Rehabilitated heritage buildings

Here are some examples of projects where older buildings in British Columbia were rehabilitated. These sensitive repairs, alterations and/or additions to historic places are an important part of cultural sustainability and lowering the environmental impact of new construction.

Mountain Equipment Co-op, Victoria

Victoria's Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) is located in the Vogue Building, a designated historic place built in 1892. The building is a timber post-and-beam structure with a concrete floor. It provides natural light and features beautiful architectural detailing, creating a distinctive retail space.
The 15,000 square foot renovation project was developed with LEED compliance in mind. Without compromising its character-defining features, MEC was able to upgrade the building to reduce energy consumption by 36 percent, lowering operating costs and minimizing environmental impact. Their average annual energy savings is estimated at $15,000 - 20,000.

Cornerstone Building, Fernwood and Gladstone, Victoria

The Cornerstone building is a two-story, 1909 brick heritage building that has been rehabilitated by the Fernwood Neighbourhood Resource Group. The original plate glass windows and doors are retained on the ground level to retain the heritage character of the building. Here are some of the unique features of this project.
  • Low-cost housing on the upper floors
  • Commercial space on the main floor 
  • Geothermal units to supply heat for the building 
  • Water-conserving fixtures 
  • Recycling and composting plan for residents 
The Hallmark Society awarded the project the President's Award 2007.

222 Vancouver Street, Victoria

Built in 1913, 222 Vancouver Street is a wood-frame house that has undergone seismic and energy efficiency upgrades featuring:
  • Top end, high-efficiency mechanical systems including a geoexchange heat pump, solar heated domestic hot water and a heat recovery ventilator 
  • Soy based spray insulation has been employed in order to add high thermal value to the narrow wall cavities (this type of insulation has the added benefit of improving the rigidity of the house) 
  • Improved air tightness through weather stripping and caulking

The Palladian, Victoria

Originally constructed in 1912 as the First Baptist Church and then converted into Nelson's Music, these Victoria condominiums have preserved many of their character-defining elements while being sustainable. The Palladian features:
  • Original brick walls 
  • Heritage chandeliers and Edwardian lighting fixtures 
  • Original heritage windows with shatter-proof laminate insert 
  • Revealed original beams and roof in loft units
  • Skylights in some units 
  • Benjamin Moore Heritage paint colour 
  • 100% natural wool carpet 
  • Heated marble/granite floors in bathrooms 
  • Dual-flush toilets 
The adaptive reuse of this heritage building increases urban densification and reduces urban sprawl. It is located near downtown Victoria, along a bus route. It also features bike storage to encourage alternative transportation.

These luxury heritage condominiums received the 2008 Hallmark Society's President's Award for Heritage Conversion. They are a great example of how an older building can be retrofitted into a unique and comfortable living environment.

“The Five”, East 27th Avenue, Vancouver

These five homes are located on a single 50-foot lot. They were built in 1912 and are listed on the Vancouver Heritage Register. They were rundown and on the verge of demolition until they were rehabilitated. The new heating system alone is anticipated to reduce green house gas emissions by 12 tonnes per home per year.
  • On-demand in-floor heating system (EnerGuide 82 rated) 
  • Tankless hot water system 
  • Energy Star appliances 
  • Dual-flush toilets 
  • Low-VOC paints 
  • Formaldehyde-free carpet, flooring and cabinetry 
  • Extensive use of sustainably harvested wood 

Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, UBC, Vancouver

Commonly known as the Main Library, The Irving K. Barber Learning Centre at the University of British Columbia has been rehabilitated. The heritage core of the library was preserved, and the new portion of the building features a green system for air conditioning. Here are some of environmentally friendly features of the building:
  • Radiant in-slab heating and cooling system 
  • High performance triple glazing 
  • Displacement ventilation 
  • Selected 'healthier' low emitting (or VOC-free) materials for improved indoor environment quality 
  • Demolition materials collected, sorted and either recycled or reused in the building. 
  • Refinished and reused heritage core doors, casework and other woodwork
  • Recycled library shelving
  • Materials sourced in close proximity to the project helping to reduce the energy required for materials transport