Given the earthquake that happened on August 23, 2011, how appropriate that I was sent this information about a new earthquake resilient residential complex being built in the Glebe area of Ottawa. Not only is the residence aiming for LEED Platinum certification, it will also be only the second residential building in Ottawa to have the same earthquake rating as commercial buildings. It turns out that Ottawa sits on a known fault line and recently had its seismic building standards increased. In fact, Ottawa is ranked third in Canada on the earthquake list amongst urban centres.
The residence will be a 4000 square foot duplex with four units. The structure sits on a 25 x 100′ lot and perhaps most importantly, it is a steel-framed building constructed in such a way that it still allows for plenty of large windows, and open floor plans.
In order to qualify for LEED Platinum, in addition to building a tight thermal envelope, many of the materials had to consist of high recycled content. A local Ottawa building supplies company, Morin Brothers, is supplying steel with 80% recycled content, Roxul mineral wool exterior slabs which are made from waste rock from the mining industry and provide a firewall as well as insulation, and CertainTeed 84% recycled content fiberglass insulation that is also formaldehyde free.
In addition to the building envelope materials, the units will contain LED lighting, Energy Star Appliances and low flow toilets. Being located in the Glebe close to walking and biking paths, Bus routes, shops, services and schools, will help it achieve LEED Platinum certification.
While the steel framing and additional green features mean that the construction costs will come in somewhere between 20-30% higher than a traditionally built building, Rolf Baumann, CEO of RBG Group, the builder, says that during construction there will be less waste produced due to better use of building materials and fewer trips to the dump which saves on tipping fees. Once constructed, the building will have lower operating and maintenance costs and increased lifespan versus a similar building built strictly to code.
If you’re in the Ottawa area, you can see it being constructed at 101B Third Avenue.