Member Advisory: Energy Performance of Buildings

Complying with the various energy performance requirements for buildings can be a challenge. A building may be required to meet a third-party certifying program’s requirements (such as LEED™) as a condition of the development process or as a client’s requirement.

The BC Building Code  and the Vancouver Building By-law  both reference the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers  (ASHRAE) Standard 90.1, Energy Efficient Design of New Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, yet each requires compliance with different versions, and the referenced versions are likely to change when new editions of these codes are issued later this year. In addition, the BC Energy Efficiency Act, through its BC Energy Efficiency Standards Regulation (BCEESR), contains minimum performance levels for windows, doors and skylights (as well as a wide variety of other products) regardless of which building code is applicable.

To further complicate matters, buildings that comply with ASHRAE 90.1 are exempt from the fenestration requirements of the BCEESR, and ASHRAE 90.1 is multi-disciplinary, containing requirements for not only the building enclosure but mechanical and lighting systems as well.

The AIBC continues to work with its colleagues at the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC (APEGBC), as well as such other industry stakeholders as the Glazing Contractors Association of BC (GCABC), the Homeowners Protection Office (HPO), the BC Ministry of Energy (MOE) and the City of Vancouver (CoV) to develop a coordinated approach to energy performance of buildings in the various climate zones of British Columbia.  Working with APEGBC and CoV, the institute recently participated in a half-day professional development session on the CoV’s ASHRAE 90.1 documentation process.

In addition to the ASHRAE 90.1 standard itself, which is available in both metric and imperial versions, ASHRAE publishes the User’s Manual to ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA STANDARD 90.1. This document is of great value in understanding and applying the standard. Both are available in either hard copy or PDF format at . This web site also has various design guides available for specific building types.

At the upcoming 2012 AIBC Annual Conference (May 9-11 at the Vancouver Convention Centre), there will be a session that specifically addresses the 90.1 standard. ASHRAE 90.1: What Architects Need to Know will provide a ‘roadmap’ of where practitioners need to go to achieve compliance.

There will also be a session on state-of-the-art thermal modeling research, Above and Beyond: Can Your Building Meet 2020 Targets?  Whether or not an architectural firm takes on thermal modeling in-house, or relies on consultants for this service, it must have sufficient familiarity with the modeling process to make decisions on when it is the most appropriate method of achieving compliance, and if so, will need to work with the model to fine-tune the building enclosure design.

The HPO recently updated its Builder’s Insight (BI) #9, Fenestration Energy Performance: A Roadmap for Understanding Requirements for Residential Buildings in British Columbia. Along with Builder’s Insight #7, ASHRAE 90.1 – Requirements for the Building Enclosure: Understanding the Compliance Paths for Multi-Unit Residential Buildings, these documents provide a good overview of the requirements as they apply to housing. BI #9 is especially useful in explaining the interplay of the various regulatory requirements. Both are available online at , with hard copy versions of BI #9 also available at the AIBC reception desk while supplies last. These HPO documents would be a good place to start for those new to the issues, followed by the AIBC conference sessions which are developed by, and targeted specifically at, architects. The conference registration process can be accessed at

The CoV has also developed excellent online resources as part of its documentation process requirements. There is a 40-page tutorial available at . As well, documentation submission checklists and compliance checklists available in MS excel format at . Though provided for the CoV process, the compliance checklists are ASHRAE forms, used with permission, and would be useful on projects required to comply with ASHRAE 90.1 under the BC Building Code. The AIBC is currently working with the APEGBC, the MOE and the GCABC to develop additional resources for specifying commercial glazing products in compliance with the BCEESR, in order to supplement the existing GCABC Glazing Systems Specifications Manual. Glazing specifications, particularly for site-built commercial windows, are critical to achieving compliance while at the same time necessarily providing a fair and equitable bidding process in the competitive marketplace. The existing specifications manual, an essential resource for any office, is available from the GCABC at .

Architects are fundamentally responsible for the design of the building enclosure and its energy performance. As coordinators, we must work together with our engineering consultants to tie the various building systems into a cohesive whole. At the larger scale of determining the size, shape and transparency of a building and at the finer scale of determining of what the skin of the building will be composed, we must develop building designs that meet the energy performance requirements of our clients, the community through its planning processes, and the various building and manufacturing regulations.  Of course, at the same time, designs have to be within budget and readily buildable.  We have been entrusted with this critical responsibility for environmental stewardship. Yes, it is a challenge, but it is one that both the profession as whole and the individual practitioners of which it is comprised, accept.


