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Vancouver on track to build world’s tallest passive-house buildings

Developers’ proposal envisions two high-rise towers with strict environmental building standards

A rezoning application has been submitted to the city
of Vancouver that would see the construction of a two-tower development giving off close to zero greenhouse gas emissions.

The developers, Landa Global Properties and Asia
Standard Americas, have submitted an application for a 43 and 48-storey development at 1400 Alberni St. that they say will be the world’s tallest passive house structures.

“Vancouver is famous for its concrete glass towers, a building model that has been exported around the world, but the buildings themselves aren’t good for the planet,” said Eesmyal Santos-Brault, a passive house consultant.

“If we can build a tower that still makes money and is good for the environment and doesn’t consume much energy or carbon, that’s a win-win for everybody.”

A 1970s-era rental apartment complex currently sits at the proposed site, and would be demolished to erect the towers.

The passive house building standard originated in Germany in the late 1980s with the idea of combining air tightness, superinsulation and a heat recovery system to reduce the energy needed to heat and cool a home by almost 90 per cent.

Public consultation process

Vancouver’s green building manager Sean Pander said the developers still have to go through a public consultation process, and the plans will need to be approved by council, but the city welcomes the forward-thinking environmental standards.

“When we looked at energy efficiency historically, there was a big focus on mediocre design and construction,” said Pander.

‘We’re pretty excited about that shift, and that leadership, without waiting for the city to require it.”

Vancouver’s zero emissions plan

Vancouver city council adopted a zero emissions building plan last July that aims for the elimination of greenhouse gas emissions in all new construction by 2030.

The tallest passive house in the world is currently in Bilboa, Spain. The Bolueta twin tower development houses 28 and 31 storey buildings.

If approved, the Vancouver tower’s completion date is estimated to be 2022.


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