developer  Wittington Properties
  • General Contractor (Heritage Building and Towers) 
  • EllisDon Ledcor PAAV Inc
  • General Contractor (Under Gardiner Plaza) 
  • Rochon Building Corp
  • Landscape Architect  NAK Design Strategies
  • Civil Engineer  LEA Consulting Ltd
  • Mechanical/Electrical Engineer  MCW Consultants
  • Structural Engineer  Read Jones Christoffersen [RJC]
  • Project Manager CD Capital
  • Heritage Contractor/Consultant  Historic Restoration Inc
  • Wayfinding/Signage Entro
  • Photos  Michael Muraz Photography, A-Frame Studio


Existing Building Upgrade Award

500 MacNab Seniors’ Housing /Ken Soble Tower – Hamilton, ON

Jury Comment: “This project creates an important precedent, given the prevalence of this high-rise residential typology throughout North America. Achieving Passive House (EnerPHit) certification is a remarkable achievement. The loss of individual balconies is unfortunate, given the demographic of the occupants; a challenge for PH projects we hope may be overcome in the future.”

The transformation of 500 MacNab is a ground-breaking project rehabilitating a post-war apartment tower to the Passive House EnerPHit standard. This has reduced the associated greenhouse gas emissions by 94% and created a template for industry-wide housing renewal throughout North America.


The tower was originally constructed in 1967 and by the start of this project had fallen into a state of disrepair to the point of being uninhabitable. An early consideration was whether to demolish the existing structure and build new, or to complete a retrofit and restore the building to a serviceable condition, consistent with today’s standards of durability and performance.

Ultimately, the team chose the retrofit option which extended the life of the existing cast-in-place concrete frame and part of the existing masonry envelope. The environmental impact and embodied carbon of the original construction were not wasted, nor unnecessarily duplicated in a new building. By pursuing a Passive House level retrofit, the ongoing operational carbon emissions of the building were drastically reduced and will support an extended service life.

Setting a Precedent

The first retrofit of its kind in North America, at 18 storeys and more than 7,500m2, the 500 MacNab transformation is now one of the largest EnerPHit certified projects in the world.

The project is the premier achievement to date in realizing the ambitions that are now part of Federal Policy and supported through the National Housing Strategy Repair and Renewal Fund.

Enhancing Performance

The most important strategy for reducing operational carbon is the high-performance Building envelope, which almost doubles the minimum insulation values required by code. Together with high levels of airtightness, this greatly reduces the overall heating and cooling demand. The envelope upgrades include R-38 effective over-cladding, passive-house certified windows and air sealing details to achieve 0.6ACH @50Pa.

Project Credits

  • Owner/developer  City Housing Hamilton
  • Architect  ERA Architects
  • General Contractor  PCL Constructors Canada Inc.
  • Landscape Architect  ERA Architects
  • Electrical Engineer  Nemetz & Associates
  • Mechanical engineer  Reinbold Engineering
  • Structural Engineer  Entuitive Corp
  • Commissioning Agent  CFMS West Consulting Inc
  • Passive House Consultant  JMV Consulting
  • Passive House Certifier  Herz & Lang Gmt
  • Building Envelope Consultant  Entuitive Corp
  • Photos  Doublespace Photography
  • Energy Intensity  145 KWhr/m2/year
  • Reduction in Energy Intensity  91 %