Engineers continually talk about how to maximize results for each new project. One of the best methods is to revisit completed buildings to measure their actual performance against the fine detail of their original designs—in other words, to close the performance gap. Visiting completed projects to evaluate the actual performance is a vital and yet frequently omitted opportunity.
The reasons for this missed opportunity are numerous. Despite the benefits of sharing knowledge and collaborating with competitors, most projects need more time and funding to perform post-completion energy evaluations, which is not always possible for clients. The question of who owns disclosed data, as well as its liability, is complicated, as designers are not solely responsible for the building’s performance. Even when clients give permission for data to be shared, competition between companies can inhibit sharing performance outcomes that would benefit everyone.
Introba believes the lack of transparency in the construction industry slows down the evolution and improvement of building design. As part of the Impact Fund program, the design team revisited Clayton Community Centre, Canada’s one-time largest Passive House building to date, to check whether its performance, following its first full year of operation since COVID-19, lived up to its design credentials.
The City of Surrey proposed the new center in 2014 in response to the population and development growth in the Clayton Heights neighborhood. The new 76,000 ft² community hub integrates visual and performing arts, a 13,000 ft² neighborhood library, indoor basketball, volleyball, and badminton courts, a full gymnasium, a fitness center, and outdoor recreation spaces.
Clayton Community Centre provides a powerful exemplar of resilient architecture. Resilience is something of a buzzword in 2023 in politics and building design alike. As a community center that threads together the surrounding urban populations, Clayton Community Centre enhances social connectedness. The building itself is highly nimble and adaptable, able to serve as a critical refuge during any catastrophe or unforeseen event. It has demonstrated that it can provide comfort during BC’s extremes of heat and cold with a minimal input of energy. If a pandemic or blackout occurs, the building has daylight and natural ventilation to help it stay occupiable and contribute to human health with elevated ventilation levels. Similarly, the systems can revert to mechanical mode with air highly filtered if there are wildfires.
By sharing what the design team learned from this project, Introba seeks to answer two questions: is the actual energy consumption in line with the design calculations, and was Passive House a good fit for a large, non-domestic building?
The Introba design team was delighted that the study’s results were overwhelmingly positive, showing Passive House does deliver on its promises of minimal energy for large, commercial buildings—a valuable insight for future projects. The team also learned a few things—read more in the ten lessons learned discussed in this report.
In this short report, we dive deep into a post-completion energy evaluation of Clayton Community Centre, reflecting on learnings after going on-site to measure the performance of a Passive House-certified community center in Canada.
This study explores the performance gaps through the tools and construction methods used as well as ongoing building performance.
What lessons learned from this Passive House success story can help us improve our design strategy?
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