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$300-million LEED highway service station contract awarded to Toronto architectural firm

No matter what your car's appetite is for fossil fuel, driving down the highway is one of the last places you'd expect to find the next chapter of environmental sustainability opening up. But thanks to the Province of Ontario and Toronto's Quadrangle Architects, that's just where you'll see sustainability reach down from the headline buildings it's mostly been rolled out in, into the realm of more quotidian development, where it will ultimately do the most good.

Starting in July and ending in 2013, 20 service facilities along highways 400 and 401 will be built and renovated to LEED Silver standards. Ranging from 8,000 to 22,000 square feet, the stations will cost a total of $300 million.

According to Les Klein, Quadrangle's lead on the project, "While an automotive-oriented use like a highway service centre might not be a building that conjures up to the general public an image of sustainability... the LEED designation anticipates, among other measures: a responsible use of land (including environmental clean-up, reducing site disturbance and the heat island effect); energy-conservation in heating, ventilating and electricity usage (including alternative energy); water efficiency and consumption; indoor air quality; and controlling long-term building life-cycle costs and impacts, including the use of local and highly durable materials."

In addition to being radically sustainable, the stations will have a much higher than average degree of accessibility, including differentiated carpet colours and textures for the visually impaired, and motorized adult changing tables in the washrooms.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Lauren Dando

Do you know of a new building going up, a business expanding or renovating, even a cool new house in the neighbourhood? Please send your development news tips to [email protected]

$100-million St Michael's Hospital addition on schedule

The walls are now fully up on the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, designed by Diamond + Schmitt and being built by Eastern Construction, bringing the $100-million project one step closer to its scheduled summer completion for a Spring, 2011 opening.

"We clad the west wall in glass," says project leader Matt Smith. "So from Victoria Street, you'll be able to see the inner workings of the buildings. One of the reasons we clad the whole building in glass was to create a whole new transparency and linkage between what's going on in the building and the public." The theory is reminiscent of KPMB's work with the National Ballet School's Jarvis Street campus.

Smith says that the older parts of St. Michael's Hospital, founded in 1892 in response to that year's diptheria epidemic, are inward-looking, which was the style in the 1960s, when most of the building was built.

The new centre, one of six chosen by the Li Ka Shing Foundation as a centre of excellence, will bring together the teaching and research facilities in the hospital, in the hope of speeding the process of getting discoveries into practise.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Matt Smith

Know of a new building going up, a business expanding or renovating, even a cool new house in the neighbourhood? Please send your development news tips to [email protected]

First Canadian Place meets to go green

The Toronto City Summit Alliance's commercial building energy initiative, the tenant segment of Greening Our Workplaces, part of the larger Greening Greater Toronto, will kick off on March 26, a little more than 24 hours before Earth Hour, with a meeting between Brookfield Asset Management and its main tenants at First Canadian Place, including the Bank of Montreal and Bay Street law firm Gowlings.

"Brookfield is committed to the sustainability of its Toronto properties and has registered all of its buildings with the LEED EB:OM program," says Stefan Dembinski, Brookfield's senior vice president of asset management for eastern Canada. "We understand that many of our tenants are seeking to reduce their environmental impact and as a result we are looking to partner with them to achieve our mutually beneficial sustainability goals."

According to the TCSA, who will be presenting the business case for commercial greening at the meeting, the initiative includes retrofitting, reducing carbon emissions, and ensuring that the whole thing is driven by both landlord and tenant.

According to TCSA, commercial buildings account for more than 30 per cent of the greenhouse gas emissions in the GTA, consume 37 per cent of the city's electricity and 17 per cent of its natural gas. They suggest that one of the major barriers to improving commercial building efficiency is a lack of communication between landlords and tenants.

The March 26 meeting will be the first of five such meetings between major commercial landlords and their Toronto tenants.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Stefan Dembinski,Brookfield; TCSA

New $18 million Gladstone condo begins construction, goes green without LEED

The latest residential addition to the West Queen West neighbourhood got underway this past week with the demolition of a vacant warehouse at 2 Gladstone, next door to the Gladstone Hotel.