Maura Gatensby MAIBC

Practice Advisor

April AIBC Council Meeting Summary

At its most recent meeting on April 17, 2012, AIBC Council considered a wide range of matters including:

  • Confirmation of Karl Gustavson MAIBC assuming the formerly vacant council seat for the duration of this council year.
  • Receipt of the agenda and schedule for both the Special Meeting and the 2012 Annual Meeting, scheduled for Saturday May 12 at the BCIT Downtown Vancouver Campus.
  • Status reports from two of its working groups. The Associates Resolution Working Group provided a status report on two “white paper” position documents that are now at a final stage. These are expected to be shared with the membership in early May, prior to the special meeting and annual meeting. On a related matter, the planned independent engagement survey of membership is proceeding and slated to take place in June. The New and Diverse Members Working Group brought forth recommendations (accepted) that the institute take steps to gather comprehensive demographic information on membership to better identify patterns, trends and areas of concern, along with the creation of a standing New and Diverse Membership Task Force.
  • A consolidated set of council meeting rules (accepted) that reflect standards set out by the Architects Act, AIBC bylaws and previously- adopted rules, along with proposed new rules where needed. The purpose is to support a more collegial, collaborative and efficient framework for council discussion and decision-making.

Council member Robert Chester MAIBC was officially reprimanded by AIBC Council for a statement that was made during the meeting. Chester issued an apology.

Council also passed motions pertaining to various consent items dealing with committee changes, examination results and registration amendments. The next meeting of AIBC Council will be in camera, to elect its officers, immediately after the 2012 Annual Meeting on Saturday, May 12, 2012.

2012 Annual Conference Registration

Session offerings at the 2012 AIBC Annual Conference are filling quickly. If you have not yet registered, you are urged to do so. Single session registration is now available. Highlights this year include the opening keynote address from acclaimed Chicago architect Jeanne Gang, and a special screening of “How Much Does Your Building Weigh, Mr. Foster?”. Details on additional presentations and events, along with registration, can be found on the conference web site:

Call For Scrutineers

The 2012 AIBC Annual Meeting (commencing at 1:00 pm on Saturday, May 12) is fast approaching. One of the highlights of the annual meeting is the election of members of the governing council for the AIBC. Ballot counting will take place during the annual meeting, commencing shortly after that meeting is called to order. The ballot counting is done by scrutineers in accordance with AIBC Bylaw 24 as well as policy and procedures established by AIBC Council (a copy of the relevant document is available online here. The AIBC seeks expressions of interest from persons wishing to be appointed as scrutineers. In order to be considered, you must submit a letter of intent via e-mail to AIBC Deputy Executive Director and General Counsel Jerome Marburg ( no earlier than 8:00 a.m. Monday, April 23, 2012 and no later than 5:00 p.m. Thursday, April 26, 2012, with receipt confirmed by the date/time stamp of the AIBC e-mail server. Selected scrutineers will be appointed officially  by the AIBC Council President a short time after the call to order of the annual meeting.

After The Meltdown: Where Does Architecture go From Here?

By Vanessa Quirk, Arch Daily
April 17, 2012

You can get into Architecture for one of two reasons: good architecture or bad. For Cameron Sinclair, the co-founder of Architecture for Humanity, it was the latter. As a kid, Sinclair would wander his rough-and-tumble South London neighborhood, contemplating how it could be improved (and creating elaborate Lego models to that effect). Instead of soaring skyscrapers or grand museums, he was inspired by buildings that “integrated your neighborhood in a way that made people feel like life was worth living.”  More…

British Columbia Festival of Forestry – Sustainable Forests and Wood Products Workshop – UBC Malcolm Knapp Research Forest

As building technologies evolve, one material remains as in-demand as ever: wood. Wood costs less – economically and environmentally – and is one of the most beautiful, versatile, durable and renewable raw materials available. This workshop includes a hands-on tour of both a working forest and an on-site sawmill. Participants will travel to different locations within the forest and walk through the different sites. Paul Lawson RPF and Cheryl Power RPF of the Malcolm Knapp Research Forest will discuss how to:

  •  Identify the common local native tree species and the wood derived from them;
  • Compare the basic ecological characteristics of those species;
  • Identify the role of fire, insects and disease in the forest and in its development and growth;
  • Recognize the various silvicultural practices used in forest harvesting, regeneration and stand tending;
  • Identify and quantify the role of forests in sequestering atmospheric carbon;
  • List the steps that go into harvesting and manufacturing of sustainably grown wood products; and
  • Make choices necessary to specifying timber species and grade required for various structural and appearance attributes.

