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The Lord Harley Apartments showcase how a comprehensive renewal project can breathe new life into an older existing building.
Like many stewards of older buildings, the owners of Lord Harley found themselves caught in a cycle of one targeted repair after another. The 1970s low-rise rental apartment building was suffering from many of the common ailments of our aging building stock – bulging and deformed stucco, deteriorating balconies, prevalent condensation at windows and sliding glass doors, drafts, leaks. To make matters worse, much of the heat from the shared central heating system was escaping through the poorly insulated building and the owners were footing the bill.
As a first step, RDH performed a building enclosure condition assessment to help the owners understand the extent and severity of the issues. Based on widespread evidence of water ingress and water damage, recommendations were made to renew the exterior cladding, windows and sliding glass doors, balcony waterproofing, and guardrails.
The comprehensive nature of the renewal project provided a unique opportunity to give the building a complete “face lift.” RDH’s in-house design team jumped on the chance to bring the building into the 21st century with new lines, materials, and colours. Since RDH knows that the most cost-effective opportunities for energy upgrading are during the replacement of end-of-life building components and equipment, RDH introduced a basic energy analysis into the design of the new building enclosure.
As part of the energy analysis, we compared the incremental capital cost of various options for adding exterior insulation to walls, adding insulation above deck at the roof, and more thermally efficient windows and sliding glass doors. This enabled RDH to find the “sweet spot” that provided a substantial improvement in the energy performance while meeting the owners expectations for a robust return on investment.
The Lord Harley showcases how a comprehensive renewal project can breathe new life into an older existing building. From street level, the architectural presence of the building has been transformed – a reconfigured roof line, modern material textures and colours, and a more prominent main entry. In particular, the cedar framing elements ground the new design in contemporary west coast style.
Behind the new cladding, the addition of two inches of continuous exterior insulation is enough to triple the insulating value of the exterior walls; new thermally-broken double-pane windows and sliding glass doors are an obvious improvement over the original single-pane units. At the roof level, new tapered insulation above the roof deck not only saves energy, it also provides sloping to improve the roof drainage. In addition to the improvements to the building enclosure, continuous bathroom exhaust fans were installed to facilitate ventilation in the suites; we also helped the owners upgrade to high efficiency condensing boilers for heating and hot water, including a utility incentive program rebate.
RDH has developed an ongoing relationship with the Lord Harley – from a building enclosure condition assessment, to design services, and then construction management for the renewal project. A yearlong research study is now underway to document the impact of the work in terms of comfort, tenant retention, financial metrics, and energy and emissions reductions. We hope to share more of the story when preliminary data is available in 2017!