Situated on Canada’s breathtaking West Coast, the striking Vancouver Convention Centre (VCC) offers visitors to the city brilliant views of Vancouver and its environs, the Pacific Ocean, and the Coast Mountains. The VCC West expansion, built by PCL to coincide with the arrival of athletes and spectators attending the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, is also an example of environmental stewardship in action. This second LEED Platinum Certification for VCC brought us back down memory lane.
A view of the Vancouver Convention Centre at night.
An aerial view of the six-acre living roof on the
Vancouver Convention Centre West building.
The largest living roof in Canada is home to more
than 400,000 indigenous plant and grasses.
Sustainability a Priority from Day One
When PCL partnered with VCC on the West building project, sustainable construction techniques were incorporated in the original build. The new building was striving for a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Gold rating from the United States and Canadian Green Building Councils—Gold would in itself have been a major feat, considering it would be one of the only convention facilities in North America to hold this rating.
In the end, the building surpassed the team’s original goal for the structure; when it opened in 2010, it achieved LEED Platinum certification for New Construction. The VCC has now gone on to earn v4 Platinum certification for Existing Building Operations and Maintenance in Canada.
Sustainable Aspects of the Original Build
Living green roof—The almost six-acre roof is more than double the size of what was at the time the next largest green roof in Canada, the PCL-built Canadian War Museum in Ottawa. It is also one of the largest green roofs of its kind in the world.
Rooftop storm water management/reuse system and wastewater treatment system—A wastewater treatment and reuse system connects to a rooftop storm water management and reuse system that turns “blackwater” into graywater for toilet flushing and roof-garden irrigation. To meet the new, more stringent LEED v4 certification requirements, the VCC team increased the capacity of the blackwater treatment plant by 30 percent. This will reduce potable water use by 38% annually when combined with other efficient plumbing fixtures that are in place.
Also, seawater is used for backup fire protection as well as to heat and cool the building.
Natural ventilation and lighting controls—Natural ventilation maximizes the use of fresh air, and lighting controls make the most of daylight. Both features reduce energy costs. The building’s recent switch to LED lighting is further improving overall energy efficiency.
Marine habitat apron—Concern for the preservation of local habitat has been a concern from the beginning. A perimeter habitat skirt was built to ensure the project did not have a large impact on marine life in the area. This 1,300-foot-long structure resembles a seating area jutting out into the sea. Design, environmental, and marine biology experts contributed to determining how this unique structure would function.
“PCL extends its heartfelt compliments to the Vancouver Convention Centre on this unprecedented LEED achievement,” said Mike Wieninger, chief operating officer for Canadian Operations, PCL Constructors Inc. “In working toward and receiving this second certification, the VCC team has demonstrated an enduring commitment to green building that helps set a new bar for our industry.”
Set against a stunning mountain backdrop and extending into the glistening sea, the VCC is not only an attractive and valued addition to Vancouver’s downtown landscape but, with double LEED Platinum certification from the US and Canada Green Building Councils, a marvel of sustainability as well.