In its place will be an 8-storey, 54-unit condominium adding a total of 38,000 square feet of residential space to the booming strip, estimated to cost $18 million. The building will be environmentally friendly  but will not, according to the developer, be applying for any of the increasingly popular LEED certifications.

"To be quite honest, making these small buildings work financially is difficult," says Streetcar Developments vice president Jeanhy Shim, who explains that many buildings costs are fixed, whether the building in question is 8 storeys or 58, meaning the costs in smaller buildings have to be spread over fewer units. "So the having to add the cost of LEED, to be honest, is quite onerous."
(Outside agencies have estimated that LEED certification can add as much as 5 per cent to the cost of small scale projects such as Streetcar's.)

Despite this, however, 2 Gladstone will feature dual flush toilets, low VOC paints, low-flow faucets, locally sourced and produced materials, a green roof, bicycle storage, and a Zip or AutoShare facility.

And, as the name suggests, 2 Gladstone will, like every other Streetcar project according to Shim, be on a streetcar line.
The building is slated to be ready by October, 2012.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Jeanhy Shim, Streetcar Development

Toronto to get $5.3-million Underpass Park in West Don Lands

If you can't take it down, then pretty it up.

The Gardiner Expressway's been an albatross around the neck of the city's waterfront development for generations. Needed as a traffic artery, it bifurcates the city, separating the rest of Toronto both physically and psychically from one of its most potentially attractive features.
But Waterfront Toronto today announced a way to have overhead highways and play with them, too. Thanks to Vancouver planning, urban design and landscape architecture firm Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg, $5.3 million and a winning 2015 Pan Am Games bid to speed everything up, the West Don Lands are about to get the city's first (and the nation's largest) underpass park.

It will be located under the Eastern Avenue overpass, near where it meets Richmond and Adelaide streets between Cherry Street and Bayview Avenue, a few blocks north of the main part of the Gardiner. The park will be put together with various sustainable elements such as LED lighting, recycled rubber ground surfaces and re-used cobblestones from underneath a nearby part of Eastern Avenue. Complete with half basketball courts, a café, community gardens and playground, the 1.05 hectare park will provide the first meaningful, enjoyable connection between both sides of the overpass.

Set near the site of the Pan Am Games athletes village, the park is an early step in the reclamation of the formerly industrial West Don Lands, a project that also includes the River City private sector housing community that will begin construction later this year, and the Don River Park, a 7 hectare community centrepiece scheduled to break ground this summer.

"The design takes full advantage of the existing site's eccentricities and its free-for-the-taking weather protection," says lead designer Greg Smallenberg in a press release today, "transforming something that might otherwise be incidental into a delightful urban patch."

Work on Underpass Park is slated to start in May or June, with a Spring, 2011 completion.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Samantha Gileno, Waterfront Toronto

City plan announced for up to 6,000 new homes in Lawrence Heights

There's no doubt that Toronto is in the middle of another one of its big-thinking phases. The last one, which spanned the 60s and 70s, bequeathed us things like St James Town, Alexandra Park, and scores of slab buildings reaching out to the airport and beyond. Projects like the Lawrence Heights revitalization, whose draft plan was announced last week by Mayor Miller and Toronto Community Housing (TCH), will determine whether this phase's legacy, which also includes CityPlace, the Regent Park reconstruction and Concord Adex's planned $2-billion Park Place development of 42 acres along Sheppard between Bessarion and Leslie stations, leaves the city a better place or not.

The plan, which aims to begin demolition of the 1,208 social housing units in the 100-acre area by next year, will add between 4,300 and 4,800 market-price units, in addition to replacing the demolished social housing units. All of the approximately 3,500 people who currently lives in one of those units will have the right to live in the new community, with their moving costs covered by TCH.

