Best Practices

The seriousness and immediacy of the environmental issues we now face are such that Sustainable Design can no longer remain the preserve of a small number of specialists and enthusiasts. Building owners and users will increasingly demand higher standards of environmental performance of the construction industry. Architects will need to respond by developing a clear understanding of the nature of environmental pressures, and of appropriate design and construction strategies to reduce impacts. Appropriate material choices to minimize environmental impacts will be a key component of sustainable design. The Best Practices Guide is intended to provide architects with practical information to assist in selection of appropriate green building materials. Background material is provided on environmental issues specific to each material type, and specific selection criteria are provided and prioritized. In all cases material choices are placed within a larger context that discusses performance issues to avoid the use of materials that achieve green design goals at the expense of acceptable performance in other areas.
from: GVRDdocument: Best Practicesin detail XlnkS5F9 XlnkC179D

York University Computer Science Building

York University directed the design team to achieve a warm, open, welcoming facility that would be simple and fexible enough to accommodate unpredictable future technology. An additional objective evolved out of the design process: this would be the first new institutional project in Ontario that would be “green, with a design based on a commitment to achieving environmental sustainability objectives. This project offered us the opportunity to implement a green design approach in a “cold weather” climate.
from: Busby + Associatesdocument: Busby York Universityin detail XlnkS5FA XlnkC1786

Koo’s Corner

Koo’s Corner takes its name from the automotive service garage first built on the site. It is a high density urban infill project. The project involved an extensive renovation of the former garage into 2 loft units and the addition of 4 townhouse-style units on the former parking lot to the south. The intention behind the project was to create as sustainable a project as possible while working within the budget limits of a market housing project. Particular focus was on energy including: future-proofing the building to facilitate the adoption of solar technologies at a later date, the use of heat recovery in both ventilation and shower greywater. Particular attention was paid to materials selection to ensure excellent indoor air quality and low embodied energy. A further aim was to provide affordable housing in an urban setting, that responded to its context.
from: reSource Rethinking Building Inc.document: Koo’s Cornerin detail XlnkS5EE XlnkC18C2

Cedar Hill Community Centre

The new wing of Cedar Hill Community Centre is to be built in accord with the Centre’s goals of promoting health and wellbeing. High indoor air and environmental quality is a priority and will be achieved using low emitting materials, natural ventilation and generous views of the outdoor surroundings. With the North facing glazing and operable windows the new fitness areas, pottery and art studios will forgo the usual requirements of having air conditioning. The use of natural light and reduction of mechanical equipment will result in an energy efficient facility, lowering both initial and operating costs, and the introduction of bioswales and permeable paver parking area will enhance the landscaping of this community centre, already located in an idyllic natural setting.
from: CEI – Architecture and Planningdocument: Cedar Hillin detail XlnkS5EF XlnkC1805

Surrey Transfer Station

A key component of the GVRD’s Solid Waste Management Plan, the Surrey Transfer Station has been sited with construction scheduled for completion by early 2004. The design-build contract is the responsibility of Wastech Services Ltd., one of the GVRD’s primary solid waste operations contractors. In keeping with the GVRD’s Sustainable Region Initiative and Board policy to use Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) as a discretionary framework for all new facilities, the Surrey Transfer Station will be designed and constructed employing the LEED Green Building Rating System for guidance and potential certification. When completed, the Surrey Transfer Station is anticipated to be one of the first industrial buildings in Canada to be LEED certified. This energy efficient facility will incorporate natural light and high-recycled content while minimizing construction waste and water use. The innovative design addresses not only the sustainability of the building but also of the site itself, with native and drought resistant plants thereby eliminating the use of irrigation, and the diversion of storm water through a bioswale to eradicate pollutants in the municipal system.
from: CEI – Architecture and Planningdocument: Surrey Transfer Stationin detail XlnkS5F0 XlnkC1805

Seabird Island Sustainable Community Demonstration Project

This project introduces new envrironmentally responsive, healthy and energy efficient construction methods and products to first nations, residential builders and communities across Canada. The homes are designed to benifit from solar, wind and earth energy.
from: Broadway Architectsdocument: Seabird Islandin detail XlnkS5F1 XlnkC18C3

Cloverdale Sanitary Sewer Overflow Storage Facility

Sustainability 2003 Award Winner As part of the Liquid Waste Management Plan, the GVRD is working to further reduce discharges of sanitary sewage to the environment. To manage sanitary sewer overflows in Cloverdale, the GVRD has designed a unique storage system that will automatically divert overflows to a 6700 cubic metre concrete storage tank, hold the flow until the storm has passed, and then return the flow to the wastewater conveyance system. When it is completed in mid-2004, the system will protect human health and avoid potential environmental damage to the surrounding farm land. The design also incorporates green building features and energy-efficient operations. For example, designers were able to use gravity for most of the drainage, saving pumping energy. An innovative flushing system uses a small amount of retained wastewater to avoid pumping in fresh water for tank cleaning. Automated controls connected to the GVRD’s control center in Burnaby will monitor and control the process, reducing the need for operators to travel to the site. Natural and wetland grasses provide landscaping and reduce surface runoff. Contractors will reuse excavated soils to reduce hauling and the need for imported fill. The tank also uses EcoSmart concrete, which utilizes flyash from coal fired power plants and reduces carbon dioxide emissions from concrete manufacturing. In addition, the facility will provide social benefits to the community. For example, the project team was able to design a permanent solution to long-standing concerns of neighbouring farmers about access to fields near the site by designing a utility road that farmers can use for their equipment. Consultation and planning ensure the GVRD’s designers create sustainable developments that reflect social, economic and environmental values.
from: GVRDdocument: Cloverdale Sewer Overflow Storage Facilityin detailsee also: GVRD Sustainable Region Initiative XlnkS5EB XlnkC179D

