Valley Waste Head Office

This project leads the way in demonstrating super-insulation, high efficiency mechanical and lighting systems, low water consumption, and highlights salvaged and recycled materials. Not only is it a candidate for LEED(R) Silver certification under the Canada Green Building Council, it is poised to be the most energy efficient office building in Canada, and potentially the first commercial building in Canada to be certified under the world-leading “Passive House” energy standard. The vision of the VWRM has had a profound influence on the development of the design, which will benefit the Valley community for years to come.

The VWRM Offices is the first project in which Solterre Design has been able to combine our unmatched commercial LEED consulting experience and our green architecture practice into a truly integrated design team. Combined with a visionary client, the result is a project that substantially raises the bar for environmentally sensitive and energy efficient architecture in the Atlantic Region.

Solterre is very excited by this project that was completed in June 2012. Valley Waste Resource Management Authority, a leader in the Atlantic Provinces promoting sustainable waste management, came to Solterre to design a building that reflected their commitment to reduction, reuse, and recycling, especially in the construction waste field.

Through an extensive integrated design process with all the users of the building, three green building priorities were established:

Occupant Health and Well being by implementing the most stringent LEED IAQ (indoor air quality) requirements, maximizing daylight and views for all occupants, providing operable windows and optimal climate control and fresh air ventilation. This building will provide a high quality environment for the VWRM team.

Progressive Material and Resource Management through the use of recycled and salvaged materials where possible, optimizing construction waste tracking and diversion from landfill. The main offices will feature salvaged interior finishes from dismantled buildings as well as the first use of recycled glass aggregate in a polished concrete floor in Nova Scotia.

Building Energy Efficiency will be achieved by supplementing the broad environmental checklist of the LEED program with the stringent German Passive House standard, the worlds leading building energy certification. A super insulated building envelope, and high efficiency mechanical and lighting design means this building will use 70-90% less energy than a conventionally constructed building while increasing occupant comfort. This will make the VWRM Office the first certified commercial Passive House in Canada. By designing a building that uses so little energy Solterre has not only protected VWRM against high future energy costs but has also provided a platform on which the addition of the wind turbine, currently under review, could make the building carbon negative within a reasonable payback period.

Design Team

  • Architectural: Solterre Design Keith Robertson, David Gallaugher, Jennifer Corson, Mark Pennel, Jordan Willett, Matt Parks
  • LEED Consultant: Solterre Design, Keith Robertson, Jordan Willett, Ian Anning
  • Landscape: Outside! Planning and Design Studio Sue Sirrs
  • Energy consultant: Passive House E Design Natalie Leonard
  • Mechanical: CBCL Tom Watson
  • Electrical: CBCL Tim McLeod
  • Civil/Structural: Sherwood Enterprises Lawrence White