Low energy use billed as key to keep East Vancouver rental project affordable and profitable

    1 of 1 2 of 1

      The developer of a proposed East Vancouver rental building wants to achieve two things throughout the life of its project.

      One is affordability. The second is profitability.

      It is, after all, what the City of Vancouver considers to be a “for-profit affordable rental”, with three-bedroom units going for no less than $3,300 a month.

      According to the development permit application for 3435 East Hastings Street, the key to affordability and profitability is low operating costs.

      “We are focusing our efforts on low operating energy consumption and low maintenance,” states the design rationale paper prepared by Cornerstone Architecture for the owner, Steiner Properties Ltd.

      Cornerstone stated that this approach will “keep the project affordable and profitable throughout its life”.

      “We are proposing to use the Passive House standards to set targets for and analyze the energy use of the building,” the architectural firm noted.

      Called The Narrows, the project is a six-storey building with commercial spaces on the ground floor and 48 market rental units above.

      Passive House is a design and construction standard that results in 90 percent less heating and cooling energy consumption compared to conventional buildings.

      Heating and cooling needs in buildings done to passive house standard are minimized through measures that include superior insulation and high-quality windows.

      Passive house buildings are also known for comfort and good air quality.

      According to Cornerstone’s design rationale, the development “presents opportunities for life cycle decisions that are difficult to achieve when the developer is not involved in a project once it is constructed”.

      “In this case all common area operating cost savings pay directly to the bottom line of the operator,” Cornerstone stated.

      The passive house features of the project include heat recovery ventilators that will “continuously supply fresh air to living and sleeping areas and continuously exhaust bathroom and kitchen areas”.

      “South facing suites will be fitted with exterior automated blinds, which can be overridden by occupants to prevent overheating,” the design rationale explained.

      The project will also use “heat pumps for domestic hot water”.

      In January 2019, Vancouver city council approved the application to rezone 3435 East Hastings for a rental project.

      The rezoning conditions include securing a development permit.

      Based on a staff report regarding the rezoning application, rents at the project start at $1,496 for a studio unit; $1,730, one bedroom; $2,505, two bedrooms; and $3,365, three bedrooms.

      Per city regulations, the rents become effective on the day of the public hearing.

      The developer can raise rents based on annual increases allowed by the provincial government until the project is built and ready for occupancy.