B.C.’s tallest Passive House building certified in Vancouver
December 16, 2021
The city has implemented a zero-emissions plan for its buildings since 2016.
The city of Vancouver reports its new seven-storey building at 825 Pacific Street has earned Passive House certification. The all-electric, near-zero-emission facility, the tallest Passive House project in British Columbia, is set to be operated by a not-for-profit arts and culture organization.
The internationally recognized Passive House certification recognizes projects that generally require 90% less heating energy and 60% less overall energy than typical Vancouver buildings, thanks to additional insulation in their walls, windows, doors and roofs. This ultra-low-energy design approach can improve indoor air quality (IAQ) and occupant comfort, reduce operating costs with lower utility bills and remove reliance on fossil fuels.
“This project will use no fossil fuels,” confirms Craig Edwards, the city’s manager of energy and utilities. “The building will meet our requirement that all new city-owned facilities are constructed to a zero-emissions standard, helping lower the carbon pollution of our portfolio of buildings and acting as a demonstration project, to show how others can design and build commercial buildings to achieve near-zero emissions in their operations.”
With its thicker insulation, the 825 Pacific Street building uses an electric air source heat pump to deliver domestic hot water, heating in the winter and cooling in the summer; and a heat recovery ventilator to filter indoor air and protect occupants during smoke events. The project team includes consulting engineering firms IBI Group (architecture), Morrison Hershfield (Passive House and building envelope consulting) and Integral Group (mechanical and electrical engineering), along with Grosvenor Americas (developer) and Ledcor Group (general contractor).
“The new arts and culture hub is an exciting new space in our city, made possible by community amenity contributions,” says Kennedy Stewart, mayor of Vancouver. “It aligns with our efforts to reduce pollution and respond to the urgency of the climate crisis, moving away from burning fossil fuels to heat our buildings and produce hot water, while also making those buildings more resilient.”
Vancouver has implemented ‘green building’ programs and policies since 2004 and the zero-emissions plan for city-owned and managed buildings since 2016. The city currently has approximately 10 Passive House projects in development or recently completed, including Firehall 17, Gastown’s Water View and Portside child-care centres and the Marpole Community Centre. In all cases, slightly higher construction costs are expected to translate into significant savings in operational costs.