• The Belmont

The Belmont renovation provides a template for thousands of other aging buildings needing upgrades.

The Challenge

The Belmont was a typical Vancouver high-rise: nearly 30 years old with deteriorating assemblies and in need of some renewals work. Individual units were difficult to keep cool in the summer and even harder to keep warm in the winter, especially in rooms with large glazing areas. The Belmont also looked dated, with renewals work providing a real opportunity to upgrade its appearance.

Like thousands of other condo owners, residents of The Belmont faced a challenge: How much work should they do on their building? Just the essentials? Or should they take advantage of the opportunity to upgrade a variety of aspects of the building?

The Project

RDH was initially retained to assess the current condition of The Belmont and identify renewal alternatives for the owners to consider.  These alternatives included a variety of cladding options and a range of energy conservation measures (ECMs). The ECMs included different types of windows, the addition of insulation to the exterior of the walls, and the installation of Heat Recovery Ventilation (HRV).  The owners considered the following before making a decision:

  • Thermal comfort
  • Initial costs and payback analysis
  • Long-term renewal costs
  • Operational costs (gas and hydro)
  • Impact of the work of the value of their suites

The renewal program selected was comprehensive and received incentive funding to offset some of the costs of implementing the program. The building was also the subject of an extensive research project examining energy savings.

Following the development and approval of the desired renewal program, the owners retained RDH to follow through with the preparation of construction documents (drawings and specifications), field review, and quality assurance throughout construction. RDH also managed the construction process using a construction management implementation approach that provided the owners with greater control of the project and costs savings.

The Results

The Belmont owners are now experiencing greater thermal comfort in the summer and winter. The building appearance has been greatly improved and the building has been transformed from a very poor performer to high-performance. It features:

  • A rainscreen wall assembly for effective water penetration control and durability.
  • An effective insulation value in walls that is now 4 times that of the original wall.
  • High-performance fiberglass frame and triple-glazed windows.
  • 90% suite space heating savings.

The implementation of the building enclosure work was completed on-time and under-budget.


This high-performance project has been recognized through several awards:

  • Honor Award – First Place for a High-Performance Innovation in the Sustainable Buildings Industry Council’s (SBIC) Beyond Green™ High-Performance Building Awards, National Institute of Building Sciences
  • Project of the Year Award, Fenestration Association of BC

“We are pleased that we gave our contract to RDH and that they guided us so well in selecting such excellent contractors …”

Claudette Young
Council Member, The Belmont, Vancouver, BC


“The jury was impressed with how the design team turned the envelope renewal on this 1980s building into an opportunity. They took a systematic approach to recladding that has increased the value of the asset both through improved aesthetics and enhanced energy performance. The cladding eliminates the thermal bridging inherent in steel stud construction and offers a solution that could be transferred to literally thousands of other similar projects.”

The Jury
Canada Green Building Council + SAB Magazine