When Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) decided to move their headquarters to a new location in the False Creek area of Vancouver, they had goals far beyond that of simply providing adequate space for their growing staff. They wanted a building that would represent all that their company had come to stand for: strong core values rooted in sustainability. Kerr Wood Leidal, recognized for incorporating these same values into sustainable design and construction, was retained to provide site servicing and grading design, construction inspection, and erosion and sediment control plans for the new head office.
Contaminated soils persisting from the site’s earlier days as industrial lands presented a challenge. Infiltration of stormwater through the ground was not possible, so KWL, together with the consultant team, developed a scheme to treat parking lot runoff through a bio-filtration rain garden. The bottom of the facility was lined to prevent filtered rainwater runoff from penetrating the contaminated soils. Instead, it is conveyed to the storm drainage system. KWL’s innovation continued with the design of a system to harvest rainwater from the building roof and store it in a 25,000 litre cistern to be reused for toilet flushing.
The opening of the MEC Head Office in 2014 completed the vision that the company had set out to achieve. KWL’s contribution to the project helped the building to achieve LEED® certification, bringing together elements of sustainability and functionality, with an added bonus of providing attractive landscaping.
This project won the 2015 Canadian Green Building Design Award.