The Tyee / David P. Ball / 20 November 2015
Completed in 2012 on municipal land that had sat vacant for decades, the five-building complex added 254 units to Ottawa’s rental stock, 150 of those either below-market rent or rent-geared-to-income. One-tenth of the suites are wheelchair accessible, and 15 per cent was set aside for supportive housing in partnership with local social welfare agencies.
But more unusual than Beaver Barracks’ social goals are its environmental ambitions. It’s Canada’s largest project using geothermal energy for heating and water, for one thing. Architects added special thermal barriers to stabilize the climate within, one of the first developments in the country to test the technology. Its roof is made from plant-based material for insulation and drainage, and its windows are triple-glazed.
Overall, Beaver Barracks has slashed energy use by roughly 40 per cent compared to similar buildings, shortlisting it for a World Habitat Award.
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