Better buildings
October 2, 2019

Winning with wood

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 BC.

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

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