Winners announced at 2018 Wood Design Awards in B.C.

Vancouver’s Cornerstone Architecture was presented with two awards, including the Environmental Performance Award for The Heights in Vancouver, a mixed-use project that is the nation’s largest designed to the Passive House standard when constructed. Cornerstone also received the Interior Beauty Design Award for the use of wood in the Crofton House School Dining Hall in Vancouver.



South Vancouver rental building to be Canada’s largest multi-unit Passive House


A new six-storey rental building at Fraser and 57th is set to be the largest multi-family building constructed to Passive House energy-efficiency standards, once it is completed in spring this year.

That’s good news for the future tenants of the building, named Spire Landing, as they should benefit from dramatically reduced heating and cooling bills, as well as mold- and pollen-free air quality.


How Canadians are constructing North America's biggest green buildings

In January, tenants will move into a six-storey Vancouver apartment building designed to be so energy efficient, you could heat each bedroom with a 100-watt light bulb.

Boasting a total of 85 studio, one- and two-bedroom units, The Heights at 388 Skeena St. will be the largest "passive house" building in Canada.

But it won't hold that distinction for long. Others are under construction and many more are at the rezoning stage, including a residence that will house 750 students at the University of Toronto's Scarborough campus and two 40-plus highrise towers in Vancouver that aim be the tallest passive house buildings in the world.

Passive houses are green buildings constructed using a set of international design principles and standards that allow them to use up to 90 per cent less energy for heating and cooling than conventional buildings — and produce far fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

That's of interest to Canadian cities that want to meet their greenhouse gas reduction targets and ultimately Canada's commitment to cutting its emissions to 30 per cent below 2005 levels as one of the 197 countries that signed onto the 2015 Paris climate change accord.

According to the most recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, buildings generate about 20 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions linked to human-caused climate change, and 47 per cent of all indirect emissions from electricity and heat production.


Dylan Heerema: Future bright for green homes and buildings in B.C.

Here in B.C., green buildings are quickly moving from niche to norm. All across the province, Passive House apartment buildings, LEED Platinum-certified office space, and even green development plans for entire neighbourhoods are demonstrating the market demand for high-performance buildings. The green-building industry is now estimated to employ 31,700 people in B.C.

We’ve been tracking the growth in green-building construction. First released in 2015, the Pembina Institute’s B.C. Green Buildings Map has just been updated with all-new data for the past two years. The results show that the green-building sector continues to be an important employer and source of economic activity in B.C. Let’s take a deeper look at the numbers.

A number of larger green buildings have been completed in the past two years and several are currently under construction. These include commercial projects such as Metro Vancouver’s Annacis Research Centre in Delta and Vancity credit union’s Mount Tolmie community branch in Victoria, both certified to LEED Platinum. Ground-breaking projects include The Heights in Vancouver and the Dik Tiy Independent Living Facility in Smithers—multi-unit residential buildings that will be certified under the rigorous Passive House standard.

There has been a 38-percent increase in investment in larger green buildings, up from an estimated $10.6 billion in 2014 to more than $14.5 billion in 2016. Jobwise, while there were about 7,000 people working on green-building projects in 2014, there were 4,000 more (11,000) in 2016.

The green-home market has also grown over the past two years. We consider “green homes” to include houses that are certified by Natural Resources Canada as being better than B.C. Building Code, Energy Star, or R-2000, and those that meet Passive House, Living Building, LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), or Built Green standards. This brings the total cumulative number of green homes we’ve been able to represent on the map from 18,200 to 18,700. The total number of jobs in green-home construction remained steady at about 6,000.

As the B.C. Energy Step Code launches, we expect the growth in green-home and green-building construction to accelerate even further in the next few years. This is necessary if we are to meet our goal of having all new buildings be “net zero energy ready” by 2032.


Rental building proposed at East Vancouver strip mall as new multi-family district emerges

A new development is being planned in the neighbourhood, which has the Renfrew Elementary School on the northeast corner of the junction.

When the project is completed, East 22nd Avenue and Rupert Street would have been transformed into a multi-family district.

The change started a few years ago, when a number of shops on the southwest side of the junction, which included a European bakery and an Asian fish store, were replaced by a low-rise condo building.

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Thicker walls, not thicker sweaters recommended for warmth in new Vancouver construction report

The construction of townhouses and buildings under six storeys is the focus of a staff report recommending updates to the city's building bylaw in order to lower energy use and greenhouse gas consumption.  

"The updates are envelope focused, meaning walls, windows, doors and roofs as opposed to fuel focused," said Chris Higgins, green building planner with the city of Vancouver. 

The report recommends that the current width of outside walls be increased by an inch-and-a-half so more insulation can be added to the structure. 

The proposal is part of the city's plan to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from new constructions by 2030.


Vancouver looks to boost energy-efficiency standards in new homes under seven storeys

The City of Vancouver plans to boost green building requirements for new residential buildings under seven storeys, including “exceptionally large” single-family homes.

The energy efficiency measures, which would kick in March 1, 2018 if they’re approved by council next week, would cut greenhouse gas emissions from the affected buildings by 40 to 55 per cent, according to a city report. The measures include requirements for increased insulation and air tightness, and the use of improved windows, heat-recovery ventilators and more efficient equipment.

