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Passive House Project: Parkdale Landing

Adaptive re use of derelict building a new asset for social good

By Graham Cubitt and Emma Cubitt

Parkdale Landing in Hamilton, ON is a three-storey, 4,300m² adaptive reuse project located in the city’s east end. It is developed and operated by Indwell, a Christian charity that creates affordable housing communities for people seeking health, wellness and belonging.

The mixed-use project includes 55 bachelor and two one-bedroom apartments (all with kitchen and bathroom) together with a variety of related commercial uses: a restaurant and commercial kitchen that together form a community food hub; a pharmacy, a convenience store, and administrative offices for Indwell staff.

The existing building, which had been used as a rooming house and banquet hall, was primarily a steel- frame structure with concrete masonry walls. Engineering investigations identified several poorly constructed additions, as well as remnants of a farmhouse dating from the 1860s. In addition, there was contaminated soil that had to be removed from the site. In the end, approximately 30% of the existing building needed to be dismantled and replaced with a new steel frame structure and precast hollow core concrete floors.

Although the Passive House approach was new to all members of the project team, led by Invizij Architects, it was embraced by everyone as a valuable learning experience. As an owner/operator, Indwell understood the practical benefits of lower maintenance and operating costs, while recognizing potential problems associated with the steep learning curve. The municipality also supported the project from a policy perspective, recognizing that low energy buildings contribute positively to its own greenhouse gas reduction goals.

The Passive House methodology does provide some relaxations when dealing with performance requirements for renovations and adaptive re-use projects. Given the emphasis now being placed on the retention of existing buildings to conserve embodied carbon, these relaxations are important.

On this basis, Parkdale Landing was permitted 1.0 air changes per hour under the EnerPHit protocol, rather than the 0.6 required for new buildings. We achieved 0.31 ac/hr by wrapping the entire building in an air/vapour barrier, and installing exterior insulation.

An existing building has other physical constraints, having both a fixed orientation and window openings that may be too small on some elevations and too large on others. In response, we enlarged a number of windows and used solar shading where appropriate to control heat gain.

The project uses a highly efficient FTXL™ Fire Tube Boiler by Lochinvar and requires only a 6.2 sq.ft. footprint.

Project Credits

Owner/Developer  Indwell

Architect & Prime Consultant  Invizij Architects

Passive House Consultant  Peel Passive House

Mechanical & Electrical Engineer  CK Engineering

Structural Engineer  Kalos Engineering

Environmental Engineer  Peto MacCallum

Construction Manager  Schilthuis Construction

Airtightness Contractor  Fourth Pig Green & Natural Construction