Targeting a carbon-neutral and net-zero design, this mass timber multi-family project innovatively combines two structural systems. The result is a flexible configuration that offers open and spacious column-free interiors.
- Eco-friendly project targeting net-zero energy and carbon-neutral design.
- Features mass timber post, beam, and panel systems—comprised of cross-laminated timber (CLT) and dowel laminated timber (DLT)—maximizing interior design flexibility.
- Prefabricated structural/façade mass timber panels eliminate the need for columns in small spaces such as bedrooms and could become widely adopted for mid-rise typologies.
Net-zero energy and carbon-neutral mass timber apartment building
Located in the Ambleside neighbourhood of West Vancouver, at Bellevue and 22nd, this 8-storey, 7-unit, mass timber residential building is designed to store more carbon than required for its construction—thanks in part to the carbon storage advantages of wood. To be built to passive house standards, the project will benefit from the thermal benefits of prefabricated mass timber systems. With a precise, air-tight fit, the project aims to meet net-zero energy targets. Solar panels on the rooftop will generate electricity, along with a high-efficiency HVAC system. A rainwater capture system will store water for on-site irrigation.
Demonstrating the benefits and flexibility of mass timber construction
The project combines mass timber post, beam, and panel systems—comprised of cross-laminated timber (CLT) and dowel-laminated timber (DLT)— to maximize interior design flexibility. At one unit per floor, the project does not require demising walls. A system of structural bearing walls will form the perimeter of the building. This eliminates having columns in small spaces like bedrooms and allows more flexibility within the interior layout of the floorplan.
Large south-facing decks provide an opportunity to test prefabricated, mass timber balconies with a thermal break. Where possible, the design will leave mass timber exposed adding warmth and texture to living spaces.
As a demonstration project, the design team will evaluate different detailing and construction methods to ensure that the wood is protected, and the building is enclosed quickly. Using the façade panels as structural elements will require careful project sequencing. The details of this study will benefit the broader development community for mid-rise mass timber applications.
A tale of two systems: leveraging advantages of different mass timber assemblies
Merging two systems—one- and two-way spanning mass timber assemblies—meets the unique design criteria for different sides of the building. A one-way spanning system of post, beams, and panels will be used on the south side of the building allowing for larger spans in the open concept living, dining, and kitchen space. A two-way spanning post and panel system will be used on the north side of the building where bedrooms, bathrooms, and utility spaces are located. The smaller spaces on the north side of the building do not require large spans and will benefit from the elimination of beams and the discrete integration of mechanical services.
Putting timber to the test and sharing knowledge with the wider industry
The project anticipates testing several items to help broaden industry knowledge of mass timber systems. Lessons learned will be shared with BC’s building professionals. This includes tabulating embodied carbon and life cycle assessment data.
This project is supported through Stronger BC, British Columbia’s Economic Recovery Plan. The Mass Timber Demonstration Program (MTDP) provides funding for incremental costs in the design and construction of buildings that showcase emerging or new mass timber and mass timber hybrid building systems and construction processes. The program supports jobs and employment recovery in the design, engineering, construction, and product manufacturing sector. BC industry will benefit from lessons learned, results, and research findings that can help support future mass timber projects in the province. Learn more at masstimber.bc.ca.