Validating the financial feasibility of zero carbon building
evolv1’s ZCB-Design and ZCB-Performance certifications through CaGBC are third-party validations of the Cora Group’s belief that it is financially possible to build using low-carbon strategies for the same cost as conventional construction and with minimal impact on the environment, Conrad said.
With the energy and cost savings resulting from evolv1’s zero carbon design, The Cora Group is able to offer tenants Class-A office space in a sustainable, high-performance building, at competitive market rates. evolv1’s LEED Platinum certification recognizes the building’s many sustainable features that benefit occupant health and comfort, including monitored control of clean, fresh air and daylighting, managed sunlight glare, monitored humidity levels and zoned temperature control.
“We all knew it was possible, but we’ve now proven it is absolutely, financially possible to build a Zero Carbon commercial building, and to do it solely through private capital funding,” he said.
ZCB-Performance affirms design choices
For the Cora Group, it was always the goal to apply for ZCB-Performance certification once the company was able to gather a year of reliable energy data, and the project team took steps to achieve this. To further validate evolv1’s performance, it was important to also ensure that the building was fully occupied before starting the certification period.
Given evolv1 was initially designed to meet the ZCB Standard, no physical changes to the building were required, affirming the project team’s vision. The team did need to work to meet evolv1’s energy model target levels, by continuously monitoring and adjusting the building automation system’s operating settings to manage energy use and lower consumption. With the help of data from third-party electricity meters provided by CircuitMeter, the project team was able to minimize peak demand.
The evolv1 team initially encountered challenges around ensuring occupant comfort while commissioning the building’s systems. At first, evolv1 used 30 per cent more electricity than expected. The evolv1 team was, however, ultimately able to maintain a comfortable temperature for tenants, and additional sensors were installed to monitor and fine-tune the systems.
Once fully commissioned, the building was able to perform as anticipated; in fact, the performance of some elements of the project have impressed many observers, including the solar wall, the actual PV energy production and the overall efficiency of the building.
Notably, the project team was able to demonstrate that, on a sunny winter day, evolv1’s solar wall is capable of heating the building’s fresh air supply enough that it can leave its fresh-air heating system on bypass for significant parts of the day, with a February measurement showing the solar wall was able to heat -13 C outdoor air to 16 C.