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Passive Design in a Dynamic Market

By Stella Psaradellis, Proposal Specialist at Pomerleau

IN JUNE 2020, the University of Toronto awarded Pomerleau the design-bridgebuild contract for its new student residence at the University’s Scarborough campus. This unique project is set to be one of the most eco-efficient in Canada as it will be built to Passive House standards. It will feature some of the most lowenergy design standards including high-efficiency insulation and windows as well as building systems that will drastically reduce energy consumption compared to conventional buildings.

This major new construction project consists of a nine-storey, 746-bed residence for the University and covers approximately 265,000 sq. ft. The new residence includes both single and double bedrooms, a cafeteria, kitchen, and several mixed-use spaces. A rooftop garden and terrace are also planned.

Pomerleau’s design team, consisting of IBI Group, MCW Group of Companies, RDH Building Science and EXP, will take part in the
design-bridge-build process to help achieve the sustainable architectural design and energy efficiency standards required for certification.

Large buildings carry several risks with respect to achieving Passive House certification, especially those with high energy consumption processes that do not fit standard targets. The building design will need to be reviewed and specific Passive House details understood before being successfully incorporated into the construction documents and methods.

In addition, the large number of required designers and trades presents a further challenge of education and design co-ordination with respect to Passive House design requirements. To mitigate these risks, several attenuation measures will be put in place, including training for all design and construction team members led by RDH (our Passive House consultant), monitoring throughout the construction phase, and testing the building mechanical and electrical components, among many others.

Furthermore, Pomerleau will apply a range of innovative technologies on-site to bolster our engagement with sustainability on this project. By using Building Information Modeling (BIM) and by coordinating upstream, potential waste will be reduced by avoiding rework. Spot – our Boston Dynamics robot – will also monitor site progress and Health and Safety. Construction will begin at the end of this summer with completion scheduled for the start of the fall semester in 2023.

Despite the many risks and challenges at hand, our team is dedicated to the project’s successful completion. Echoed by the increasing number of requirements for sustainable projects from clients, Pomerleau is focused on building innovative and energy efficient buildings that meet the needs of a rapidly changing market. Demonstrating our expertise and unparalleled capacity to deliver projects to completion in our qualifications and proposals is therefore key to continue winning these major projects and helping drive Pomerleau’s transition towards sustainability.