Vancouver Exchange Building Getting Taller, Greener

The old Vancouver Stock Exchange building is rising, literally, and in a decidedly sustainable way.

Developer Credit Suisse and the city of Vancouver broke ground this week on what’s being called “The Exchange,” which will see the transformation of the 1929-built, 11-story old stock exchange building into a 31-story tower. The new structure will incorporate the facade of the original, building up from it as well as alongside it. The developers say in the end The Exchange should qualify as LEED Platinum, becoming the second-tallest such building in Canada.

vancouver stock exchange building converstion

Developer’s rendition of the building conversion (image via Credit Suisse)

“Not only will The Exchange add critical new office and job space, but it will hit the highest green standards and deliver a major economic benefit to our city,” Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson said in a statement. “The Exchange supports a number of our economic and greenest city policies and initiatives, and it is great to have Credit Suisse put down roots in Vancouver.”

vancouver stock exchange converstion

image via Credit Suisse

Credit Suisse is calling the project “Vancouver’s first LEED Platinum heritage conversion,” highlighted with a roster of green elements:

  • Storm water retention and reuse
  • Highly efficient hydronic heating and cooling
  • Integrated geo-exchange thermal regulators
  • Solar thermal panels
  • Triple-glazed curtain wall envelope
  • Solar shade louvres
  • Low flow fixtures

In addition, the developer cites passive technologies that include “a raised floor plenum to distribute fresh air throughout the building” and “triple-glazed windows (that) have low-E coating, and a graduated frit, decreasing solar gain by 83 percent.” It all adds up to use of half the energy a typical skyscraper of this sort might use, leading to 35 percent reduction in energy costs and 85 percent reduction in CO2 emissions.

In this video, architect Harry Gugger – whose credits include work on the Tate Modern and the Tate Modern Extension – talks about his approach to this ultra-green conversion:

Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.