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Union Street ECOheritage project

​Restoring heritage homes to super-efficient standards

Project details 

​Location: ​662 & 666 Union Street, Vancouver
​Building type: ​7 unit, multi-family residential
​Floor space: ​587 m2 (6,322 sq. ft.)
​Lot size: ​50' x 122'
​Originally built: ​1892

Project team

Developers​: ​Dick Hellofs & Karli Gillespie
​Architect: ​Shape Architecture
​Contractor: Natural Balance Home Builders
​Foundation crew: ​Fab Form Industries
​Window supplier: Cascadia Windows

Project achievements

For owner/developers Dick Hellofs and Karli Gillespie, the decision to restore their Union Street heritage homes in Vancouver to super-efficient standards was an easy one. “Building green may take more planning and preparation, but the rewards are well worth the effort,” says Hellofs. With multiple project goals, which include achieving density, affordability and high performance while respecting the value of the heritage buildings, they knew establishing clear goals and detailed plans at the outset would be key to their success. This included assembling their team early on to ensure the right input was received and considered at the right stage.

“Assembling our team of like-minded individuals led us to the Super Efficient New Construction initiative,” states Gillespie. “We were happy to see shared goals and hope what we’ve accomplished will motivate others to build in a similar way no matter how big or small their projects may be.”

Passive design strategy helps achieve SENC goals

All seven units on the property take maximum advantage of passive solar opportunities. This includes solar hot water, air source heat pumps and insulated concrete forms. A high performance building envelope design was also used to ensure minimum air leakage through enhanced insulation and insulated fiberglass windows.

Other energy efficient features include:

  • heat recovery ventilation system
  • drain water heat recovery
  • high-efficiency tankless water heating and plumbing fixtures
  • ENERGY STAR® appliances and lighting fixtures

With funding through SENC, the developers were able to implement more sustainable strategies and building practices. “It helped us realize many of our goals and created a very livable and marketable development,” says Gillespie.

In fact, through the community and their partners, word spread that the homes were thoughtfully designed with consideration given to the neighbourhood, the environment, lifestyles and community. And although they weren’t planning to pre-sell any of the units, people found them and all units sold pre-completion.

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