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Vancouver’s newest green building boasts annual heating bill of $60 or less

Rental building targeting LEED Platinum certification already meets city’s 2020 carbon neutral and 2050 100 per cent renewable energy goals.

When finished, the 77 rental units at King Edward Villa will be among the most energy efficient in the city.

Matt Kieltyka/Metro

When finished, the 77 rental units at King Edward Villa will be among the most energy efficient in the city.

The builder of an under-construction rental building in Vancouver says it is so efficient, heating bills could be $60 or less… a year.

The 77-unit, six-storey King Edward Villa at 1568 East King Edward Ave. was touted as the perfect model for a low-carbon future on Wednesday as the Pembina Institute, Performance Construction and City of Vancouver staff led media and planners from other municipalities on a tour of the building.

The development, which is targeting LEED Platinum certification, features extra insulation, air barriers, independent ventilation and heating systems in each unit, energy-efficient windows and unique framing that allows it to recapture 50 per cent of heat and light back into energy.

The building already meets the city’s 2020 goal for carbon-neutral buildings and 2050 goal for 100 per cent renewable energy buildings, said Vancouver green building manager Chris Higgis.

“The average costs of heating in each unit, and this is per year, is $60,” said Paul Warwick, senior project manager at Performance Construction. “It’s remarkable. It’s right off the map. I’m sure there will be young people living on the middle floors that won’t have any heating bill.”

Warwick says until now developers haven’t embraced green buildings (Higgis says there are fewer than six LEED platinum buildings, but more are expected) because they weren’t convinced in the business case.

But tours of King Edward Villa have changed many minds, he says.

Performance Construction senior project manager Paul Warwick gives city planners and media a tour of the King Edward Villa development on Wednesday, April 13, 2016.

Matt Kieltyka/Metro

Performance Construction senior project manager Paul Warwick gives city planners and media a tour of the King Edward Villa development on Wednesday, April 13, 2016.

The extra cost to meet those green standards is about $8 a square foot, about as much as it would cost to install a tradition building-wide hot water heating system.

“As soon as [clients] see this model, they say ‘yeah, we want to do the same thing.’ So there’s the business case,” said Warwick.

The technology isn’t even that complicated. It’s just smart design, he said.

“What we’re doing here is catching light and heat,” said Warwick. “It’s very simple technology. None of this is rocket science. I’d like to say this is all low-tech and it’s very easy to do, you just need the business case to do it.”

Higgis added that while rent – which will range from $1,200 a month for a studio to $1,800 for a two-bedroom – is comparable to other buildings, the increased energy savings will help make these units more affordable for tenants.

Staff will present a Zero-Emissions New Building Strategy to city council next month that recommends new building code and rezoning policies for the next 15 years, Higgis said.

Buildings generate approximately 11 per cent of the province’s greenhouse gas emissions.

For the province to meet its climate goals, Pembina Institute director of buildings and urban solutions Karen Tam Wu said buildings like King Edward Village need to “move from the niche to the norm.”

She hopes the province emulates the city’s support for green buildings when it unveils its revised climate action plan sometime this spring.

“There are 23,000 green construction jobs and 14,000 green buildings in the province,” she said. “It’s a sector that already exists. It’s a sector that we want to see continue to grow.”

City planners from North Vancouver, Richmond and Surrey were part of the tour.

Construction of King Edward Villa is expected to be completed this summer.

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