About the Project
The Province of British Columbia is leading efforts to reduce carbon emissions by 2050 from buildings through their Net Zero/Smart Buildings initiative. This is intended to achieve an 80% reduction in operational greenhouse gas emissions across the Province’s entire building portfolio. Since the current energy use required to operate and occupy large buildings results in significant annual GHG emissions, the Province of BC is looking towards net zero energy buildings. The new Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) office space was renovated as a pilot project to study and evaluate available technologies and strategies to reduce energy consumption and GHG emissions for achieving Provincial energy and GHG reduction targets.
The project combines elements of efficient mechanical and electrical systems, optimized building design, and integrated renewable energy systems. The building’s conversion from a disused retail facility demonstrates the ability to achieve high levels of environmental performance from existing structures, a critical step towards the greening of BC’s building stock. The project was a successful first demonstration of Net Zero building construction completed by the Province of BC and serves as an important benchmark for future Net Zero Energy facilities.
The building design concept was developed using integrated design principles and energy modelling simulations. A preferred Net Zero Energy design was developed using eQUEST energy modelling software, and 3D REVIT MEP and BIM 360 design tools. This design concept was developed in consultation with the Architect and the Client and included several innovative design components.
The refurbished building envelope includes efficiency measures to reduce thermal bridging, improve daylighting, reduce infiltration, and provide natural ventilation.
The new mechanical systems includes heat recovery ventilation, geothermal heat pumps, variable speed drive technology, and optimized control systems with occupancy sensors.
The upgraded electrical systems includes LED lighting throughout, optimized lighting control (daylighting and personal lighting control), a 100 kW rooftop solar photovoltaic system, and electric vehicle charging stations.
The MCFD project will save over 400,000 kWh of energy compared to standard industry practice. This results in no net energy consumption or greenhouse gas emissions during operations.
The successful MCFD project delivered the Province of BC’s first Net Zero Energy building on time and on budget. It and serves as a practical demonstration of modern construction techniques and engineering systems for the public sector to meet the community’s high expectations for carbon emission reductions.