Don those protective goggles and get out the table saws. October is renovation month, and this week Built Green Canada launched its High Density (HD) Renovation Program pilot.
The HD Renovation Program offers builders a means to renovate high density and high density mixed-use buildings more sustainably. The pilot is contained within the High Density New Construction program checklist, with the main differences affecting the Energy & Envelope, Materials & Methods, and Waste Management categories.
Strategic Group, a company that owns, manages, and develops office, retail, and residential properties across Canada, has already enrolled four projects in the program, thanks to some office-to-residential repurposing projects in Calgary and Edmonton.
“As we move forward with our business plan and strategy, we know it makes good economic sense to include environmentally sustainable practices in our work,” says Riaz Mamdani, Strategic Group CEO. “Our tenants and residents, stakeholders and neighbours expect a collaborative approach to environmental action, and together we are making smart and creative choices that limit our collective environmental impact.”
As the cost of entering the housing market continues to make home ownership a challenge, Canadians are looking at more affordably priced homes, while others who may have been considering buying up will remain in the home where they currently live. There are also a growing number of Canadians turning to multi-family as an affordable option, whether renting or owning—either way, as a homeowner who remains in their current home or as property owner of an existing multi-family building, there is increased focus on upgrades and saving on operating costs.
New housing represents a small percentage of overall housing stock across the country, and as the conversations between Canadians and governments increasingly center around climate mitigation, there is huge opportunity to simultaneously reduce emissions and strengthen the economy through energy-efficient retrofits of older homes and buildings in Canada. A study by Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation (CMHC) revealed that older homes are the source of significantly more greenhouse gas emissions than newer homes.
To qualify for the HD Renovation program, substantial upgrades/retrofits must be made to the energy-related building systems, including the building envelope and the mechanical and electrical systems. The energy performance of the building’s upgrades and retrofits are then compared to the requirements of the current energy standard or energy code used for modeling with ASHRAE 90.1-2010 or NECB 2011 to show energy savings resulting from the renovation. Beyond efficiency, the renovations must be sustainable.
“Considerable time was spent contemplating how energy performance improvements would be quantified, given the multiple scenarios that renovations may present—we’re keen to work closely with industry to ensure we have guidelines that are appropriate, relevant, and fair,” says Built Green’s CEO Jenifer Christenson. “Moreover, the program encourages a myriad of sustainable practices, including the reuse of building materials, as we recognize the reduced environmental impact, and therefore credit may be claimed through material usage and waste reduction.”
As with Built Green’s other third-party certification programs, the HD Renovation Program takes a holistic approach and maintains the same seven categories, including: energy efficiency, materials & methods, indoor air quality, ventilation, waste management, water conservation and business practices.