UniverCity Childcare at Simon Fraser University

Location: Burnaby, BC
Architect: Hughes Condon Marler Architects
Sustainability: Net Zero, Pursuing Living Building Challenge

UniverCity – a sustainable urban community on Burnaby Mountain has added a highly anticipated new childcare center. The UniverCity Childcare project goes beyond LEED Certification and even beyond the standards of a net zero building to function as a regenerative building. This green facility produces enough energy to sustain itself and contributes its excess energy to neighbors. This 5,690 square foot childcare also collects more water than it uses, and was designed to be self-sustaining.

The project was completed for about $3.2 million, which is approximately 15% less than the average cost of building a traditional childcare facility and will have lower operating costs than conventional childcare centers. The innovative design allows unique opportunities for children to explore the Earth’s natural elements and seasonal changes indoors and outdoors.

Integral Group is providing mechanical and energy modeling services for this regenerative building. As part of the integrated design team, Integral’s designs helped meet the criteria of the Living Building Challenge – a certification program that addresses development through seven performance areas: Site, Water, Energy, Health, Materials, Equity and Beauty. Upon completion, UniverCity Childcare is expected be the first childcare in the Canada to meet the Living Building Challenge.

Passive and sustainable mechanical designs contributed sustainable building meet the Challenge goals. A blackwater treatment facility and on-site infiltration of stormwater are major components of the net-zero water strategy. The rooftop solar array will act as an energy source and the concrete floors and walls will act as a thermal mass to reduce the energy required to heat and cool the building. The facility is built from local resources and free of toxic materials and the majority of construction waste will be diverted from local landfills.

UniverCity Childcare is focused on providing the best in childcare while also improving the environment by implementing the highest standards of green design.

  • Natural ventilation
  • Maximum ventilation stratification effect
  • Building shading
  • Free cooling via natural convection
  • Net-zero energy on-site
  • Solar collectors for energy re-use exportation
  • Heat recovery
  • Radiant floor heating
  • Private sanitary treatment system
  • Rainwater collection and re-use on-site
  • Ultra low-flow plumbing fixtures
  • Green roof