This artist’s rendering depicts the new state-of-the-art office building for Charter, a technology company headquartered on Vancouver Island. It will be the first passive office building in Western Canada. (Photo courtesy of Waymark Architecture)

New state-of-the-art building built in Langford for tech company

First passive building in Western Canada will use heat from servers to warm office

A new state-of-the-art office is going up in Langford at 2614 Sooke Road.

The building will be the new headquarters for Charter, a tech company that operates networks for different sectors across Canada and around the globe.

They have eight offices across Canada and their corporate office in Langford is the first registered passive office building in Western Canada.

A passive building is an environmentally sustainable, airtight building that conserves energy from people inside.

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Victoria-based Waymark Architecture designed the space with the environment in mind in an effort to leave as small a footprint as possible.

Kyla Tuttle, director of project co-ordination and marketing at Waymark said a passive building goes hand in hand with what Charter is all about.

“Charter is an industry leader in innovation and a passive house is pretty high tech,” Tuttle said.

Under International Passive House Association is Passive House Canada that certifies the standard of sustainability and energy performance to be able to call a structure passive.

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Once completed, the building will be four stories high, with a total floor area of 16,000 square feet – it will use heat from the sun, so window positioning is important.

Many windows will provide natural light and an atrium that allows light to fill the entire space and the shape of the building is rectangular and open-concept without little nooks as heat can be lost in the corners of a building.

“It’s the most energy efficient shape you can do,” Tuttle said, adding the walls of the building are thicker than usual, with three layers wrapped around each other.

Pre-manufactured heavy timber and thick insulation are covered over by protective wrap. A heat recovery ventilator will also circulate air through the building.

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Charter has a lot of servers, which generate heat so Tuttle said that was taken into consideration with the way the space is configured and heat generated from the servers will help heat the building.

In addition to leaving a smaller footprint, benefits to the space include a comfortable, quiet climate year-round. “You don’t hear the traffic noise, because of all the insulation.”

The savings on energy is significant, using heating and cooling systems 90 per cent less, Tuttle said, noting it is hard to quantify a cost difference between building a passive and non-passive structure unless comparing the exact same build.

Waymark’s office is the first registered living building office in Western Canada. A living building is what Tuttle described as “giving more than it takes,” built with non-toxic and recycled materials that are ethically produced.

The building is expected to be finished in the spring.

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