William Farrell Building Revitalization for Telus


555 Robson St

Vancouver, BC


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Date Completed
Building area
12,075 m2
$13 million
Certifications & Awards
  • 2001 Design Resource Award, First Place
  • 2000 Award of Excellence, Consulting Engineers of British Columbia
  • 2000 National Energy Efficiency Award
  • International Green Building Challenge 2000, Maastricht, Netherlands
  • Canadian Glass Magazine, Great Canadian Curtainwall Contest, First Place, 2002
  • What Makes it Green? AIA, 2001
Project Team
  • Owner: Telus Communications
  • Architect: Busby Perkins+Will (formerly Busby + Associates)
  • Structural Engineer: Read Jones Christofferson Ltd.
  • Mechanical Engineer: Stantec (formerly Keen Engineering)
  • Electrical Engineer: Reid Crowther & Partners
  • Contractor: Dominion Company
  • Cost Consultants: James Bush & Associates
  • Environmental Consultants: PHH Environmental
  • Interiors: Busby Perkins+Will
  • Industrial Design: Designlines Ltd


Key Sustainability Features

  • 75% reused/recycled materials
  • 61% energy below ASHRAE 90.1 or the MNECB
  • Decision to recycle building saved 16,000 tonnes of solid waste landfill
  • This decision also saved 15,600 tonnes of greenhouse emissions
  • Building systems operations save 520 tonnes of greenhouse emissions per year
  • Over a 75-year lifespan, this project will save 54,600 tonnes of greenhouse emissions

The Telus building is an excellent example of sustainable retrofit design. One hundred percent of the original 1941 building was used within the design. This eliminated demolition and reconstruction costs, and preserved the historical integrity of the building. Seventy percent of all materials, including operating machinery, windows and door fittings, were reused and/or recycled during the building process. Interior construction transformed office and equipment space into a comfortable, open-plan office, commercial, and presentation space.

This building is the first in Canada to use a "double skin" facade for maximizing passive solar heat gain, winter insulation, natural ventilation and natural daylighting. The "double skin" creates a thermal buffer around a building allowing for high efficiency of all energy systems. A double-glazed, cladding system is suspended 90 cm from the exterior walls of the original building and incorporates a push button ventilation system for each floor of the building. Photovoltaic panels integrated in the glazing system run fans to assist in naturally ventilating the facade in winter. The fritted, frameless exterior skin creates an additional insulation layer in the winter, provides shade in the summer and acts as an air intake plenum in off-peak seasons. Together this system results in 61% less energy consumption than the ASHRAE 90.1 standard requires.

This project incorporates several low-energy strategies which support a high quality indoor environment. These include an under floor air system with occupant controlled fans, manually controlled interior windows, and the use of internal light shelves to distribute natural light. To further decrease heating costs, waste heat is used from the existing refrigeration plant within the building complex. To support alternative commuting habits, employees and visitors are offered end of trip amenities such as bicycle storage, showers and changing rooms.


This post was imported from the 'Greater Vancouver Green Guide', it's part of the 'Green Guide Portal' to the Green Building Brain.