Valleyview town hall

New municipal building aims for Passive House Plus

By Oscar Flechas

The new Valleyview Town Hall is an 800 m2 two-storey plus basement building located in Valleyview, 350Km north of Edmonton in the heart of Alberta’s oil country. Despite the large seasonal fluctuations in temperature and sunlight levels at this latitude, Valleyview Town Hall is aiming to be the first Passive House certified commercial building in Alberta and the first Passive House Plus in North America. This means that on-site renewables meet 100% of the building’s energy demand on an annual basis, a giant leap forward for a town with fewer than 2,000 residents.

The building reuses the footprint of a previous structure, minimizing site disturbance, preserving adjacent community park space and capitalizing on solar orientation. With the latter being a vital strategy in this extreme climate, the program is organized with high-traffic working areas towards the long, naturally-lit south side to ensure energy balancing. In the warmer months, heat gains are controlled with fixed shades that cut out the high angle sun.

In addition to its aggressive energy targets, the Passive House Standard requires excellent indoor air quality through carefully calibrated mechanical ventilation and air recirculation systems. To maintain steady temperatures over all three levels of the building, ventilation specifications included a mix of outdoor variable refrigerant flow (VRF) system for cooling and heating, and a high-efficiency energy recovery ventilator.

To further enhance indoor environmental quality, all interior finishes, paints, adhesives, flooring and composite wood products are specified to contain low amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and be free of other toxins. Beyond the physiological health of its employees, however, the municipality is also concerned for their psychological wellbeing. Accordingly, all workspaces and other frequently used areas are adjacent to operable windows that connect visually to the park, while a balcony and designated outdoor sitting area ensure that the connection with nature is not only visual but also physical.

Another Passive House requirement is for durability of materials and assemblies. The materials chosen, including glass fibre reinforced concrete (GRC), and high pressure laminate siding and metal siding which are both resilient and long lasting. The highly energy efficient envelope includes Passive House certified windows within  a rainscreen system that promotes drying of any moisture that gets behind the cladding. Together with the airtight and vapour open construction this ensures there is no unwanted condensation within the wall assembly and extends the life of the envelope components.

In anticipation of changing needs over the life of the building, an area for future physical expansion is included within the existing Passive House envelope. Accommodating future expansion and reconfiguration meant that the size and spacing of the windows had to be carefully considered to accommodate potential changes to the functional layout.

PROJECT CREDITS

  • Owner/Developer  Town of Valleyview
  • Architect  Flechas Architecture Inc.
  • Indicative Design  Kobayashi + Zedda Architects Ltd., ReNu Building Science and Williams Engineering
  • General Contractor  Scott Builders Inc.
  • Landscape Architect  Kinnikinnick Studio Inc.
  • Civil Engineer  HELiX Engineering Ltd.
  • Electrical/Mechanical Engineer  Integral Group
  • Structural Engineer  Laviolette Engineering Ltd.
  • Commissioning Agent  Bair Balancing
  • Energy Modelling  Marken Design+Consult
  • Photos  Flechas Architecture Inc.

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  • The highly energy efficient envelope uses Euroline 4700 Series THERMOPLUS™ PHC Tilt & Turn windows in a rainscreen system that allows drying of any moisture that gets behind the cladding. Tech-Crete CFI® pre-finished exterior insulating wall panels are used on the foundation.
  • The building reuses the footprint of a previous structure, minimizing site disturbance, preserving adjacent community park space and capitalizing on solar orientation. The foundation of Quad-Lock® Insulated Concrete Forms was supplied by Airfoam Insulation products which offers Insulation Boards, Insulated Metal Panels, Geofoam and Void-Fill for wall, roof and below-grade applications. www.airfoam.com
  • The hallway leading to workspaces which have operable windows that connect visually to the park. The project uses a Tempeff North America ERV system with Dual-Core technology to recover both heat and humidity in winter for continuous fresh air supply and a frost-free operation in extremely cold conditions.
  • All interior finishes, paints, adhesives, flooring and composite wood products are specified to contain low amounts of volatile organic compounds. To maintain steady temperatures over all three levels of the building, ventilation specifications included an outdoor variable refrigerant flow (VRF) system by Mitsubishi Electric Heating & Cooling for cooling and heating, and a high-efficiency energy recovery ventilator.

