The Green Point Project

Achieving a world first at standard cost

By Kenneth Chooi and Ross Wood

The Green Point Project is a 2,600 sq.ft. single-family residence located on a 6.25-acre forest and sensitive shoreline in Cowichan Bay on the east coast of Vancouver Island.The project is striving to achieve a world first by achieving Passive house (PH) and Living Building Challenge (LBC) certifications. Additionally, Green Point just received a third certification, Green Shores for Homes – Orca designation. Inspired by the concepts of Biophilia and Regenerative Design, the project proponents set themselves these ambitious goals within a relatively modest budget of $300/sf. 

The architecture is inspired by rural buildings of the region and First Nation’s Long Houses. Wood is used as the primary building material and the house is fitted carefully into the natural forested landscape.

Reclamation and regeneration of the natural ecosystem was guided by an integrated design process involving the municipality, biologists, archaeologists, First Nations consultants, landscape architects, conservationists, engineers, building contractors, arborists, marine ecologists and permaculture specialists.

The site had been previously altered into a private six-hole golf course and the design team felt strongly that the ecosystem was now in distress. The decision was made to begin ‘re-wilding’ the site by surveying the Garry Oak forest to understand the ancient ecosystem; removing mechanical and plastic debris from the beach and restoring the natural shoreline; transforming the putting green into a natural meadow and the ornamental garden into a permaculture-based food production system that benefits both human and animal residents of the site. The water system is a closed loop with potable water being drawn from onsite wells and wastewater being treated onsite by an aerated septic system, with effluent used to regenerate the meadow.

The Green Point Project was constructed using only low-carbon, responsibly-sourced and RED List-free materials. The embodied carbon footprint of the project was minimized through a “wood first” material strategy and by prioritizing locally-sourced and salvaged materials. The structure and envelope were primarily built with sustainably harvested FSC and salvaged wood. The decision to avoid all Red List materials supports transparency, accountability, and health within the construction industry.

Kenneth ChooI is with DSK Architects, and Ross Wood is with Counterpoise Architecture.

The house has a 95% high-efficiency HRV and back-up electrical heaters. A 35-module PV system is expected to generate more energy than will be consumed. Passive House-certified windows and doors by Fenstur.

PROJECT CREDITS

  • Owner/Developer  Fiona McLagan and Kenneth Chooi
  • Architect and Design Team  DSK Architecture with the Green Point Design Collective,
  • Nido Design and Ross Wood
  • General Contractor  Bernhardt Contracting
  • Electrical and Mechanical Engineer  Integral Engineering
  • Structural Engineer  Sorensen Trilogy Structural Engineering Solutions
  • Landscape Architect  Victoria Drakeford Landscape Architecture with
  • Lunar Bloom Landscaping
  • Commissioning Agent  Earth Cycle Technologies (Passive House),
  • Bernhardt Contracting (HRV)
  • Energy Modelling  Nido Design
  • Photos  Rob Wilson    

PROJECT PERFORMANCE

  • Energy intensity (building and process energy) = 15 kwhr/m²/year
  • Water consumption from municipal sources = none
  • Reduction in water consumption relative to reference building = 100 %
  • Recycled material content by value = 98%
  • Regional materials (800km radius) by value = 99%
  • Construction waste diverted from landfill = 99%
  • SUBSCRIBE TO THE DIGITAL OR PRINT ISSUE OF SABMAGAZINE FOR THE FULL VERSION OF THIS ARTICLE.

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