Originally built 90 years ago as the historic Hudson’s Bay Company, this building was purchased and rehabilitated by the Townline Group in 2005. Located on Douglas Street in bustling downtown Victoria, this once grand department store has now been converted into 152 modern flats, double-height lofts, and penthouses. As part of their mandate for down-to earth solutions for sustainability, Townline contemplated every detail: non-toxic paints, energy-efficient window systems, Energy Star® certified appliances, low-flow faucets and toilets, and geoexchange heating and cooling.
Something old, something new
Knowing this building would be a historic legacy to the city of Victoria, Townline wanted to implement the best system for building innovative, sustainable energy systems in order to create something special for the strata and its residents.
This was easier said than done. Rehabilitating such an old building to accommodate a cutting-edge energy solution was a daunting task, but one the team at Townline Group knew was critical. They made a commitment to improve energy efficiency from the very start of the building’s development, and wanted to make good on that promise, no matter how difficult it could prove to be.
The Townline Group also wanted to be able to leverage the energy solution they implemented as a selling feature, as well as gain the ability to scale the energy system to meet the needs of future phases of the development. Right out of the gate, they liked the idea of geoexchange energy — but they had concerns over the potential cost and the building’s physical capacity to accommodate the system.
A combined effort
FortisBC engaged Townline Group during the planning phase of the development and suggested a geoexchange heating and cooling system for The Hudson. Providing Townline with a detailed analysis of this approach, FortisBC proactively brought in its experts to work closely with Townline’s engineers and develop a solution to address their concerns about price and feasibility.
Together, they were able to define a plan which aligned with their vision for an energy efficient solution and one that fit within Townline’s budget. By listening closely to Townline’s concerns, FortisBC and the project team were able to address the many unique nuances of the project, including finding a way to enter the existing shell of the structure to drill the large wells required for the geoexchange system, without compromising the integrity of this beautiful heritage building.
Here’s how it works
A geoexchange system consists of three main components: the ground loop heat exchanger, the heat pump and the distribution system. According to FortisBC’s director of business development for alternative energy services, Gareth Jones, a geoexchange system typically uses only a third to a quarter of the natural gas or electricity required by conventional heating and cooling systems.
Because in-suite heating units have few moving parts such as fans, geoexchange is quieter than conventional home heating and cooling systems, and requires little maintenance.
Producing scalable results
Not only can the Townline Group feel good about having a stake in one of the first condominium complexes in Victoria to have geoexchange as its primary energy source, but they can also rest easy knowing that the energy system was delivered on time, with a continuous and clear commitment to project goals.
According to mechanical engineer Rob Walter of AME Consulting, geoexchange heat, when compared to electric heat, can significantly reduce end users’ energy consumption. As a result, both the residents and developer know they are doing the right thing for the environment. With the geoexchange system, The Hudson’s carbon footprint is reduced by up to 55 per cent annually, compared to a traditional system. What’s more, the energy system was structured to be scalable to future phases of the development, so more people will be able to take advantage of the benefits of this innovative energy system.
In the end, FortisBC aligned its integrity, commitment and values with Townline’s philosophy on the environment and sustainability to make the project a success.
The FortisBC advantage
What if you could build a state-of-the-art energy system into your next development—without having to carry the cost and the risk? With FortisBC, you can. We used to be Terasen Gas, “the gas company.” Now, as FortisBC, we’re “the district energy system, geoexchange, combined heat and power, electrical generation/ distribution, biomass, biogas and natural gas company.”
We don’t just design the energy component, we cover up to 100 per cent of the development cost. When you work with FortisBC, we have a stake in the outcome.
And you have more in your budget for the features and capabilities your customers want.
You benefit from industry leaders and energy experts with practical, real-world experience. As well as sharing the load, we help you shape your energy strategy, with knowledge that could help you meet the new provincial greenhouse gas emissions targets and take advantage of available government incentives.
Interested in learning more?