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

Desert Living Centre Las Vegas Springs Preserve

With over 11,000 square feet of exhibit space and a large demonstration garden area, the Desert Living Center will offer Las Vegas residents and design professionals the inspiration, design strategies and tools they need to profoundly influence the future of their community and the environment. AldrichPears is working with Lucchesi Galati Architects, to create a LEED platinum-rated facility on the historic and fragile 180-acre Las Vegas Springs Preserve site. Interpretive components include a design lab, a technical training studio and the sustainability gallery, where visitors interact with light-hearted exhibits that communicate practical messages about lifestyle changes and sustainable living in the Mojave Desert. The center is scheduled to open in Spring 2005.
from: Aldrich Pears Associatesdocument: Desert Living Centrein detail XlnkS5E4 XlnkC18BC

Sunflower Flashlight

The design of the sunflower flashlight utilizes ultra-thin photovoltaic cells laminated to flexible steel petals that fold neatly inside the body of the flashlight. When the integrated rechargeable battery needs charging the tail cap is opened and the wand is pulled out causing the solar cells to spring open. By moving the wand so that its shadow falls in the middle of the flower the solar cells are arrayed for maximum solar exposure. In approximately 3 hours in full sun the battery becomes fully charged (time will be slightly longer north and south of the tropics). This charge will power the flashlight for between 23.25 and 46.5 hours depending on the flashlight setting.To close simply push the wand back into the barrel of the flashlight, automatically closing the solar petals, and screw on the tail cap.
from: Aaron Rosensweet, Emily Carr Institute of Art and Designdocument: Sunflower Flashlightin detail XlnkS5E6 XlnkC18BE

Brunette Fraser Greenway

Sustainability 2003 Award Winner A common-sense idea to turn utility corridors into greenways has proven so successful that the GVRD hopes to make it part of a regional strategy for the Lower Mainland. Greenways are green walks, trails and pathways that connect regional parks and other major Green Zone sites. They give people a way to move through the region in a more natural setting than by busy urban streets. They can also help protect wildlife habitat. The GVRD and its member municipalities have been creating greenways for several years. Talks between the GVRD’s Parks and Utilities departments led to the idea of integrated corridors, meeting the desire for green spaces with the need to find suitable locations for underground sewage and water pipes and overhead construction. Utilities are often buried beneath streets where they lie untouched for many years. Some, such as elevated Skytrain tracks and power cables, are built overhead. By choosing appropriate routes, designs and landscaping, utility corridors can be turned into pleasant greenways for walking, cycling and roller-blading. GVRD staff and external stakeholders met in a series of workshops to work out questions such as conflicting maintenance standards for parks and water and sewer mains, environmental protection, tenure and security. They concluded that they could meet both utility and greenway needs and save money for regional taxpayers. Their first test was the Lake City Interceptor, a 4.8 kilometre sewer line in Burnaby. With the help of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the City of Burnaby, and local environmental groups, the sewer corridor was integrated into the regional greenway. A utility road designed to accommodate cyclists and walkers allows access for both people and utility vehicles. Innovative trenchless technologies such as pipe-bursting were also utilized to minimize impacts on the public and the environment. The second project was in New Westminster where the City, TransLink and the GVRD collaborated to convert an abandoned rail bed into a multi-use corridor. By infilling the shore of the Fraser River, tree-planting and landscaping, the team created a 2.2 hectare riverside park as well as significant new fish habitat with the construction of tidal marshes. Blended into the park are a 1.8m diameter sewer line, elevated Skytrain tracks and a 1.2 kilometre sewer access road along the Fraser River that doubles as a greenway for cycling and in-line skating. With these successful experiences, utility engineers and park planners now want to create a network of paths and trails, making the whole region more sustainable and pleasant.
from: GVRDdocument: Brunette Fraser Greenwayin detailsee also: GVRD Sustainable Region Initiative XlnkS5E7 XlnkC179D

SEE Gen Burnaby Incinerator

Sustainability 2003 Award Winner The tall red and white striped exhaust stack of the GVRD’s Waste-to-Energy Facility (WTEF) in Burnaby is a new flag of sustainability in the GVRD. Built in 1988 to handle over 20% of the region’s solid waste, the facility now generates electricity as well. Over 250,000 tonnes of municipal solid waste are handled at the WTEF each year utilizing three separate processing lines. Built to meet the highest standards of environmental sustainability, it was only the second facility of its kind in North America to qualify for the rigorous ISO 14001 environmental standard. Historically steam from the waste-to-energy facility has been sold to the nearby Norampac paper recycling mill. However, not all of the steam could be utilized by the mill. The plant operators, Montenay Inc., and GVRD engineers saw the excess steam as an opportunity to make the plant more sustainable. They found that generating electricity from the steam and selling the power to BC Hydro provided social, economic and environmental benefits. – Producing electricity from garbage created four new full-time jobs, creating positive social impacts. – Selling the electricity to BC Hydro will generate gross revenues of $5-6 million a year for the GVRD, an economic benefit for the region’s residents. – Reducing the need to generate power elsewhere creates a positive environmental impact. In fact, if BC Hydro had to generate the same power at its Burrard Thermal gas-fired generating station, it would produce 59,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases. Because the project meets social, economic and environmental tests, engineers took the initial letters of the three sustainability tests and called it the SEE-Gen project. Work on the project started in late 2001, using the best available technology. For example, low-noise designs prevent disturbance to wildlife and the surrounding community and an air-cooled condenser reduces the need for cooling water. The SEE-Gen project commenced commercial operation in July 2003. The SEE-Gen project will produce 15 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 15,000 homes. Project engineers are still looking for more savings including ways to generate additional steam and a proposal to sell residual heat from the turbogenerator to a nearby industrial development.
from: GVRDdocument: SEE Gen Burnaby Incineratorin detailsee also: GVRD Sustainable Region Initiative XlnkS5E8 XlnkC179D