Construction Underway in Kelowna on Fully “Green”, First-of-its-Kind, Commercial Development in North America
Downtown Kelowna will soon be home to a cutting-edge, “green” self-storage facility that will be the first of its kind in North America and one of 16 projects in Canada to participate in the Zero Carbon Building Pilot Program. EcoLock Kelowna, a for-profit commercial development that combines self-storage and a co-workspace facility, will be a five-floor, 112,000-square foot building that will generate 105 percent of its electricity through the use of on-site solar panels. The facility will not be attached to the natural gas grid.
“Buildings are the number one producer of greenhouse gasses in North America, and this project is raising the bar for sustainable development,” said Don Redden, CEO of Ulmus Development Ltd., the parent company of EcoLock Kelowna. “With 2.5 billion square feet of self-storage facilities in North America, many of the facilities are low-density, unproductive spaces that don’t contribute to the fabric of a neighborhood. EcoLock Kelowna will demonstrate that there are greener, more customer-focused alternatives to enable dense, walkable urban living and creative storage solutions.”
The internal building walls will sequester carbon, using Just BioFiber blocks made in Canada from waste hemp stock. Each Just BioFiber block stores 6.5 kilograms of carbon. These blocks replace a significant amount of steel and concrete, leading a continuous de-carbonization of materials over time. EcoLock Kelowna will be one of the largest building-specific ‘sinks’ of sequestered atmospheric CO2 in the world. The building will also collect, filter and reuse rainwater in a 62,000-litre tank, located under the building, for all planting irrigation.
The building, located at the corner of Ellis Street and Bay Avenue in Kelowna, is designed by international architecture and planning firm McLennan Design and its founder Jason F. McLennan. McLennan, a Canadian and recipient of the prestigious Buckminster Fuller prize, is the creator of the Living Building Challenge and is considered one of the most influential individuals in the green building movement today.
“EcoLock Kelowna is pursuing the most stringent green building standard in the world through the Living Building Challenge,” said McLennan. “Most commercial development has not yet caught up with the trends toward high performance sustainable design, and I believe this project will help lead the way.”
EcoLock will combine self-storage with its Werkright co-workspace area that will be a venue for self-employed and local business people who require a creative professional work and meeting area, and for out-of-town business people who belong to the Werkright family.
“EcoLock and Ulmus Developments are excited to be bringing this innovative project to Kelowna to demonstrate how B.C. companies are on the leading edge of combating climate change with creative environmental solutions,” added Redden.
EcoLock Kelowna is entirely privately-funded and not dependent on contributions from governments or foundations. It has been approved by Kelowna City Council and is scheduled to open to the public next summer.
“The City of Kelowna is committed to building connected, strong neighborhoods and urban centres that help us limit our greenhouse gas emissions,” said Mayor Colin Basran. “We also have corporate goals to reduce GHGs in City-owned buildings, so it’s great to see a company like EcoLock come to Kelowna to build one of the greenest buildings in North America.”