Vancouver House Building 1

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Certifications & Awards
Project Team
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Vance Harris of DIALOG Architects and Jacqueline Che of Westbank


Vancouver House Podium 1

Podium 1 is a 9 storey 128,000 sqft of mixed-use development located next to the Granville street bridge in Vancouver, BC.

The project consists of studios, one and two apartment suites, with about 42,000 square feet of food and commercial retail spaces, office spaces and a health club. Podium 1 serves as a base and envelops the central 59-storey high rise building (Tower 2).

The total occupancy counts for Podium 1 include 222 residents, 450 staff and 595 transients.

The project is targeting LEED Gold certification with an exemplary 70+ points targeted under the LEED 2009 Core and Shell rating system

Sustainable Sites

As an initial step towards sustainability, the decision to develop on an existing site greatly affects the LEED sustainability strategy by developing in an existing urban fabric with connections to public transit and an established community with existing services.

As a requirement for this new development, remediation of site contamination was conducted as well as a construction activity pollution prevention plan is designed to reduce the existing pollution as well as that from construction activities.

The project is in a highly dense location right next to the Granville Street bridge which is a key connection between Vancouver Downtown and Mainland. With the centralized location of the project right in a healthy mix of commercial, retail, and residential buildings alternative forms of transportation strategies are required, such as, accessibility to bus and light rail transit and proximity to a multitude of bike lanes. These multimodal transportation choices promote walkability, transportation efficiency, reduces vehicle distance traveled and improves public health by encouraging daily physical activity. Transportation options have been provided to occupants beyond Single Occupant Vehicle uses, including bicycle amenity provision and electric refueling stalls which reduce fuel sourced motor vehicle use, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

To promote biodiversity within the building, 20% of the total site area is vegetated with native or adaptive vegetation. Open spaces like vegetated gardens and amenity spaces have been provided which encourage interaction with the environment and aid in passive recreational activities. By increasing the amount of vegetation, the amount and rate of storm water reaching the storm water system is reduced which helps in natural infiltration of water and reduces the irrigation requirements. In addition to vegetation, a rainwater cistern is provided to reduce surface run off and impacts it has on downstream stormwater infrastructure. Vegetated and amenity spaces also contribute to reducing the heat island effect for roofs which can reduce the amount of energy used for a building and minimize the effects on microclimates.

Water Use Reduction

Indoor and outdoor water reduction strategies have been incorporated by use of water efficient fixtures, reduced potable water demand management. An overall reduction of 50% outdoor water use is attained by stormwater collection and use of native and adaptive plant species that require less water and thrive with minimal care. The reduction is also attributed to high efficiency irrigation systems. For the building interior, all plumbing fixtures are low flow fixtures such as low flush toilets, low flow lavatories, showers, and kitchen sinks which reduces the overall indoor water use by 40% from the baseline case.

Energy and Carbon Emissions

Energy savings are achieved through an efficient envelope, low lighting power density and highly efficient HVAC system which supports a targeted energy cost reduction at 22% relative to an ASHRAE 90.1- 2007 baseline. Part of this performance will be supported through the connection of a centralized energy system supporting efficient production of heating and cooling energy. To assure the building systems function is optimized and energy consumption is monitored for continued performance, a measurement and verification plan has been implemented to monitor the buildings actual energy consumption and compare it to the theoretical performance. In addition to energy metering, water end use metering has been provided to verify predicted water use reductions and enable facility managers to better manage the building’s water consumption.

An enhanced level of commissioning has been conducted to ensure systems are properly calibrated and they function as designed. A third-party commissioning authority is directly contracted to the owners to assure all commissioning items are properly addressed. The Enhanced Commissioning ensures owner design requirements are implemented and all equipment efficiency is optimized on a system level.

To minimize environmental impact of mechanical equipment, material used in the systems follow a strict reduction, and elimination of refrigerants. Limiting the use of these refrigerants helps in minimizing the direct contribution to stratospheric ozone depletion and climate change.


The project diverted 75% construction waste from landfills by implementing a construction waste management plan. This encourages recycling and reuse of materials thereby reducing the demand for virgin materials. Additionally, all building contains a recycling storage area to service ongoing operational waste diversion and recycling. In the construction of Podium 1 itself, the team established a recycled content of at least 20% of materials based on cost. This includes fly ash in concrete, recycle structural steel, drywall, etc. Locally harvested and manufactured materials have also been specified for a total over 20% of the total construction cost. Materials with recycled content have lesser embodied emissions and create less pollution than their virgin counterparts. This further leads to adaptive reuse and optimization of the environmental performance of materials and products.

Indoor Environmental Quality

Indoor air quality LEED strategies were implemented from the initial construction phase with an indoor air quality plan and activities of which lead to lasting benefits after building completion. This also contributes to the comfort and well-being of building occupants. Environmental tobacco smoke control has been implemented to prevent or minimize exposure of building occupants, indoor surfaces, and ventilation air distribution systems to environmental tobacco smoke. Smoking is limited to designated outdoor smoking areas for commercial spaces and at least 7.5m away from the building periphery. Further indoor air quality is achieved through the specification of low VOC emitting materials. Low emitting materials reduce concentrations of chemical contaminants that can damage indoor air quality and human health. Indoor Air Quality is ensured after construction with an air flush out of the entire building and quality is monitored thereafter via CO2 monitors and air delivery sensors.

To improve the comfort of the occupants in the buildings, controllability for lighting and thermal comfort controls is provided for each suite. Thermal controls are in the form of operable windows and thermostats with ventilation controls. The building is designed to meet thermal comfort levels for all spaces.