The additional green measures would increase building costs by an average of $3.50 per square foot, according to the city.

Sean Pander, a green building manager with the city, said housing affordability is “of critical importance” and suggested any additional construction costs brought on by the policy change would unlikely to be passed on to the buyers of new homes. 


Skeena – Canada’s largest passive house

Vancouver, the self-styled “world’s greenest city” has built Canada’s largest passive house. It’s all part of an effort to combat a severe and pioneer a new pathway to zero emission buildings. That’s great because buildings account for 25 per cent of all carbon emissions worldwide.

Vancouver even has a Greenest City Action Plan and is working on a Zero Emissions Housing Plan. Vancouver is a coastal city and Sean Pander, Vancouver’s green buildings manager acknowledges this reality.

“We’ve got sea level rise, and we recognize that we’re one of those cities that’s going to live with the impact. With the fisheries and the changing water temperatures, the impacts are real, we’re starting to feel them here right now.”

“In Vancouver we’re looking to have all new buildings achieve zero emissions by the year 2030.”


Things looking up for city’s second co-housing complex

Cohousing is a collaborative form of living in which residents develop close ties. Most own their homes within the complex, but they share large common areas, some common meals, as well as duties around the building. They benefit from social relationships and collective skills, which enable them to share responsibilities, interests and activities such as childcare, vehicles, tools and hobbies. Members determine how the cohousing group functions, which may include many or few rules. Decisions are made by consensus.

Brondwin’s group — Little Mountain Cohousing, a reboot of an earlier group of the same name — started recruiting members in 2015, and now its six-storey building is nearing reality. A model of the project, designed by Cornerstone Architecture, was unveiled at a September open house. Feedback was largely positive, according to city staff.

The Urban Design Panel, an advisory committee to the city, voted in support of the project at a Nov. 2 meeting in a 7-1 decision. The application is now going through the final staff review before it heads to public hearing sometime in the new year. In the meantime, Little Mountain Cohousing members hold regular meetings and meals to plan their future.


Green Living: Passive-house project in East Vancouver sets new city standard for green buildings

A recent development, however, may just be one of the city’s most important environmentally minded initiatives to date: the construction of Canada’s largest “passive house” building, a structure so energy-efficient that experts estimate residential utility bills will cost as little as $10 a month.

Dubbed the Heights, the six-storey, 85-unit mixed-use property at 388 Skeena Street is slated to be complete next spring.

It joins more than 10,000 residential, institutional, and commercial properties across Canada that have been built according to passive house, a voluntary standard forwarded by German researchers that emphasizes significant levels of insulation, airtight design, and the recycling of outgoing warm air in highly energy-efficient buildings.


Vancouver passive house project shows energy-efficient future

The City of Vancouver and the Pembina Institute are eager to see passive house projects like this take hold.

The Heights is being developed by Eighth Avenue Development Group and built by Peak Construction. Doug Wilson, president of Peak, said he got involved with the project when he was approached by Eighth Avenue president Ed Kolic.

The discussion of passive house started with Cornerstone Architecture principal Scott Kennedy early in the process. Since Kennedy is also an engineer, he and Wilson were able to have detailed discussions about the logistics of building to passive house standards.

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Builders tour Canada’s largest ‘Passive House’ in Vancouver

Have you ever seen an apartment building wearing a sweater?

It’s not as wild an idea as it sounds, according to the Vancouver architect behind what will be the country’s largest near-zero emissions building when it’s finished.

The 85-unit, six-storey rental apartment building, located at East Hastings and Skeena streets, meets the European-pioneered Passive House standards, the highest environmental certification in the world.

“The first thing you do is put a really good sweater on the building,” explained Cornerstone Architecture principal Scott Kennedy, “that keeps the cold out in the winter and keeps the cold in in the summer. The idea is to actually moderate your climate better than a typical building.

“It's what we call an 'envelope-first' building.”


Second cohousing development in Vancouver planned in Riley Park neighbourhood

A second cohousing development is in the works. City hall has received an application to rezone three lots on Quebec Street in the Riley Park neighbourhood for a six-storey residential building.

The development will have 25 strata-titled homes to be owned by members of a group called Little Mountain Cohousing.

City staff and members of Little Mountain Cohousing will hold an open house from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. next Wednesday (September 21) at 4588 Clancy Loranger Way.

For more info check complete Georgia Straight article.


388 Skeena, one of the main options for City of Vancouver advances toward goal of spurring development of zero-emission green buildings

388 Skeena is a super-energy-efficient 85 unit apartment building being built the corner of Skeena and East Hastings streets. On its website, 8th Avenue Development Group describes the rental project as the “largest passive house building” in Canada.

The project designed by Cornerstone architecture under the strict requirements of the passive house standards. The description is bound to confuse those who wonder how a multifamily complex could ever be characterized as a “house” but In fact, the term passive house comes from the German word Passivhaus and does not refer exclusively to single-family homes.

It’s a voluntary standard for achieving outstanding energy efficiency in all buildings, including institutional and commercial structures. It has caught on in Europe and is undergoing serious scrutiny by officials in Vancouver.

For more info check complete Georgia Straight article.