Case Study 2: Gulf Islands Operation Centre, Sidney, B.C.
Type: Office

Location: Sidney, B.C.
Client: Parks Canada, Public Works and Government Services Canada .

Approximate gross area: 1070m2
Number of floors above ground: 2
Population: 35
Year of completion: 2007

Architect: Larry McFarland Architects Ltd.
Energy analysis: EnerSys Analytics Inc.
Mechanical Engineer: Stantec Consulting Inc.
Contractor: Ledcor Special Projects

Embodied energy analysis: Morrison Hershfield Ltd.

General Description
Located on the waterfront in Sidney, BC, this three-storey building serves as the headquarters for the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, established in 2003, and includes facilities for marina operations, administrative staff, and an interpretive centre.

Project Highlights  

  • First project in Canada to be awarded LEED Platinum.
  • Heavy timber structure.
  • Open atrium design allows for extensive natural lighting and ventilation.

The project utilizes only off-the-shelf products, proven technology and local design and construction resources, resulting in a building that interacts intimately with the site upon which it is built.
While demonstrating how it is possible to drastically reduce the consumption of energy and water, it provides an exceptional indoor environment and was constructed using a significant amount of local and recycled materials. The sustainable systems are fully integrated with the architectural expression of the building.
The SBTool results    (from 0 to 5)
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Results - 3.3

Absolute Performance Results

Minimize impact of project construction

  • Preserve neighborhood character
  • Protect and enhance existing ecosystems

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Sustainable Design Principles

  • Respect for the site for the site:
    • Minimize impact of project construction
    • Preserve neighborhood character
    • Protect and enhance existing ecosystems
  • Use of Site Systems:
    • Incorporate the natural operating systems occurring at the site:
      • Water
      • Light
      • Air
      • Heat
  • Architectural Integrations:
    • Integrate sustainable components into the architectural expression of the building.

Sustainable Site Design Strategies

  • Utilize heat from the ocean
  • Protect existing native trees, remove invasion species
  • Remove contaminated soils
  • Take advantage of sea & land breezes
  • Use sun for day lighting& to generate electricity
  • Preserve existing character house and protect existing ornamental garden
  • Protect marine environment
  • Harvest rainwater for non-potable applications

Energy Efficiency Strategies

  • Ocean based geothermal system coupled with in-floor radiant heating
  • Exhaust air heat recovery
  • Photovoltaic system provides 20% of the building’s energy requirements
  • The exterior wall assembly has been engineered to optimize thermal performance and durability
  • Lighting density is 9.3 w/m2
  • Exterior sunshades control direct solar radiation
  • Open atrium promotes natural ventilation
  • Ventilation system consists of 100% outside air system with high induction diffusers
  • Occupancy demand ventilation control including carbon dioxide sensors

Building Envelope Design

  • Each façade designed in response to its orientation: sunshades provided on the South and East facades for passive shading.Continuous glazing on the North façade takes advantage of the expansive views
  • Exterior sunshades limit amount of direct sun into the building and help prevent heat gain in summer
  • The exterior wall assembly engineered to minimize air leakage and heat losses
  • Materials selected to resist the marine environment
  • Assemblies designed to be easily maintained and replaced

Interior Environmental Quality

  • Design of building encourages natural ventilation
  • Daylight is the primary means of illumination during daytime hours
  • Building designed to place all work spaces adjacent to opening windows
  • Workstations & offices furnished with lighting, temperature and air controls
  • Minimal finishes and materials used in the interior of the building
  • Finishes, materials and furniture selected on basis of low VOC emission levels
  • Green housekeeping products and procedures implemented
  • Ventilation system supply air delivers 100% outdoor air

Environmental Rating

  • 75.5% Energy Reduction over MNECB Reference Building (> 12 LEED points)
  • Green House Gas Reduction = 32.3 tonnes/year
  • 60% Potable Water Reduction
  • 98% Reduction of potable water use for sanitary waste conveyance
  • Renewable Energy photovoltaic panels provide 20% of the building’s energy requirements
  • The building has been designed to be suitable for current climate conditions with no mechanical cooling implemented at present
  • The ocean loop/heat pump system has been designed to be capable of providing cooling to the radiant floor system if necessary
  • Project incorporates only off-the shelf products, proven technology and local design& construction resources. No emerging or prototypical technologies used.
  • More information about the building on websites of:
    Larry McFarland Architects Ltd
    Canadian Architect