Little Mountain Reservoir Reconstruction

Sustainability 2003 Award Winner Sustainable demolition may sound like a contradiction in terms, but sustainability guides the demolition and reconstruction of the 175 million litre Little Mountain Reservoir in Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Park. Built in 1911, the reservoir stores water for emergency use and to meet fluctuations in daily water demand. Located at the high point in one of Vancouver’s most popular parks, the roof of the concrete reservoir provides parking as well as a landscaped park area. The reservoir required upgrading to meet current seismic standards as well as to provide additional storage capacity and improved operational flexibility. With sustainability principles in mind, a key goal for the project team was to keep the impact of the work on the park, and on the region, to a minimum. The new reservoir fits into the same footprint as the original one, and the project work has been planned in close consultation with park users and the host municipality to minimize impacts. After a series of public meetings with park users, GVRD staff, consultants, contractors and sub-contractors signed a Project Charter that stresses safety, budget, environmental stewardship, responsiveness to public concerns, effective communication and timeliness. The project puts the principles of the Charter into action by using innovative technologies such as on-site concrete recycling and separation of rebar. For reconstruction, contractors used EcoSmart concrete, utilizing flyash from coalfired power plants. Compared to conventional concrete, manufacturing EcoSmart concrete for this project produces 3000 fewer tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. Contractors use noise barriers and controls to reduce construction impacts in the park, wash truck wheels and roads, and control dust, runoff and debris. Plans call for protecting trees and replanting vegetation that is disturbed. To keep park users informed, the GVRD has hosted a series of open houses and distributed project updates in the surrounding community. A wheelchair-accessible viewing platform allows visitors to safely view the progress of the project. With the cooperation of the project team, the first phase of the project was finished on budget and on schedule. By planning for social, environmental and economic concerns, the project team has set a model for a sustainable demolition and reconstruction project in a sensitive, busy urban park.
from: GVRDdocument: Little Mountain Reservoir Reconstructionin detailsee also: GVRD Sustainable Region Initiative XlnkS5E0 XlnkC179D

South East False Creek

A Model Sustainable Neighborhood for 3500 Residents The model is applicable to the City of Vancouver as a whole and exportable to other developing urban centres across the globe. The development strategy is based on the efficient use of natural resources applied to site planning along with robust architectural design in order to reduce the environmental impacts of human habitation. Componenents of sustainability for this project include: a brownfield reclamation strategy, a wide range of transportation opportunities, renewable energy supplies and conservation options, potable water conservation, stormwater management, solid waste handling, and urban agriculture applications. In addition, LEED building standards will be implemented. This project is a microcosm of sustainable actions embodying all APEGBC Sustainability Guidelines.
from: VIA Architecturedocument: South East False Creekin detail XlnkS5EC XlnkC18BF

Semiahmoo Library & RCMP District Office

This new building developed by the City of Surrey combines two important community services in a single structure. The South Surrey RCMP District Office occupies a 10,000 square foot space on the lower floor, while the new Semiahmoo Library has 20,000 square feet of double-height space above. Parking occupies half of the footprint at ground level, with additional parking below grade. The roof of the structure slopes upward from the rear of the building, allowing for a mezzanine in the library containing office and work space and a staff lounge leading onto an outdoor deck above the entrance. Located in South Surrey (next door to a Fire Hall) along a major traffic artery (152nd Street), the project is the first LEED” Certified library in British Columbia. It also marks the first project funded by the City of Surrey to achieve LEED” Certification. The building features a raised access floor system for optimum flexibility and an open ceiling system free of mechanical system pipes and ducts. It is constructed primarily of concrete, glass, and steel, which are cost-effective as well as durable materials appropriate for a community resource. The front façade, with its large expanse of glass, visible central stairway, and clerestory windows, punctuated by steel cladding above the front parking entry, communicates a balance of openness and strength, which is an important message to the community from both the law enforcement and library perspective. Taken together the achievements of this project add up to a notable move in the right direction for community buildings in BC not a showcase or a prototype, but a handsome, efficient, highquality building representing the responsible use of public funds for the benefit of the whole community.
from: Musson Cattell Mackey Partnership ARCHITECTS DESIGNERS PLANNERSdocument: Semiahmoo Library & RCMP District Officein detail XlnkS5E1 XlnkC18BD