“Founded in the 1970s, Mountain Equipment Co-op has a long history of promoting active outdoor lifestyles and environmental awareness. As a natural extension of these values, MEC embarked on creating a green building for its head office that would reflect its unique corporate culture.”
Sharp & Diamond has completed multiple projects with MEC, having designed their Surrey Distribution Centre and the award winning Brooksbank Retail Store in North Vancouver. Sustainable Architecture & Building Magazine just awarded the recently completed Head Office, a Canadian Green Building Award ranking it ‘among the most exemplary of sustainably designed buildings in Canada.’
Jury Comment: ‘A very high-performance building that does justice to its client’s corporate philosophy and aspirations. It includes some wonderful collaborative and social spaces. The project has been tailored to its inhabitants, offering up environmental features as a way to enhance their day-to-day working life. The green roof is not there just to gain credit, but is a habitable program space for the enjoyment of employees.’
This high efficiency building and landscape performance was achieved largely through passive design, including a high performance envelope, geothermal wells and pumps for heating and cooling, a wind tower system, as well as dimming controls, occupancy sensors, and lighting schedules. A vertical atrium designed to connect spaces and stimulate collaboration, teamwork, and a high level of efficiency also acts as a ventilation system through the building.
Water collection is an integral component of the project’s efficiency. Rainwater is captured in an underground cistern, and is re-used for flushing toilets and irrigating both the green roof and ground-level landscapes. Sharp and Diamond populated the landscape with native plant species to further reduce the need for irrigation. These grasses, wildflowers, and hedges are not only low-maintenance, but also provide habitat and food for wildlife. These plants and swales filter stormwater runoff to reduce the excess amount of water that would otherwise be directed into the municipal system. Trees along the boulevards are the final water filters: they have a high canopy that provides shade for pedestrians and soaks up additional ground moisture.
With access to panoramic views of the city and mountains, Sharp and Diamond designed the green roof to be an accessible and habitable outdoor social space for the enjoyment of all MEC employees, further emphasizing the design philosophy that places the health and happiness of occupants at the forefront.
– Energy intensity [building and process energy] = 297.5 MJ/m2/year
– Energy intensity reduction relative to reference building under MNECB = 68%
– Potable water consumption from municipal sources = 2,441 L/occupant/year
– Potable water consumption reduction relative to reference building = 60%
– Recycled material [by value] = 19.7%
– Regional materials [800km radius] by value = 33.5% of LEED materials divisions
– Construction materials diverted from landfill = 94%