The Greater Victoria Housing Society (GVHS) has unveiled plans for Canada's first "Passivhaus" seniors residence as it looks to expand and modernize its Townley Lodge affordable housing complex.
The non-profit society is seeking approvals from Saanich to replace an aging low-income seniors home at 1780 Townley Street. The largest of the proposal's four buildings will be constructed in accordance with standards developed by the global authority on ultra-efficient construction techniques, Germany's Passivhaus Institut (also referred to as Passivehouse Institute).
Dubbed Townley Place, GVHS envisions a replacement of the site's existing 39 suites with an adaptable 51-unit, four-storey low-income apartment building for seniors and persons with disabilities. Utilizing Passivhaus standards the society expects to realize a considerable operating and maintenance cost savings, according to project consultant Miko Betanzo, project manager and planner at Victoria-based Cityspaces Consulting.
"For non-profits in particular, efficiency and low operating costs are a big deal. With the Passivhaus standards we'll be able to achieve an 85% maintenance and operating cost savings compared to traditional construction techniques while budgeting for a construction premium of only 15%," Betanzo said, adding that residents will also benefit from lower utility bills as a result of efficiencies.
Planned alongside the seniors residence are three rows of townhomes, totalling 16-units, that GVHS will target at low-to-moderate income families. Those units, says Betanzo, will be constructed to an alternate energy efficient standard more viable for the smaller buildings.
"The townhomes will be built to a LEED® Gold Standard which requires a lower cost premium than Passivhaus but which also yields operating and maintenance cost savings."
Parking at the complex will be in the form of an underground parkade that will also accommodate a car-share, bicycles and scooters.
Construction is expected to get underway by late 2017 provided approvals are secured by the end of 2016. Although construction will first start on the seniors residence, the townhomes may be phased or rise in tandem with the apartment.
Existing Townley Lodge tenants will receive financial and other assistance from GVHS as part of a relocation effort planned for next year. The society will attempt to locate as many residents as possible within its housing network and provide assistance to those who move to alternate housing. Upon project completion by early-to-mid 2019, former Townley Lodge residents will have the option of returning to the newly-built Townley Place. C
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