Tour the Gallant Sawmill, viewing lumber breakdown from log to final product. Learn about sorting, cutting, planning, grading and kiln drying followed by a demonstration of soft lumber shrinkage and destructive strength testing by species. It takes place Thursday, May 10, 2012, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. at the UBC Malcolm Knapp Research Forest, 14500 Silver Valley Road, Maple Ridge. Participants must supply their own transportation to the site. From there, group transportation will be provided to different areas within the forest. A snack and lunch will be provided. Register online at by Thursday, May 3, 2012.

3.75 Core LUs and 1.5 Non-core LUs

2012 Festival of Architecture Registration

A reminder that the early bird registration deadline for the 2012 RAIC Festival of Architecture is Monday, April 30.  This year’s festival, presented by Architecture Canada in partnership with the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Architects, takes place June 13-16, 2012 in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Featured speakers include: keynote RIBA Gold Medallist Ted Cullinan Hon. FRAIC; Peter Busby MAIBC FRAIC;  Robert Mellin FRAIC NLAA; and Newfoundland archaeologist Gerald Penney. Courses, events and companion packages are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Go to to register.

Read about Architecture Canada 2012 Gold Medal Recipient Here: High Honour for Cardew.


Light House Sustainable Building Centre – Market Insights: Extreme Makeover – Whole Building Retrofits

There are more than 5,000 high rise buildings in major Canadian cities, and tens of thousands worldwide. A staggering number of these buildings are now 30 years in age or older, and in need of complete retrofits if they are to continue to perform efficiently and remain attractive to tenants. What is the industry doing to meet this challenge? What is the opportunity for incorporating energy efficiency practices and achieving operational efficiencies and cost savings? And what are the challenges to be faced in the future with regard to retrofitting the new buildings of today? Many see renewal as an opportunity and are now developing whole building retrofit programs aimed at addressing the challenge. This edition of Market Insights will be moderated by Lorina Keery, Energy & Environmental Manager – BOMA BC, with featured speakers Douglas Birkenshaw B.Arch. B.E.S. LEED AP OAA FRAIC, B+H Bunting Coady; Bryce Conacher, Director of Business Development –  LEDCOR Renew; and Derek Page, Director-Real Estate Management, Oxford Properties. Together they will discuss one of the great challenges facing the building sector in the 21st century. It takes place Tuesday, June 5, 2012, 7:30 – 10:00 a.m. at the Four Season Hotel, 791 West Georgia Street, Vancouver. Register online at

2 Core LUs

AIBC Vancouver Island Chapter – Chapter Luncheon: Plywood 101

Join Paul Jaehrlich, P.Eng. from CertiWood, in a comprehensive overview of the Canadian plywood industry. Learn how to specify the right panel grades and wood species for the job including best practices for painting in exterior applications. He will also discuss the plywood manufacturing process and it’s quality control with an in-depth look at plywood’s engineering properties. It takes place on Wednesday, April 25, 2012, 12:00 noon – 1:00 p.m. at Ambrosia Centre, 638 Fisgard Street, Victoria. To register, e-mail Vancouver Island Chapter Chair Don Lovell MAIBC at

1 Core LU

Simon Fraser University City Program – Information Session: Urban Design and Sustainable Community Development Certificate Programs

Plan on attending this free information session to learn more about the Urban Design and Sustainable Community Development Certificate Program courses that start in September 2012. Taught by renowned practitioners and industry leaders, these certificate programs aim to equip mid-career professionals with the skills to impact their communities for the better. Whether it’s designing functional and sustainable places or advocating for sustainability at the local level, these programs will provide the tools to achieve professional and personal goals. It takes place Thursday, May 17, 2012, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. at Simon Fraser University Harbour Centre, 515 West Hastings Street, Vancouver. To reserve a seat, visit

