Capital Park Residencies - 355 Menzies
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Jon Floyd, Jawl Properties & Kevin Welsh, Integral Group
355 Menzies is a 4-level concrete and steel building with a gross square footage of 4,655 m2 and over a hundred residents. It is the first residential building to be completed in the Capital Park complex, which is located across the street from the provincial parliament buildings in Victoria, British Columbia. The development promotes the idea of sustainably densifying urban environments with high-quality rental units in proximity to places of work and amenities. This building is targeting a Gold certification in the Canadian Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Standard.
Green Building Highlighted Features
- Shared parkade with other buildings in the complex
- Proximity to public transit, facilities to encourage carpooling and electric vehicles
- Ground floor commercial spaces, including a grocery store and library
- Dedicated bicycle parking room in parkade for bicycle commuters, as well as proximity to bike lanes
- Landscaping makes use of drought-resistant native plant species and is optimized for stormwater management
- High reflective rooftop reduces heat island effect
- Efficient heating through hydronic baseboards and a heat recovery ventilator
The building provides 52 rental units close to the British Columbia legislature in the historic James Bay neighbourhood. While the neighbourhood is already rich in amenities, with several restaurants, cafes, and stores within walking distance, the building itself includes two large commercial spaces, contributing to a traditional mixed-use building in a neighbourhood where many residents also work.
The southernmost end of the building houses a Red Barn Market, which is a locally-owned grocery chain with a focus on carrying products produced by local-area farmers and small-scale food processors. Having a grocery store in the Capital Park development means that residents or workers in the building and neighbourhood can reduce the amount of travel required to buy their daily necessities.
The other end of the building houses the sxʷeŋxʷəŋ təŋəxʷ James Bay branch of the Victoria Public Library. Pronounced s-hweng hw-ung tongue-oo-hw, sxʷeŋxʷəŋ təŋəxʷ is the Lekwungen name for James Bay. A major amenity for the neighbourhood, the branch offers book lending, a kids area, public computers, and bookable community and study rooms.
The building also features a shared amenity space on level 3, leading out to a large outdoor space. This is in keeping with an intent of the entire Capital Park development to provide ample outdoor space to encourage occupants to spend more time outdoors, engaging with the landscape and ecology which is designed into the spaces, as well as the community as a whole.
The site previously housed surface parking, and a collection of buildings that were built in the early fifties. These buildings were referred to internal as the “temp buildings”, and had greatly exceeded their lifespan. In the 1990s the city established set of stipulations based on public engagement for future development of the property in a document called the Victoria Accord. The accord called for a mixed-use site with “people-oriented” streets, public amenities, and clear views of the legislature. The developers of the site, Jawl Development, and Concert Properties committed to meeting and surpassing the requirements of the accord.
An interesting aspect of the site were five heritage houses which were each over 100 years old. The houses were relocated within the James Bay neighbourhood and renovated, with three of the houses being converted into small rental units, and two being sold in their new locations.
The building’s location on Menzies Street means that it has a wide variety of transportation options available to residents. Several bus lines run along Menzies and Superior street, and the multi-bay Legislature Terminus where many bus lines start or end their routes is only a block away.
There are also dedicated bike lanes passing by the development, and the site is served by improvements made as part of the Capital Park development, including a segregated bike lane along Superior St. Material efficiencies were gained by the building having a shared parkade structure with the adjacent office building. To incentivise occupants to reduce their vehicle emissions the parkade also offers electric vehicle charging stations.
Water savings focused on reducing potable water demand. Through the selection of water-efficient plumbing fixtures, and energy start appliances, the project supported a 40% reduction in potable water use compared to a typical residential building of this density. This translates to an annual savings equal to 4 million litres of water.
Optimization of landscaping on-site and the roof was done to reduce the water required for irrigation in addition to the selection of drought-resistant native plant species.
This fits within the context of Victoria, where there is a regional priority to try to minimize stormwater runoff and sanitary wastewater to lessen the strain on municipal resources and reduce the need to build out additional infrastructure.
Energy savings were achieved through an efficient building envelope, which can reduce the energy required to either heat or cool the building. The HVAC system (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) was also designed and selected to be highly efficient through the use of an HRV or heat recovery ventilator. This harvests heat from exhaust air and uses it to heat intake air that is then used to ventilate the interiors. This greatly reduces the amount of interior heating required within the building.
Heating within the residential suites is done through efficient hydronic baseboard heating. This provides a radiant heat that warms up a space more quickly and quietly than convection heat. A low lighting density, and use of energy efficient lighting systems offer further energy savings.
The developer retained commissioning authority in order to ensure that equipment efficiency is optimized on a system level. Ongoing monitoring and verification of energy and water uses ensure that performance remains optimal, and stays in touch with energy use per tenant. Measures taken to meet the energy and water efficiency goals of the LEED certification were provided as part of the base building scope, and managed by tenants as part of their lease agreements.
Materials and Resources
The contractor was actively engaged in the construction process to focus on controlling erosion and sedimentation. Construction waste was diverted away from landfills, to recycling or reuse whenever possible, and materials used in the building were selected in order to achieve at last 20% recycled content. The materials and finishes within the suites were selected for their durability so that the building will maintain its quality and appearance for a long time.
The rooftop of the building makes use of high SRI (solar reflective index) finishes. This represents their ability to reflect solar radiant energy away from the building achieving two desirable outcomes. Firstly, it limits the amount of energy absorbed into the building itself, which could result in uncomfortable interior spaces or require additional cooling. It also prevents the roof surface from heating up and releasing heat at night, which contributes to the heat island effect, which is when cities have higher temperatures than surrounding rural areas. This reduces the impact that the building has on the natural ecology of the area.
The building also features a comprehensive recycling program for occupants. A recycling room in the parkade allows for the separation of several different waste streams, exceeding the opportunities to recycle typically on offer. This includes organics, soft plastics, mixed containers, mixed paper, batteries, light bulbs, styrofoam, cardboard, and electronics or appliances. This greatly reduces the strain on municipal landfill services while also ensuring that useful materials are not wasted.
Indoor Environmental Quality
Low-emitting VOC (volatile organic compound) materials were selected and used throughout the development. VOCs are chemicals that contribute to a “new car smell”, and these chemicals can be harmful to human health and comfort. This was a focus not only of the shared spaces such as a the lobby, and amenity spaces, but also the residential suites. The building also employs outdoor air monitoring, increased air ventilation through the use of MERV 13 rated filters, and the use of entryway mats. The heat recovery ventilator (HRV) ensures that the indoor spaces can efficiently receive clean outdoor air.