From Zero To Hero

January 11, 2019

Award Magazine, December 2018, by Natalie Bruckner

The green building design sector is advancing at such a rapid rate that it can be a little difficult to stay abreast of all the changes. Passive design, net zero, carbon positive – these are just a few terms and standards that now fall under the green building design umbrella.

According to Thomas Hansen, Calgary branch manager and sustainability practice leader at Williams Engineering Canada, the increase in the number of building design standards is giving owners more options to reach their design sustainability goals. Hansen’s approach to green building design is refreshing. Instead of seeing challenges, he sees fantastic opportunities ahead. “The advent in how quickly things are moving and big data and its influence on sustainability means that the sophisticated owner has a greater understanding that green building design isn’t just about a sustainable building, it includes everything from the operation of the building to the wellness of its occupants. After all, you can have the highest performance building, but if it doesn’t fulfill the need of the occupant, it isn’t hitting the mark.”

When it comes to technologies and systems, Hansen says “the systems are pretty set, and we have the technologies available to help us meet Passive Design principles. What I see coming down the pipeline next is on and offsite storage and production – integrating systems, thermally and electrically, within the community and the district.” As for projects that truly showcase green building design, Hansen defers to 1400 Alberni Street – the world’s tallest Passive House building. “Passive House is still relatively new in Canada, and you are starting to see some applications at a mixed-use residential/commercial level, but to be building it on this scale is new to Canada. You need to have something to show people what’s possible.”

Read the full article: From-Zero-To-Hero