Call for Volunteers: Gibsons Advisory Planning Commission

The Town of Gibsons is seeking energetic and knowledgeable volunteers to serve for a two- or three-year term on its Advisory Planning Commission. Commission members will be asked to review development proposals and make recommendations to the local council on the caliber and quality of urban design and architectural character, in keeping with guidelines for the town’s development permit areas. The commission may consider other planning issues from time to time. Candidates should have professional expertise or general knowledge in one or more of the following areas:

  • building design, architecture or urban design;
  • energy efficiency;
  • environmental and sustainable design;
  • crime prevention through environmental design principles;
  • local plants and landscaping practice or experience in landscape architecture or site design;
  • adaptable and accessible housing, seniors housing, and affordable housing; or
  • local real estate market conditions.

Preference will be given to those who are familiar with the Gibsons community including current community issues and concerns. The commission will meet on an “as needed” basis, normally Mondays at 12:00 noon at Gibsons Town Hall, The expected number of meetings is 12 per year, though this will vary according to the number of development applications received. If you feel you could assist the community in ensuring high-quality development, please submit the following materials:.

  • Statement of Intent (maximum 500 words);
  • confirmation of primary residential address;
  • resume or CV detailing related experience; and
  • endorsement signatures from three Town of Gibsons residents.

Application materials must be received prior to May 16, 2012, and can be submitted in-person, by email, or by fax to:

Town of Gibsons Planning Department
c/o Michael Epp, Municipal Planner
474 South Fletcher Road
Box 340
Gibsons, BC  V0N 1V0
Phone:        604-886-2274
Fax:              604.886.9735

Please contact the Town of Gibsons Planning Department if you have any questions or require any further information.

Canada’s Best Restroom

The annual  Cintas’ Canada’s Best Restroom Contest looks to recognize architects, designers, owners and establishments for creating unique public washroom facilities. Attention is given to washrooms – whether it be in a hotel, conference center, restaurant, museum, art venue or ecology center – that are notable for such aspects as memorable appearance, unique features or environmental/green efforts. Any washroom in Canada that is open to the public is eligible. Nominations will be accepted online until July 10, with up to five finalists selected prior to a public vote. For more information, visit

Vancouver Council Advised to Reduce Size of Proposed Tower

By Frances Bula, Globe and Mail
April 16, 2012

Vancouver councillors shouldn’t be afraid to reduce the size of a tower proposed for a historic neighbourhood if approving the project as is would turn residents throughout the city against density, the city’s former planning director says. And, said Brent Toderian, councillors should make it clear when they deliver their decision on Tuesday how they see new buildings fitting into established areas if they hope to encourage city residents to welcome density. More … 

In Passing: Willfred Buttjes

Wilfred Buttjes passed away on December 19, 2011 at the age of 93. Wilfred was born in Germany in 1918. He received his Engineer of Architecture diploma from the Staatsbauschule Oldenburg Academy of Architecture and CIvil Engineering. In 1952, Wilfred moved his family to Canada. After working for a time with McCarter Nairne & Partners, he joined the AIBC in 1959. He was later certified by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada in 1977. Through his firm, The Buttjes Group, Wilfred was involved in some of the first high-rise projects in Vancouver’s West End. Over his career he received the Massey medal for Architecture ( for the Canyon Manor in North Vancouver) along with an AIBC Design Award and a number of Canadian Housing Design awards. He retired from practice in 1986. He is survived by Ria, his wife of 67 years, and children Andrew, Mareike and Dirk.

In Passing: John Haaf

Former member John Haaf passed away on Thursday March 29 at the age of 63. He was born in Pennsylvania and raised in Oregon, graduating from the University of Oregon with a degree in architecture prior to moving to British Columbia. He spent time working for Birmingham and Wood Architects and Roger Hughes Architects before registering with the AIBC in 1989. For many year’s he served as an assistant professor at the University of British Columbia. More recently, John was involved in the design of the Franklin. D. Roosevelt Memorial Four Freedoms Park in New York City, slated for completion this fall. He is survived by his wife Angela and daughters Deirdre, Hilary and Meredith. A celebration of John’s life is planned for family and friends. To access his online memorial, visit In lieu of flowers, those wishing to make a donation in John’s name are invited to do so to the FDR Four Freedoms Park Conservancy or the charity of one’s choice.