Posted: Feb 2, 2010, 8:10 PM
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Bankview, Calgary
South end to get green apartments
Southwest Properties plans 113-unit LEED-certified complex
By CHRIS LAMBIE Business Editor
Tue. Feb 2 - 4:53 AM
A green apartment complex is in the works for south-end Halifax.
The 113-unit, six-storey LEED-certified project destined for South Bland Street will cost about $15 million to build, said Jim Spatz, the chief executive officer of Southwest Properties Ltd.
It will sit alongside the Terraces, another company building created in the late 1980s.
"That’s a very exciting project for us," Mr. Spatz said in a recent interview. "We will be finished our plans in a little under two months and we hope to get a shovel in the ground in 2010."
Southwest Properties hopes to have the building ready for tenants by the spring or early summer of 2012.
The company is hoping it will be the first LEED-certified apartment building in Atlantic Canada.
The acronym stands for leadership in energy and environmental design, a widely used North American standard.
"We’re learning a lot and having a lot of fun with it," Mr. Spatz said.
The project’s carbon footprint will be somewhere between 30 and 40 per cent less than a typical building, he said.
"I think that will attract a lot of customers who will like to live in an environmentally responsible building."
The loft-like building will have more open space than most typical apartments, and lots of windows, Mr. Spatz said.
The building will have in-floor radiant heating, coupled with "a gas-fired heating system that gets up to about 97 per cent efficiency," he said.
"We’ve got solar panels on the roof for domestic hot water. And we’ll have the typical water conservation stuff like dual-flush toilets and low-flow showers. But we’ll actually have water metering in the units so that if somebody uses less hot and cold water, they’ll pay a little less rent."
A little over 60 per cent of the apartments will be two-bedroom units, with the balance having one bedroom.
The rent will be "mid-market for apartments in the south end," Mr. Spatz said.
"The largest part of the market will be 30ish-year-old people who work downtown. The design’s going to be fabulous."
The building won’t have a grass roof. But there will be an enclosed exercise facility on the top with a large roof deck "for the nice days," Mr. Spatz said.
"The interesting thing about building a green building is that much of the stuff that you do is quite economically feasible today. It’s not some pie-in-the-sky kind of thing."
The project will cost between three and five per cent more than it would to put up a conventional apartment building, he said.
"But we’ll get a good return on that three to five per cent that we’ve put in, so it just makes sense."
Windows of the building will allow a maximum amount of daylight into the project, said Richard Kassner of Kassner/Goodspeed Architects Ltd.
"Some of the appliances are a little bit more progressive than you’re seeing in your average apartment or condominium — condensing dryers, ductless dryers, things like that that are more efficient energy-wise and, in the long run, are much more cost-effective than the standard approach," Mr. Kassner said.
The design calls for systems that will delay flood water from hitting the storm-sewer pipes, he said.
The building will have solar chimneys in the mechanical penthouse to preheat air entering the ventilation system, Mr. Kassner said.
He explored the possibility of using geothermal heating for the project.
"It was about a 40-year payback, which didn’t make any sense. The problem being that the bigger the building, the more concentrated the footprint, the harder it is to get enough energy on the site."
He has made allowances in the design to put a photovoltaic array on the roof if the price comes down.
"We can see, at the speed PV is moving, that within another five to 10 years, it will be a very cost-effective way of producing energy."
The new building will look like something it never was.
"The general image we’re trying to achieve is a converted warehouse," Mr. Kassner said.