Green Building Design

November 30, 2017

Award magazine, November 2017, by Natalie Bruckner-Menchelli

This past year has seen great strides being made in the world of green building design. Partially due to changing codes, regulations and greater incentives, but in the most part it is down to greater education and awareness of what it actually takes to design a green building.

Curtis Loblick, sustainability team lead at Williams Engineering agrees, having also seen increasing interest being paid in solar installations for greening a building. “Photovoltaics are really starting to take off in Alberta and Saskatchewan because the amount of sun they get makes it a viable option,” he says. The challenge, however, has always been the price point, but as demand increases that price is coming down. “It wasn’t long ago that you’d look at a solar panel and it had a 25 year life, and a 25 year payback, but now we are at the point where the return on investment [ROI] can be less than 10 years.”

Loblick adds that there has also been a 180-degree turnaround in how people view green building design and the benefits from already available technologies to cut long-term costs; green building design is no longer the first thing to go when budgets are cut. One example of a project that had green building design at the forefront of its strategies is The Brewery District – a nine-acre, master-planned, sustainable, intelligently conceived work/live/play community located in New Westminster, B.C., which is estimated for completion in June 2019. Williams Engineering worked closely with Wesgroup Properties LP on the three residential high-rise buildings and provided mechanical systems design for all three buildings. Using existing technologies such as a central heat recovery ventilator (HRV) unit, electric baseboard heaters with individual room control and an innovative ventilation design that includes corridor ventilation provided through a high efficiency natural gas fired rooftop outdoor air unit located on the roof of each building, resulted in highly efficient buildings.

But it’s not just new-builds that play a role in the green building design market. Indeed, existing buildings, which make up 80 percent of Canada’s building stock, are expected to play a major role in Canada’s goal of reducing GHG emissions. It’s all about those design tweaks. Williams has been working on the Fish Creek Calgary Public Library (FCCPL) since 2007 when the company performed its first building envelope investigation on the facility. Over the years, they have performed numerous case studies on its design and have updated a number of features, including a complete roof replacement and electrical and mechanical upgrades.

Read the full article Award Magazine – Game-Changing