As with most of the city's newdevelopments, Lawrence Heights will be a green project.

"Revitalization is about much more than just replacing housing that is in poor repair," says Keiko Nakamura, CEO of Toronto Community Housing, in a press release. "We're using the opportunity to incorporate green technology into new buildings and work with partners to improve parks, schools and transit and increase local jobs, training and community services. It will also mean the community has access to shops and services."
Writer: Bert Archer

Source: TorontoCommunity Housing

RBC opens first bank in new Regent Park

The Royal Bank has opened a branch in Regent Park. According to them, it's the first ever financial institution in this long beleaguered and now hopefully revitalized neighbourhood, built in the1940s as Canada's first social housing project.

Doors first opened for business in this 3,700 square foot bank on January 18, and it officially launched earlier this week. It will employ 9 people, of whom four live in Regent Park.

"We made a very concerted effort to hire from the community," says Melinda Henderson, a communications manager with the bank.

The branch, located on the ground floor of the new One Cole condominium building at the corner of Dundas and Parliament,will also be powered by Bullfrog, a 100 per cent green energy provider.
Writer: Bert Archer
Source: RBC

Tridel begins construction on Canada's first LEED-aimed community, 17 acres, 2,100 condos

A seven-tower development by Tridel, which began construction this month, will be the first community in the country to seek LEED certification as a whole under the new LEED Neighbourhood Development (ND) program.

According to developer Tridel, Metrogate, in Scarborough-Agincourt near Kennedy and the 401 (next to the Delta hotel), will consist of six residential buildings, one office building, and a series of townhouses. Solaris I and II are currently under construction. Each will be 39 storeys, with 435 units in the first, and 445 in the second. They'll be ready to occupy later this year or early next.

The site is 17 acres, once occupied by the Toronto Sufferance Transit Terminal and originally to be developed by Canderel Property Management, will consist, when finished, of 1,776,000 square feet of residential and office space, with about 2,100 condos. The site will also ultimately house a 1.65 acre park and two day care facilities.

The four basic requirements for LEED ND designation are smart location and linkage, design, green construction and innovation. On this site, Tridel reused all the concrete from the demolition of the transit terminal as subsurface road material, and the community is built on a site that's been flagged for future subway and GO expansion.
Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Tridel

Correction: The original version of this story listed Solaris I as just beginning construction and Solaris II breaking ground in August. They are both currently under construction. Yonge Street was provided with incorrect information.

Mayor's Tower Renewal project gets $346,000 green loan

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities has given the city's Tower Renewal initiative, one of Mayor David Miller's favourite projects, a $346,000 shot in the arm in the form of a green loan.

According to Miller's aide de camp and senior advisor for planning, Chris Phibbs, the loan is "to study a range of initiatives in the four pilot sites, to take a look at them and find out what kind of interventions can be done to reduce energy consumption, water use and amounts of waste generated."

Tower Renewal, headed by project director Eleanor McAteer, seeks to revitalize the city's jungle of concrete slabs built from the 1950s to the 1980s, making them simultaneously greener and more pleasant places to live.

The pilot sites are located at Kipling and Finch, Markham and Eglinton, Don Mills and Sheppard and Jarvis and Wellesley.


Writer: Bert Archer

Source: City of Toronto


Annex gets new award-winning home featuring green roof and passive design

People cycling around the eastern edges of the Annex will have noticed a new house on the corner of Admiral and Bernard that doesn't look at all like its neighbours.

Thanks to architect Nelson Kwong of nkA, the two dentists who lived in the mock-Tudor home that used to sit on the narrow 6.5 x 30 metre lot are now settling in to the city's newest attempt to update its housing style.

Winner of the Canadian Architects Award of Excellence in its planning stages, the house is three planar brick storeys high with a green-roof terrace and a single staircase running up its east side.