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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BANK OF CANADA RENEWAL

With a total floor area of approximately 79,000m², the Bank of Canada complex occupies an entire city block in Ottawa’s central Parliamentary District. The complex consists of the Classical grey granite Centre Building, designed by Morani, Lawson and Morris and opened in 1938, flanked by two modern glass towers and indoor atrium designed by Arthur Erickson and completed in 1979.

By Jim Taggart

Design Intent

The renewal project was designed to maintain the major architectural components of these historically significant structures, while bringing the facility up to 21st century standards for accessibility, fire and life safety, security and seismic performance. In addition, the interior reconfiguration responds to the client’s desire to reinvigorate its operations by fostering a collaborative workplace culture. Moving away from private workspaces to an open environment, the Interior modifications consciously drive a future thinking workplace that will appeal to the brightest and best of the emerging young workforce.

Physical Renewal

The major physical components of the project included complete interior demolition and fit-up of new office space, new structural concrete shear walls and floor slab infills and new staircase configurations. These changes were strategic in nature, designed to meet the functional criteria in the most unobtrusive way possible.

For example, the careful demolition and replacement of the existing elevator and fire stair core in the office towers with new seismically upgraded versions eliminated the need for the more common, but more visually intrusive strategy of storey height steel cross-bracing installed behind the existing glass curtain wall. The perimeter of each tower floor thus became available for the creation of a 450mm deep ‘dynamic buffer zone’ to improve energy efficiency and environmental control.

With the installation of an interior wall of glass, this zone forms the plenum of a double envelope system that improves thermal performance and permits the pre-conditioning of air before it is distributed through the building. While a conventional suspended ceiling might have achieved the same effect, it would have concealed Erickson’s original exposed concrete structure.

The perimeter buffer zone, combined with a new open plan office configuration, meant that a labyrinth of ductwork could be avoided and supplementary heat supplied by radiant panels, discretely located in the coffers of the concrete tree column structure. These low-profile panels leave space for the integration of high efficiency lighting and sprinkler heads within the coffers.

Other new building systems include new roof-level mechanical penthouses and main electrical rooms in the basement. Together, these systems result in overall operational energy savings of 70% over the existing condition, contributing multiple credits to the project’s LEED Gold designation.

Interior Reconfiguration

In the two towers, Erickson’s open-office concept column grid was restored. Open-plan spaces, modular furniture and sit-stand desks, create a variety of ‘me, we and us’ workspaces. The renewal seamlessly integrates power and data for 21st century digital technologies.

Interconnected spaces on the main floor and the level below, allow the Bank to create a new destination for conferences and events. The latest technology, together with adjacent lounges and integrated food and beverage service, provides support to a wide variety of meeting spaces.

Extensive external plaza works include the construction of a new glass pyramid, which serves as the main entry for the Bank of Canada Museum, which was moved from the Centre Block to the site of a below grade loading dock beneath the plaza. This relocation was necessary in part because the public entrance to the museum had been through the atrium, a space now off-limits to the general public due to the security requirements now imposed on the central banks of G-7 countries.

Jim Taggart, FRAIC is Editor of SABMag.

Demountable wall systems used in the Bank of Canada were provided by Teknion

PROJECT CREDITS

  • Client  Bank of Canada
  • Architect  Perkins+Will
  • Structural Engineer  Adjeleian Allen Rubeli Limited
  • Mechanical/Electrical Engineer  BPA
  • Interior Design  Perkins+Will
  • Landscape Architect  DTAH
  • Sustainability Consultant  Perkins+Will
  • Heritage Consultant  EVOQ Architecture (Formerly FGMDA)
  • Construction Manager  PCL Construction
  • Project Manager CBRE Limited/Project Management Canada
  • Photos  doublespace photography

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 of operation)
  • Water savings relative to reference building = 35%

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LEED Canada Buildings-in-review: Highlighting LEED®-certified buildings in 2017

MEETING CANADA’S GHG EMISSION REDUCTION TARGETS, ONE BUILDING AT A TIME

Welcome to the eighth edition of the LEED in Canada: Buildings in Review supplement, produced in partnership with SABMag. In this supplement, you will read about some of the most innovative and efficient buildings in Canada. LEED certification provides a critical third-party seal of approval in the marketplace, and ensures that a building has gone through a rigorous process to verify their environmental performance targets.

Continue reading “LEED Canada Buildings-in-review: Highlighting LEED®-certified buildings in 2017”