Built Green Canada launched its High Density Renovation Program pilot with four projects in progress, courtesy of Strategic Group’s office-to-residential repurposing projects in Calgary and Edmonton.
As the cost of entering the housing market continues to make home ownership a challenge, Built Green Canada suggests that Canadians are turning to multi-family units as an affordable home option.
This underscores the reality of Canada’s housing stock: new housing represents a small percentage of overall housing stock across the country.
While Canadians and all orders of government are increasingly focused on climate mitigation, there is huge opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and strengthen the economy through energy-efficient retrofits of older homes and buildings in Canada.A study by Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation (CMHC) revealed that older homes are the source of significantly more greenhouse gas emissions than newer homes.
Alongside Built Green’s Single Family Renovation Program, also applicable to multi-family low rise, the High Density (HD) Renovation Program offers builders a means to renovate high density and high density mixed-use buildings more sustainably.
Built Green Canada states that these certified renovation benefits not only the environment but also the owners and occupants who will enjoy a healthier, more durable, and more affordable home through a reduction in the operating and maintenance costs.
To qualify for the HD Renovation program, substantial upgrades/retrofits must be made to the energy-related building systems, including the building envelope and the mechanical and electrical systems.
The energy performance of the building’s upgrades and retrofits are then compared to the requirements of the current energy standard or energy code used for modeling with ASHRAE 90.1-2010 or NECB 2011. Beyond efficiency, the renovations must be sustainable.
“Considerable time was spent contemplating how energy performance improvements would be quantified, given the multiple scenarios that renovations may present—we’re keen to work closely with industry to ensure we have guidelines that are appropriate, relevant, and fair,” says Built Green’s CEO Jenifer Christenson.“ Moreover, the program encourages a myriad of sustainable practices, including the reuse of building materials, as we recognize the reduced environmental impact, and therefore credit may be claimed through material usage and waste reduction.”
As with Built Green’s other third-party certification programs, the High Density Renovation Program takes a holistic approach and maintains the same seven categories, including: energy efficiency, materials & methods, indoor air quality, ventilation, waste management, water conservation and business practices.
In the summer of 2019, Strategic Group completed its first office-to-residential repurposing project in Calgary—a mixed-use building with 65 one- and two-bedroom suites in the inner-city community of the Beltline.
Over the next year, Strategic Group will complete three more repurposing projects in Alberta. One of those is the Barron Building in downtown Calgary. According to Strategic Group, when the building opened in 1951, it was Calgary’s first high-rise at 12 storeys.
The 85,223 square foot office building marked a significant turning point in the oil and gas industry and was a symbol of Calgary’s economic, social and political growth.
The property is being repurposed into a mixed-use space with retail and 94 rental residences. The company is preserving the art deco-styled exterior while building modern residences inside to honour the legacy of the establishment.
“Our leadership in office-to-residential repurposing is grounded in an appreciation for environmental sustainability in addition to the economic, business and community benefits we realize with this strategy,” says Riaz Mamdani, Strategic Group CEO. “The high density renovation program offers the consistency and clarity that Built Green’s other programs have around process, areas of focus and options available. Our creative and unconventional approach to create great places for people is supported by our partnership with Built Green.”
“Built Green recognizes the leadership of those progressive builders and developers who are leading by example in the built environment: their commitment to forge ahead and establish new ways of doing things is setting standards that others can aspire to and contributing to innovations within the industry,” says Christenson.