The United States Green Building Council has awarded the Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design (LEED) Gold Rating to the Vancouver Island Technology Park (VITP). This makes VITP one of only three projects in the World to have achieved this level under LEED 2.0 and the first project in Canada to be accredited under the LEED program.

The VITP project was given approval to proceed in September 2000 to renovate the former 165,000 sq. ft. Glendale hospital into a research technology park. VITP is to be a focal point for private sector, government and educational initiatives to promote and provide necessary infrastructure for the growth of local technology firms and to attract new ones to the Region.

Key Environmental Features

The building is using waterless urinals, dual flush toilets as well as electronic sensors on all lavatory faucets, and low flow type shower heads to reduce overall potable water use. Potable water use in the building will be 33% less per year than the base line case.

The urinals are now being made in Canada creating economic opportunity for the U.S. company because a new market has been opened.

Grass and Gravel Parking System

This system has two primary features- grass to remove oils and gas residue from waters and interlocking plastic cones to contain the grass and gravel that filters the runoff.

  • The grass oxidizes and biologically treats oil and gas drippings from cars – removing the hydrocarbons that cause environmental damage.

  • The combination of grass, gravel and plastic interlocking cones provides a permeable system that allows the discharge of storm water directly into the ground, which in turn recharges the water table. Grass and gravel parking retains water while reducing the flow of storm water discharge. A grass and gravel paved parking lot can handle extremely high levels of rain with no runoff. A 1-hour 1 in 10 year rain event can occur before any runoff occurs from the parking lot.

  • VITP introduced Invisible Structures to Scott Plastics of Victoria who is now the Canadian manufacturer of these interlocking cones on behalf of the US company. This lowered product costs, transportation impacts and contributed to the local economy.

Ground Water Recharge and Storm Water Treatment

VITP has one of the most innovative approaches to storm water treatment in Canada.

  • The systems installed at VITP provide bio-filtration and sedimentation of storm water while increasing ground water recharge and reducing the flow of storm water, thereby protecting the salmon-bearing creek.

  • The goal of water filtration is to ensure that polluting substances and sediments are filtered out of storm water runoff from vehicle parking and roads before it leaves the site. VITP has a Storm Water Management Plan that will meet several objectives including using on-site ecological treatment before discharge into Viaduct Creek, flood plain management, incorporating the aquatic habitat with no negative impact. There will be a decrease in storm water discharge since the current storm water system is being reconfigured.

Water Efficient Landscaping

The goal of water efficient landscaping is to limit the use of potable water for landscaping irrigation.

The Horticulture Centre of the Pacific students designed and planted the VITP landscaped beds using native plant species. Once these plants take hold they require little water and maintenance because they are native to the area.

The old irrigation system for previously irrigated lawns has been decommissioned. This will allow a more natural meadow to develop.

Green Power

Green Power could not be purchased in BCBC at the time the project was announced. VITP and BCBC reached an agreement with the Capital Regional District (CRD) and BC Hydro to turn the methane gas from the Hartland Landfill into power that will be sold to BC Hydro for use at the Tech Park. The result of our desire for purchasing Green Power means an important economic initiative will happen creating an opportunity for a private sector company. The CRD will be paid an amount for their landfill gas and the CRD/VITP/BCBC partnership will earn a return for packaging this economic opportunity for the private sector.

The net result to VITP/BCBC is that the net cost of the Green Power for the VITP project will be less than traditional power.

Construction Waste

99% of all deconstruction and reconstruction waste was salvaged or sold. This resulted in a $600,000 saving as well as interest cost savings because the construction and design process was shortened.

Sustainable Transportation Study

The Federal Government has provided $80,000 for a sustainable transportation study for VITP.

VIATec is managing the study that includes participation by VITP, Camosun College, BC Transit, UVIC, CRD, the Municipality of Saanich and VIATec. The study will look at innovative and financially responsible alternatives to single occupant vehicle transportation to VITP, Camosun College, and to the region.

Bicycle Trails

The Municipality of Saanich is building a bicycle trail along Markham Road and through Layritz Park to connect into the regional bicycle network. When they are completed, the new trails will connect to trails between Camosun College and VITP property.

Bicycle storage at VITP includes 80 stalls in secured areas within the building and outside covered storage for another 100 stalls. The fitness centre includes showers for bicycle users.

Transit

An agreement has been reached with BC Transit to provide bus service to VITP. There is a bus stop and a bus layby at the Tech Park.

Car Pooling and Reduced Parking Requirements

Carpool cars have been given preferred parking spaces to serve 5% of the building occupants.

Protect Habitat Areas

Through consultation with the community and the Municipality, previously protected areas will continue to be protected through a no-build covenant that protects ecologically sensitive areas. Two registered no-build covenants provide protection for Viaduct Creek and to an ecologically bio-diverse tree stand between the renovated building and existing parking lot.

Restore Degraded Habitat Areas

Essentially all previous degraded habitat areas are being restored through native planting or decommissioning of lawn areas. Additional native species will be planted in the open green space areas and native fruit and nut bearing trees will be added along the trails as a food source for wildlife.

Creek Restoration Plan

The salmon-bearing creek is not a proper functioning
creek since it was trenched out historically for agricultural purposes. The creek has been significantly harmed because of traditional storm water management practices. VITP has been working with the storm water consultant to raise funds to restore the creek to its proper functioning condition.

Green Buildings contribute to Sustainable Community

Green Building contributes to a sustainable community in several ways with sustainable community being defined as both economically and environmentally sustainable.

Greater Victoria's Tourism sector and high tech are dependent on the preservation of our quality of life and the preservation and enhancement of that quality of life will lead to economic prosperity. A major reason why high technology companies are attracted to and stay in Victoria is because of that quality of life.

This was a motivating reason to develop VITP in a environmentally sustainable manner.

Understanding the environmental and financial impact that buildings have on communities will continue to fuel green building design but can result in economic savings to communities.

  • Less potable water use – impacts water reservoir and sewer treatment infrastructure and replacement of water and sewer infrastructure

  • Less construction waste, recycling programs – impacts landfill sites (expansion and useful lives)

  • Less energy consumption or renewable energy sources require less gas power generating facilities.

  • Proper storm water treatment will protect streams thereby supporting the fishing/tourism economy and reducing storm water infrastructure cost and maintenance. Locating commercial buildings near transportation services (transit, bicycle trails) and residential neighborhoods reduces the reliance on the automobile resulting in less road infrastructure (less roads, smaller roads and road maintenance).