EXP designs energy retrofit on high-rise buildings for older adults

May 25, 2022

At EXP, we understand and acknowledge our responsibility of protecting our environment. EXP’s engineers and scientists are experts in delivering energy-efficient solutions and incorporating sustainable practices in our projects.

EXP is working on two deep energy retrofit projects on high-rise buildings, Capilano Tower and Sunnyside Manor, constructed in the 1970s in West Vancouver, British Columbia. Both projects involve building envelope and mechanical system upgrades to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50%.

Capilano Tower

Constructed in 1970, Capilano Tower is a non-profit corporation providing homes for older adults within the municipality of West Vancouver and surrounding districts in British Columbia. EXP’s sub-consultant, Integral Group, performed the Energy Conservation Measure (ECM) study. Based on the study and upon evaluating its feasibility, energy, cost savings and payback period, 12 ECMs were selected to reduce the building’s energy usage for this project.

“The building’s top energy usage came from heating at 58% and hot water at 28%. By applying selected ECMs, we aim to reduce energy usage by 60% and greenhouse gas reduction by 85%,” said Director, Building Science, Western Canada Dino Chies.

Dino and his team will improve the building’s energy usage by replacing the glazing and heating system.  Replacing the glazing, which covers over 80% of the exterior, with a high performance tripled glazed window wall system improves the building’s thermal performance. Replacing the original boiler with a condensing boiler heating plant, replacing the in-slab radiant and terminal baseboard heaters with radiant hydronic (ceiling) panels and terminals allows heaters to operate at higher thermal efficiencies. With significant coordination between EXP and the mechanical and electrical teams during construction, the building will continue to remain occupied and operational.

The project includes complete building envelope services and upgrades, site improvements, mechanical replacement, fire alarm system upgrades, lighting replacement, new emergency battery pack and interior renovations. Construction started in November 2021 and is estimated to last approximately 14 months.

Sunnyside Manor

Sunnyside Manor, a 10-story building, constructed in 1974, is a subsidized residential building owned and operated by BC Housing serving older residents. Based on the client’s historical utility data, the building’s energy usage is considered low, with 72% of energy usage going towards heating. An ECM study was also conducted by EXP’s sub-consultant, Integral Group.

“We have selected seven ECMs out of sixteen based on energy savings and what the client is comfortable with, and they are expected to reduce the building’s energy use by 42%. The greenhouse gas reduction from implementing the ECMs is approximately 50%,” said Dino.

EXP was challenged with improving the building’s energy use, which was low. Adding exterior insulation to the walls, roofs, roof decks, and replacing the single glazed windows with triple glazed provided the greatest reduction in energy use. Heating plant replacement came a distant second, with other measures.

In addition to the complete building envelope replacement, the project includes voluntary seismic upgrade, fire alarm system replacement, lighting replacement and new power distribution, replacement of the diesel generator to the natural gas generator, new access control system, heating plant and terminal replacement, and ventilation and air conditioning improvements.

EXP is committed to building sustainable communities. Learn more about how to create energy-efficient buildings and reduce greenhouse gas reduction in Western Canada by contacting Dino Chies.

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