Situated on a former brownfield site in downtown Vancouver, the LEED Platinum–certified convention center features 1 million square feet of convention space, 90,000 square feet of retail space, 450 parking spots, and 400,000 square feet of walkways, bikepaths, public space and plazas on a 22-acre site that spans eight acres over water.

The structure’s six-acre living roof is the largest in Canada and houses 400,000 indigenous plants and 240,000 bees. It is sloped to connect to nearby Stanley Park and foster natural drainage and seed migration patterns. Along the perimeter on the water, the design team created an artificial concrete reef, whichis situated below the public area on the waterfront to support local sealife.

The center features a structural glass skin and to address solar issues, the conference center’s meeting roofs have significant glazing on all façades and motorized blinds further assist glare and heat control on the east and west sides. Radiant piping in the floor absorbs solar loads and provides heat in the winter. In the exhibition halls and meeting rooms, high-efficiency sea water heat pumps powered by hydroelectricity heat and cool the spaces, while free-cooling economizers provide cooling during busy seasons. Based on rough estimates, the overall electricity for the convention center was expected to decrease 50 percent from that consumed by the Vancouver Convention Centre East. Energy-consumption data will be gathered and analyzed after one year of use.

An on-site wastewater treatment plan treats 100 percent of the facility’s greater and blackwater and this reclaimed water meets the building’s flushing and landscape needs nine months of the year. During the summer, reclaimed water is dedicated to site irrigation needs and flushing is supported by fresh water. These measures, combined with low-volume flush and flow fixtures, reduce potable water consumption by 73 percent.

By the numbers:

Building gross floor area: 1,200,000 square feet
Number of occupants: 160 (plus 225,000 visitors)
Percent of the building that is daylight: 23
Percent of the building that can be ventilated or cooled with operable windows: 3
Total water used, indoors and outdoors: 8,369,113 gallons per year
Calculated annual potable water use: Zero gallons per square foot per year
Total energy (MBtu per yr): 41,501
Percent total energy savings: 59
LEED rating: Platinum, LEED-NC, Canada Green Building Council

For more information on each project, including extended slideshows, click on the individual projects in the sidebar at left. To access a database of past Top Ten projects, visit ECO-STRUCTURE will be covering the 2011 COTE Top Ten projects in depth in its July/August issue.