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Sustainability

Mass Timber

Creation care through sustainability is one of the primary goals for the Menno Hall project and it is the objective of both PCDA and MCC Legacy Trust to responsibly use and steward the natural resources they have access to. To that end, they have partnered with Fast + Epp, globally recognized leaders in structural engineering, to utilize a mass timber structural design for Menno Hall. 

Mass timber is a cutting edge, environmentally friendly, recyclable and low-carbon wood substitute for carbon intensive materials. Using mass timber offers the benefit of efficiently creating a sustainably sourced, high performance structure that reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

The wood in mass timber buildings is often left exposed, creating an architecturally stunning and harmonious addition to the surrounding neighbourhood.

Advantages of a Mass Timber Structure:


  • Mass timber is fire retardant.
  • Mass timber provides insulation and thermal mass, making it comparable to concrete as a building material.
  • Oftentimes mass timber panels are prefabricated off-site resulting in faster construction/installation.
  • Small steel columns increase available floor area compared to wood or concrete columns. 
  • Using mass timber reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The exposed wood in mass timber buildings creates architecturally striking structures.

Mass TImber Structure Concept

Menno Hall mass timber structure

Mass TImber Structure EXAMPLES

Mass Timber Examplemass timber example

Energy Efficiency

The Menno Hall development will provide for superior energy performance through a focus on design principles that minimize space heating and cooling load requirements and reduce overall energy use, while providing a high level of comfort for its occupants. This will be achieved through the application of design approaches that go beyond typical standard practice or Code minimum.

Sustainable Performance:

  • High performance glazing system with low window/wall ratio and high SHGC (Solar Heat Gain Coefficient) to minimize the heat loss, as well as reduce the heating load.
  • High performance wall system for minimization of thermal bridging, including the application of continuous exterior insulation, lack of uninsulated wall components (e.g., slab edges, fins, columns), reduced balcony connections, and minimization of linear losses (e.g., window connections, shelf angles, parapet details, wall/floor discontinuities).
  • Implementing passive design strategies such as solar shading to satisfy the dorm's cooling loads by natural ventilation and ceiling fans.
  • Detailed building envelope design and intended high quality construction to reduce the air infiltration rate.
  • High efficiency exhaust heat recovery, for all the suites as well as the common spaces to minimize the heating energy consumption and reach to BC Step Code 4 requirements.
  • High performance Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) systems to heat and condition all the residential and dormitory spaces.
  • Demand controlled ventilation applied where variable occupancy conditions apply.
  • Using condensing boilers (efficiency of 95%) to provide the domestic hot water for the building.
  • Using fan coil units equipped with Electronically Commutated Motors (ECMs) to improve the energy consumption of the HVAC system.
Menno Hall will meet and exceed energy efficiency targets

Our design targets high levels of energy performance mandated by Step 4 of the BC Step Code to meet and exceed the current requirement for developments within UEL.

Tree Protection Strategies

We believe that caring for the environment is synonymous with being a good steward. To that end, we’ve taken great care to protect the existing mature trees along the bridle path on Western Parkway which play an important role in the surrounding neighbourhood's character.

Our 4 Point Action Plan:

  • Trees along the bridle-path adjacent to the residential neighbourhood will be saved.
  • A building setback will limit excavation in the root zone of the trees along the east (Western Parkway) perimeter.
  • The existing condition of protected trees on and adjacent to the property were examined to establish guidelines for protecting retained trees during the construction process.
  • If any excavation around the trees is necessary, it will be minor and will be conducted by hand or with an air spade under the supervision of an arborist.

Tree Protection setbacks

Menno Hall tree setbacks diagram

Rainwater management

In response to the challenges that are presented with the high volumes of rainfall in the Vancouver region, Menno Hall will feature an environmentally responsible and visually appealing rainwater collection system to handle excess rainwater. 

Rainwater will be collected through the building’s green roof system and directed to the central sunken lagoon, located in “The Grotto” to provide on-site water detention and irrigation for the surrounding plant life. This featured lagoon will be accessible to the public realm and provide a serene oasis for quiet reflection and connection.

Harnessing the rainwater in this way will not only enhance community interaction through a beautifully inviting space, but also help prevent erosion around the perimeter of the site as well as prevent excess rainwater from entering the municipal stormwater management system.

The grotto. Landscape Infrastructure for Menno Hall at the UEL

Green Roof

The strategically designed green roof, together with the mature trees along Western Parkway, will further help blend the edge between the site and the bordering neighbourhood.
The green roof will also be used as a visually appealing rainwater collection and water retention system.
Menno Hall Green roof image
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