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We recently made a post about breaking ground for Carrington Ridge, our net-zero energy ready apartment building in West Kelowna. While the excitement for the construction and eventual completion of this project is high, we think that it’s valuable to reflect on the process that got us to this point.

Our resident Sustainability Analyst, Jay Starnino, was an integral part in the submission process to CleanBC’s Better Buildings Challenge. He wrote a retrospective on Carrington View that we have published below in the hopes that future developers can learn from our process as much as we have.

Carrington View Better Buildings Retrospective

Project Introduction:

In September of 2018 the Province of BC announced the CleanBC Better Buildings Net-Zero Energy Ready Challenge, both an incentive program for ambitious builders and a feasibility study for policy makers. The incentive program was to be structured like a competition, where builders were to compete for funding under a known criterion and judging panel.

All program details, including preliminary schedule, judging criteria, incentive amounts, and an indication of ongoing requirements were included in the Program Manual.

Highstreet determined that it was eligible for roughly $125,000 in incentives between the initial design incentive and the final construction incentive. In addition to economic incentives, Highstreet deemed that the exposure would be beneficial for hiring and lease-ups.

The Process:

Highstreet was required to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) on Nov. 22, 2018 for Carrington View Building A. The Expression of Interest was an 8-page document, complete with preliminary project info, the project team, targeted performance, key design strategies, methodologies, costing rationales, and more. Following the submission of the EOI, Highstreet was selected as one of 16 winners of the first round and awarded a $25,000 design incentive.

Using the $25,000 design incentive Highstreet was able to engage more key consultants, notably a costing team from Turner Townsend and envelope engineering team from RJC Engineering Group.

Following receipt of the design incentive, Highstreet was accepted as a finalist in the program, and would have to submit a complete program application to be considered for the final construction incentive.

Over the next 5 months Highstreet worked with an incredible team of building designers to complete the Program Application (PA), requiring schematic drawings, 3 specialized reports totalling 195 pages, a full drawing package, energy modelling rationale, solar design and more. The team behind the work was as follows:

  • Architecture from W.D. Fisher
  • Energy modelling and mechanical design from Reinbold Engineering Group
  • LEED and Built Green Verification by 4Elements Eco Group
  • Electrical design by Falcon Engineering Group
  • Solar design by Okanagan Solar
  • Cost Consulting by Turner Townsend
  • Envelope Engineering by RJC Engineering Group

The application was evaluated based on energy and emissions performance, cost-competitiveness, replicability, and more. The application was reviewed by a technical review panel of key stakeholders, design professionals, and members of government. Following technical review Highstreet Carrington View Building A was selected as one of 11 winners of the final construction incentive.

What went well:

  • Building Performance: The building successfully met the TEDI and TEUI requirements of the design. This was achieved using triple pane windows and an R40 envelope, high-efficiency ERVs, a heat-pump based water and space heating and cooling systems, interior air recirculation, and more.
  • Building Design: While other buildings in the program looked remarkably unique and futuristic, Highstreet’s submission was attainable and elegant, representing a realistic vision for the future. Highstreets buildings have been used as cover photos in multiple press releases by the province since.
  • Collaboration: Where Highstreet’s consultants are used to coordinating designs under constantly shifting deadlines, the Better Buildings Program offered an opportunity to collaborate and complete large complex deliverables under immobile deadlines. Team members from Highstreet and the consulting team often worked evenings and weekends, were available out of office-hours, and communicated well to ensure designs were completed to a high standard on-time.

What could have gone better:

  • The SIP Wall Assembly: While initially very promising, it was found after Building Permit Submission that the initially proposed wall assembly was not CCMC compliant, and would require alternate solutions for fire spread, hygrothermal performance, and structural integrity. These additions increased the cost of the assembly considerably.
  • Measurement and Verification Requirements: Highstreet’s approach of using decentralized systems made measurement of TEDI near impossible, and certainly not cost-effective. Ultimately Highstreet’s energy modelling engineer submitted a rationale that it would not work within the scope of the project.

What’s Next?

Highstreet will be presenting the project to media and industry peers at the Net-Zero Energy Ready Building Showcase at the Vancouver West Convention Center, 3pm-8pm November 27th. Construction on Carrington View Building A is underway, and the ground-breaking ceremony gave media and municipalities the opportunity to see the future of high-performance, attainable multi-family living. This project marks a milestone for both Highstreet and the Okanagan.