500 MacNab St N
The Energy team at Green Venture had the pleasure of touring the beautifully retrofitted 500 MacNab (also known as the Ken Soble Tower), in Hamilton earlier this month. From concept to reality, retrofitting an 18-storey apartment building constructed in 1967 is no easy feat. Contracted by CityHousing Hamilton, PCL Construction and ERA Architects worked together to bring this project to life for affordable seniors living.
- 94% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions
- 91% reduction in heating energy demand
- Peak energy demands (for heating and cooling) per unit is equivalent to the energy needed to power three incandescent light bulbs
- HVAC (heat pumps), window (triple glazed fiberglass and shades), cladding (airtightness and no thermal bridging), ventilation and modernization upgrades were the major contributors to these reductions
- World’s largest multi-unit residential building to achieve EnerPHit certification
- Primarily a tower renewal, with 8% additional cost beyond what is typical to achieve high performance for similar buildings
While achieving these kinds of reductions may not be feasible for some of our current infrastructure, it is important to incorporate Passive House principles wherever possible to meet Hamilton’s climate goals. Retrofits including high efficiency windows, building envelope air tightness and heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system replacements will significantly reduce energy consumption year after year.
By following deep energy retrofit measures and Passive House models, the 500 MacNab pilot project has shown Hamilton and other municipalities what similar infrastructure is currently capable of achieving. We believe this is the beginning of a monumental change in infrastructure but more importantly, for our community to have more comfortable, healthy and accessible living spaces. Furthermore, developers and investors should understand that retrofitting is typically less expensive than redevelopment. We believe 500 MacNab can serve as a blueprint and global example of how modern technology can be successfully applied to existing buildings.
Looking at the emission targets for 2050, it is clear that we need more complementary programs that enhance the impact of existing initiatives for home energy retrofits. Homeowners need to begin tackling both building envelope and HVAC oriented improvements. Giving homeowners more incentives is necessary for us to reach this goal.
We challenge all homeowners to prioritize their goals when it comes to home energy use. Whether you are hoping to help the environment, reduce your monthly energy and insurance costs, support our local economy, make your home more comfortable, or raise your property value, homeowners benefit from staying informed and talking more about these issues to encourage more funding opportunities for deeper home improvements across our cities.
Passive House, 500 MacNab and Greener Homes Loan Resources:
Canada Greener Homes Loan (nrcan.gc.ca)
Properties and Development | City of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Raising the Bar: Ken Soble Tower, Hamilton, Ontario (canadianarchitect.com)
Ken Soble Tower – ERA Architects
About Passive House Canada – Passive House Canada | Maison Passive Canada