"The project itself was not without its challenges in terms of the approvals process," says Kwong, referring to concerns raised by the Annex Residents Association. "There was some opposition to what was proposed. It doesn't pick up on trying to be quasi-Victorian. But I think the owners were quite committed to the process."

The house is in the spiritual centre of the Annex, just down from Margaret Atwood's longtime home, and a few up from the house former Governor General Adrienne Clarkson shares with husband John Ralston Saul.

The lot, on the corner next door to the former German consulate, meant there would be little space for a yard.

"As much as that backyard is their own space, it's still quite a public space, even when you screen it off. Which gave us the idea for the flat-roof terrace with a green-roof application. It's almost given them back a full lot of outdoor amenity space."

Kwong says it's also an example of passive design, meaning the windows and roof minimize the amount of cooling and heating needed.

Writer: Bert Archer

Source: Nelson Kwong

Minto Midtown towers get LEED Gold certificate

The tallest towers at Yonge and Eglinton were born in controversy, as tall towers in well-loved neighbourhoods tend to be. But, as if to make it up to the community, Minto Midtown applied for and, just this month, received its LEED Gold certification. At 891 suites in two towers, the development is now the largest condominium to get LEED Gold.

"It's a landmark," says Andrew Pride, who heads up the 10-person Minto Green Team. "Its green certification is a testament to where condominium development is going in Canada."

He's right. Minto itself has two other LEED certified condo buildings. [email protected] Gardens (at Yonge and Sheppard) was the first multi-unit high-rise to achieve any sort of LEED certification in Canada, and the Minto Roehampton (near Yonge and Mt Pleasant) was the first multi-family building in Canada to get Gold.

But it's not just Minto, Tridel is also pinning much of its public image on its greenery. And in the commercial realm, on Oct. 1, Cadillac Fairview opened its 1.2million square foot RBC Centre at 155 Wellington, which was also built to LEED Gold standards (though it's not yet been certified).

As part of its certification, more than half of the building materials used to construct the two towers came from less than 600 km away, including several significant ingredients, like concrete and fill, coming from the GTA itself. The towers also collect and redistribute rainwater, have Zip cars available onsite for sharing, and have 5 bicycles per tower for owner and tenant use.

Writer: Bert Archer

Source: Minto Group Inc

RBC Centre's $420-million turns to LEED Gold

The latest addition to the city's skyline is the RBC Centre at Wellington and Simcoe. You'll recognize it by its distinctive blue stripe running the length of its 43 floors. Designed by Bregman + Hamann Architects and developed by Cadillac Fairview, the tower is remarkable for two things: it's one of three new office buildings (along with Menkes' Telus tower and Brookfield's Bay-Adelaide building) that have added the first significant amount of office space downtown (3 million square feet in total, of which 1.2 million is in RBC Centre) in 17 years. The second is that it's Canada's first office tower to be built to LEED Gold NC standard.

That NC stands for "new construction," which means that though it's measured on how well the landlord's role in the building measures up to LEED's criteria, it also involves a buy-in from future tenants to build and renovate to these same standards, "so it becomes a co-operative and joint effort between landlord and tenant," says Cadillac Fairview's senior vice-president of office development, Wayne Barwise, "to keep the standards of the building and both benefit from the reduced energy costs."

Built with a budget of about $420 million, Barwise lists several of the building's LEED-focused features, including operable windows on the first 10 floors, rain capture and grey-water recycling for the first six floors, and an automated building management system that uses shades and a "light shelf" to respond to changes in the light outside, including both the passage of the sun and glare from nearby buildings.

Though Barwise doesn't anticipate the vacancy rates in Toronto will demand much new commercial construction on this scale for several years, Cadillac Fairview itself, he says, were influenced somewhat by RBC's "very forward-thinking" and specific sustainability objectives, will now be changing the way it does business. "Our standard going forward," he says, "will be to build to a minimum standard of LEED Gold. We believe this is the way of the future."

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Cadillac-Fairview
132 sustainability Articles | Page: | Show All
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