Whistler Olympic/ Paralympic Village
Certifications & Awards
- Pilot project for LEED-ND
- 2009 Federation of Canadian Municipalities Residential Development Award
- 2009 Canadian Consulting Engineering Awards (Low Temperature District Energy-Sharing System)
- 2009 Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators (CAMA) Environment Award (Low Temperature District Energy System)
- 2008 Community Energy Association Energy Action Award (Community Planning and Development Category)
- Project Management: Whistler 2020 Development Corporation
- Architect: Raymond Letkeman Architects
- Landscape Architect: Tom Barratt Ltd.; Brent Harley & Associates; Eldon Beck
- Funders: Municipal Finance Authority: VANOC; Resort Municipality of Whistler; Government of British Columbia
- Guidance and Funding: VANOC; Resort Municipality of Whistler; Whistler Housing Authority
- Funders: Municipal Finance Authority; VANOC; Resort Municipality of Whistler; Government of British Columbia
- Masterplanning: Ekistics
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KEY SUSTAINABILITY FEATURES
- District Energy System: expected to meet up to 90% of heating and domestic hot water requirements of the development
- Natural stormwater management and treatment
- Compact, diverse neighbourhood design that supports active transportation
- LEED-ND pilot project
Located six kilometres south of the Resort Municipality of Whistler, the Whistler Olympic Village—also called Cheakamus Crossing--was built for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games to house approximately 3,500 visiting athletes and officials. The compact, pedestrian-focused development supports active transportation such as walking and bicycling, as well as car sharing. It is intended to become a vibrant neighbourhood with a diverse housing mix and proximity to numerous recreational opportunities and neighbourhood services.
Housing types include 221 resident-restricted homes for sale, fifty-five rental apartments for the Whistler Housing Authority, twenty market townhouses, 188 hostel beds and twenty unrestricted single-family lots. The neighbourhood also includes an Athletes Centre with the 100-room Athletes Lodge, twenty rental townhomes for athletes and the High Performance Centre. Following the Games, all of these will be managed and operated by the Whistler 2010 Sport Legacies Society. The Whistler Olympic/ Paralympic Village is one of only twenty Canadian developments designated as pilot projects for LEED-ND, which sets the highest standards in green neighbourhood design practices in North America.
ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
In preparing the site for development, measures were taken to protect and enhance the natural wetlands and preserve much of the original vegetation. The resulting wetland complex now serves the triple purpose of on-site stormwater retention and treatment as well as habitat enhancement. In addition, rain gardens situated throughout the site help to infiltrate rainwater while “ecolawns” (open grass areas using highly drought-tolerant and low-maintenance plants) replace conventional, high-maintenance lawns.
During construction, 90% of the aggregate used for fill originated from waste material on site. No old growth forest products were used for framing; instead, building materials include urea formaldehyde-free engineered wood products from local suppliers, thus reducing toxins.
A unique District Energy System (DES) that extracts low-temperature ambient heat from treated wastewater effluent, making it flexible enough to provide both heating and cooling, services the neighbourhood. After extracting the heat, the DES transfers it to a distribution system that can provide space heating as well as domestic hot water heating and cooling for approximately 2,200 users occupying 85,000 square metres of space. It is one of the first closed-looped heating and cooling district energy systems in the world. The DES is expected to result in a reduction of more than 50 percent in energy use associated with space and water heating compared to BC Building Code requirements, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by over 90 percent.
In addition, homes in the Whistler Olympic Village exceed Energuide Plus ratings (the official Natural Resources Canada labeling and rating system for residential energy efficiency) with energy efficient lighting, radiant floor heating, double pane vinyl windows (with a maximum overall u-value of 0.46 or less), and Energy Star appliances.
Dual flush toilets, low-flow faucets and shower heads, native landscaping suited to the local environment and high-efficiency irrigation systems contribute to achieving water savings of up to fifty percent. The use of Ecologo-certified paint with low percentages of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), along with urea formaldehyde-free cabinetry and flooring ensure high indoor air quality. Interior design includes carpeting with recycled content, and all floor coverings meet either the standards of the Carpet and Rug Institute Green Label Indoor Air Quality Test Program or carry the Canadian Environmental Choice certification.
Many construction materials, including rock, concrete and framing lumber, were regionally sourced. In order to achieve resilience and longevity of the neighbourhood, buildings were constructed with durable, non-combustible siding and a higher than thirty-year life expectancy for roofing materials.
The energy and water efficiencies achieved by this development will result in significant operational cost savings. The District Energy System provides a source of energy that is economically and environmentally sustainable, reducing greenhouse gas emissions as well as dependence on fossil fuels.
By using local trades, the development stimulated the local economy over the three-year construction period. Following the Winter Games, the Athletes Centre, which includes both residential and commercial space, will continue to function as a training facility for visiting athletes. The Athletes Lodge as well as twenty townhome units will provide room and accommodation for both summer and winter athletes, acting as an ongoing economic generator for the whole community.
After the Winter Games, the Whistler Olympic/ Paralympic Village will provide much-needed affordable housing units for local residents. The development supports both Whistler’s goal of housing 75% of its workforce in the community at an affordable rate and its carbon reduction goals. Under the Whistler 2020 sustainability planning process, the community agreed to raise the bed cap from 55,000 to a maximum of 61,650, with the provision that the increase was dedicated to achieving the sustainability goal of housing three-quarters of Whistler’s workforce in the community. Without this decision, the Athlete Village would have served only as a temporary facility. The neighbourhood has the potential to be expanded to three times its current size if warranted by an increasing demand for affordable housing and community services. In addition, many of the units incorporate accessibility as a key feature.
- Cheakamus Crossing: Whistler’s Newest Resident Community. http://www.cheakamuscrossing.ca/
- Resort Municipality of Whistler: Transforming a landfill to Whistler’s newest neigbhourhood. http://www.whistler.ca/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=276&Itemid=98
- Riverbend Homes http://www.riverbendhomes.ca/pdfs/riverbend_brochure.pdf
- Senga Landscape Architecture http://www.sengadesigns.com/portfolio/planning/whistler-athletes-village.aspx
- Vance, Mike (Resort Municipality of Whistler). Pers. Communication.