Thursday, March 5, 2009

Excellence Award For Green Development

A "green" condominium project on Nuns' Island has been awarded the Quebec Homebuilders' Association's highest prize, le prix Domus, for ecological excellence in residential construction.
The hardware has been given to Le Vistal, an ambitious two-tower project under development by Proment Corp.
Le Vistal is being billed as the largest residential project in Quebec being built according to LEED specifications for energy efficiency, environmental impact and sustainability. The 25-storey glass towers, rising on the south or open water side of Nuns' Island will feature elements like geothermal and passive solar energy, air-recovery systems, high-efficiency water management and a planted green roof over the underground parking garage to allow rain to be more efficiently reabsorbed into the ground.
The project has a $50-million budget, of which $1 million is dedicated to energy efficiency. The building will use 35-per-cent less energy than a conventionally built project of similar size.
Other features include the use of local building materials like wood and Quebec granite, rather than imports that might cost less but leave a larger carbon footprint. As much as 45 per cent of the concrete used on the site will be recycled. Manufacturing concrete is a killer in terms of the ratio of raw materials to finished product and the energy required in the transformation.
Proment has been building on Nuns' Island for more than 40 years. Chairman Sam Gewurz takes a lot of grief from bird watchers and environmentalists. They would prefer that he stop building. But here's my take on Gewurz and Proment - he never stops learning and he never stops striving to do better. He's incorporated riverfront walking paths, a forest preserve and a green corridor for migratory birds into each of his developments over the years.
With Le Vistal, Proment is setting the bar higher by taking on the added expense and logistical nightmares of building a high-rise project to the exacting specs of the Canada Green Building Council. The council oversees the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Leadership.)
Buyers, albeit, deep-pocketed buyers, are responding. Phase I is 95 per cent sold. Phase II is 75 per cent sold. Prices range from $230,000 for a 675-square-foot suite to $1.5-million for a lordly 2,600 square feet. They throw in the breath-taking river views for free.

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