The role of new development in the future of green cities

The role of new development in the future of green cities

How architecture and engineering promote sustainable lifestyles in urban centres

Developers build for the future. But only recently has sustainability become a major factor for the industry. Over the last decade, developers experienced a dramatic shift from regarding green features as optional features to following mandatory green standards. And with each passing year, technology continues to advance and introduce even more ways to increase efficiency and overall building performance while decreasing its environmental impact.

With the severity and awareness of climate change growing, and municipalities planning towards intensification, populations are prompt to adapt new habits and alter their lifestyles to find a more sustainable way of living. From taking public transit to turning off the lights when leaving a room, many are becoming more environmentally conscientious and are seeking support to make sustainable living more convenient and accessible. Finding a balance between user-driven design and environmental performance is key, a challenge which Devron’s founders are well acquainted from their backgrounds in architecture, engineering and sustainable design.

“It only takes a couple of years to construct a high rise building, but that building will continue to stand beyond my lifetime,” says Pouyan Safapour, CEO, Devron Developments. “One of the greatest responsibilities we have as developers is to ensure that the design and construction reflects our values for the future and doesn’t simply react to the current market. We can ensure that the design of the building supports a more sustainable lifestyle and, in turn, moving whole neighbourhoods and cities towards a greener future.”

Pushing beyond Green Standards

Devron Developments is constructing a remarkably sustainable 25-storey mixed-use condominium in the Grandview neighbourhood called The Vanguard. It’s currently planned for LEED gold certification, a status only 23 residential buildings in City of Markham presently hold.

While achieving such high standards for building performance is impressive, it’s the thoughtfulness behind the design that makes The Vanguard standout. The Vanguard will use 35 per cent renewable energy, 20 per cent less water than a standard building, 30 per cent regional construction material, and 20 per cent post-consumer material. The project achieves this through a combination of green features, including the installation of Tesla Destination Chargers and Electric Vehicle chargers to the building-wide water filtration system.

The Vanguard is also designed to maintain its sustainability mandate beyond what is required of the LEED certification. The criteria for green power requires the building to have 35 per cent of its power generated from a renewable source. The Vanguard is obligated to have a green energy provider for at least two years, but Devron also added special exercise bikes to the fitness facilities that generate energy that contributes back to the building’s grid too. These will continue to be a source of renewable energy and maintain Devron’s commitment to a holistic sustainable lifestyle.

Building for families

While condos are associated with downtown urban living, The Vanguard will be one of the first high-density developments in the predominantly low-rise residential Grandview neighbourhood. Devron recognized that potential purchasers are mostly families looking into the highly desirable neighbourhood. But with limited low-rise stock in one of the city’s hottest real estate markets on record, The Vanguard offers an incredible alternative that offers more than most traditional houses.

“Families want a space to raise their kids that support their values, which includes sensitivity to the environment,” says Safapour. “They want access to the outdoors to play, enough rooms in the home to give everyone a sense of privacy, and built-in features that make sustainable living more convenient. We were tasked to design a condo that offers all of that, while furthering its attractiveness by offering amenities that support a healthy family lifestyle.”

The Vanguard will have suites with up to four bedrooms and a one-of-a-kind children’s playroom complete with a playful sculptural tree. Amenities also include a stunning 7,000 s.f. rooftop terrace, kitted out with a culinary centre, community garden and lawn space. In addition to combating Urban Heat Island Effect, the terrace is planted with native species and drought resistant plants, and is irrigated using collected rainwater.

Setting the bar for the city

The right building materials need to meet both aesthetic and sustainability goals. In lieu of constructing a predominantly glass tower, The Vanguard will be clad in cast limestone, which gives the project a timeless look while also offering superior insulation.

“Every green feature contributes to the project’s integrity,” says Safapour. “If the technology and resources exist to build a greener future, it’s our responsibility to lead the way. As developers, we lay down the foundation for a more sustainable lifestyle and a more environmentally conscious city. As long as the industry strives to further reduce our ecological impact, we will continue to do the same with each consecutive project.”



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