Brian Barth

The First Building in Canada to Rise to the Living Building Challenge (Is for Kids)

by , 07/11/14



UniverCity Childcare Center, British Columbia, Living Building Challenge, self-sufficient building, net zero energy, Hughes Condon Marler Architects, passive solar, biophilia

Located at the Simon Fraser University Campus on Burnaby Mountain just 25 minutes from downtown Vancouver, the UniverCity Childcare Center is on track for Living Building Challenge certification (LBC) – the world’s most stringent rating system for sustainable design. Unlike LEED certification, the LBC requires 12 months of monitoring to make sure it performs as it was designed before awarding certification. So far, only 18 buildings have been certified worldwide and this will be the first in Canada.

Related: The Living Building Challenge is Once Again a Buckminster Fuller Challenge Finalist

The 5,700-square-foot center designed by Hughes Condon Marler Architects provides space for 50 pre-schoolers from the surrounding community of 3,400 that call the UniverCity home. Heating and cooling is accomplished via passive solar design, along with geothermal tubes and radiant floor heating. Energy comes from the existing alternative energy grid of the campus, which is powered by scrap construction lumber. Water is supplied by roofwater catchment cisterns and heated by solar collectors. Both ‘black’ and ‘grey’ water are treated and recycled on-site.

Related: Vancouver Becomes First City to Pave Its Streets With Recycled Plastic
UniverCity Childcare Center, British Columbia, Living Building Challenge, self-sufficient building, net zero energy, Hughes Condon Marler Architects, passive solar, biophilia

The architects worked exhaustively to source materials that were not on LBC’s ‘red list’, the infamous list of chemicals — like CFCs, PVCs, halogenated flame retardants, phthalates, petrochemical fertilizers and pesticides, pentachlorophenol, for example — that are completely verboten. Many of these are found in common building materials, including typical ‘green’ building materials, making this the most daunting aspect of the entire process — especially since the materials are also supposed to be sourced from within the bio-region.

In addition to the usual green suspects of energy, water, waste and eco-friendly materials, the LBC takes the notion of sustainability to a whole new level. The LBC system also tracks things like health, equity, beauty and biophilia, the innate potential of humans to connect with nature. This is where the kids come into the picture. Their biophilia is completely engaged by the design, from the sandbox to the living branch structures in the courtyard where they run and play.

+ Hughes Condon Marler Architects

Related Posts

LEAVE A COMMENT

or your inhabitat account below

Let's make sure you're a real person:


  • Read Inhabitat

  • Search Categories

  • Recent Posts

  • Recent Comments

  • Browse by Keyword

get the free Inhabitat newsletter

Submit this form
popular today
all time
most commented
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
Federated Media Publishing - Home