Building Magazine


Canada’s first ‘Net Positive’ office building planned in Markham


Developer Howland Green Homes Ltd., is about to embark on Canada’s first office building that will produce more energy than it will consume. Marketed as the Howland Green Business Centre, the “Net Positive’ will be located on Cachet Woods Court near the 407ETR and 16th Avenue in the City of Markham, just north of Toronto.

According to Dave de Sylva P. Eng., President of GreenLife Del Ridge, and founder of Howland Green Homes Ltd., “This new building is “the first Net Positive office building of its kind in Canada and nothing short of a landmark achievement and giant ecological leap forward for the environment and the building industry.”

Howland Green Business Centre, Markham (Artist Concept).

Howland Green Business Centre, Markham (Artist Concept).

Up until now the building industry has been striving to meet LEED® or Net Zero building standards. The term “Net-Zero” energy describes the concept of buildings generating their own energy needs by renewable on-site or remote power generation. “Net-positive” goes even further and Howland Green’s mandate is to build “Beyond Net Zero Energy” buildings, generating more energy than needed for the building’s operation annually. And the Howland Green Business Centre will meet that in spades.

Powered by sun and geothermal energy, the building will offer 59,000 sq. ft. of office space, stand 3 stories tall with 2 levels of underground parking and serve as the perfect combination of ecology, economy and construction innovation.

From producing energy from a variety of sources to conservation and management, the project aims to set the standard for ecologically friendly construction in Canada and beyond.Here are some of the innovative features of the Howland Green Business Centre:

  • Enhanced Insulated concrete formwork – The entire outside that area exposed to thermal transmission is constructed not just of ICF, but new ICF designed specifically for Howland Green. This results in a combined thermal resistance value of at least R40, far in excess of any other standard.
  • R80 roof insulation, approximately 4 times greater than the building code. Resulting in essentially blockage of energy transfer, depending on the season.
  •  The best windows available, designed with new technology in fiberglass construction and Low E argon gas with resistance values as high as R9, exceeding typical Triple glazed windows and all others.
  •  High efficient LED lighting with motion sensors where applicable.
  •  The latest geothermal technology to heat and cool the building with automatic load sharing and individual office controls at a fraction of the cost of other buildings.
  •  One of the largest rooftop photovoltaic arrays to capture approximately 420,000 watts of solar energy and generate about 515,000 kWh of clean, green energy, leaving no footprint and helping to offset the carbon footprint of others as the operational demand for the entire building will be approximately 430,000 kWh.
  •  One of the first electric potential lithium-ion and pneumatic energy storage systems to store generated energy and use it when it is needed as opposed to when it is available.
  •  Innovative water recycling system, designed to harvest all rainwater and recycle it on site.
  •  Enjoyment of the lowest condominiums fees garnered from the energy savings.

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