How wood is boosting affordability, value, and innovation
Project manager Paul Warwick is proud of King Edward Villa, a seventy-seven-unit rental project achieving LEED Platinum status in East Vancouver that Performance Construction built—it’s six storeys high and was built entirely using prefabricated wood-frame construction. It was a pioneering project, launched not long after city building code amendments increased the allowable height of wood-frame residential construction to six storeys. Prior to the 2009 change, only four-storey wood-frame buildings were allowed in B.C.
More multi-family developers are discovering that the innovative use of wood and mass-timber construction doesn’t just save money, it can be an advantage that sets you apart in a sea of condos that begin to all look the same. Increasingly, both buyers and renters are placing importance on organic materials, sustainability, and warm, inviting interiors—all areas where wood construction excels. Wood can offer performance and thermal benefits, adding to energy efficiency and occupant comfort, while at the same time offering aesthetic warmth and a visual selling feature.
In the case of King Edward Villa, Warwick and his team introduced double-insulated prefabricated walls and floor trusses to the project. Those techniques boosted energy efficiency significantly and helped the project achieve LEED Platinum certification, all the while keeping costs down.
We made the case to the owner that if we built a more efficient building with a really efficient envelope, they would have very low operating costs, because a person renting out almost eighty apartments is definitely looking to cut back as much as they can on their energy use,” says Warwick. “We now have a year and a half of performance data, and the numbers are really good. A small, six-hundred-square-foot apartment costs less than one hundred dollars a year to heat. So it’s very impressive.” His clients are increasing looking for sustainability and energy efficiency. “These buildings use about 50 to 60 percent less energy than is mandated currently by energy codes.
Paul Warwick, Project Manager, Performance Construction
Four case studies and architectural drawings that provide solutions to common issues in mass-timber building design are now available.
Advancements in construction technology, modernized building codes, and a demand for sustainable design are making wood the right choice for a variety of residential and hotel projects. Wood products from B.C.’s sustainably managed forests are also helping to meet the growing demand for affordable housing; wood is well-suited for economical and timely construction — notably in hard to reach places, including downtown sites and remote locations.
More multi-family developers are discovering that the innovative use of wood and mass-timber construction doesn’t just save money, it can be an advantage that sets you apart in a sea of condos that begin to all look the same. Increasingly, both buyers and renters are placing importance on organic materials, sustainability, and warm, inviting interiors—all areas where wood construction excels.
The Shore is a multi-building residential development located a few blocks from the North Vancouver waterfront. The project includes both five and six-storey wood-frame buildings constructed over a single storey concrete parking garage. On completion of the fourth building in 2017, the complex will include 359 apartment units.
Leadership in structural and architectural wood use by local governments was recognized at the Union of BC Municipalities Convention in Vancouver.
People spend the vast majority of their life inside buildings. For children and young adults, many of those hours are spent inside educational institutions. Having wood visible in learning spaces has been shown to lower stress and improve concentration and test performance. Along with health and wellness benefits, wood construction is cost effective and often faster than other methods. Learn more about the benefits of building with wood in schools.