Ford Building

47% reduction in natural gas use



Ford Building is situated at the corner of Main Street and East Hastings in Vancouver’s downtown east-side. The site includes 76 residential suites over eight (8) floors for social housing with commercial space on the ground floor. The structure was originally built in 1911 but through a major overhaul, was converted to the Ford Building in 1984 and is now owned and operated by Affordable Housing Societies.

Client Expectations

All major mechanical equipment is original to the renovation in the mid-80s and as such, will soon require upgrading to sustain building operation. The space heating boiler at Ford Building is nearing end of life and also serves an inefficient domestic hot water (DHW) production system, which overall results in high natural gas usage.

Affordable Housing Societies is motivated to implement more energy efficient systems in order to lower utility and maintenance costs while preserving or improving resident comfort. The client would like to provide new, reliable equipment with help from available incentive funding.

Project Outcome

In the summer of 2018, HiH Energy conducted an Energy Study of the facility, funded by the Social Housing Retrofit Support Program (SHRSP) through FortisBC, BC Hydro and Efficiency BC. The study revealed a recommendation to replace the boiler with a high efficiency condensing model for efficient supply of space heating and DHW. Beyond providing valuable energy savings, this installation would result in a much more reliable boiler plant with diminished maintenance requirements.

HiH also identified the opportunity to install a new make-up air unit for optimized delivery of ventilation air via a hybrid model that incorporates an air source heat pump for primary heating. This allows for significant energy usage to shift from natural gas to electricity while taking advantage of the efficient mechanical process offered by heat pumps and providing substantial GHG reductions.

The study predicts incentive funding of approximately $13,000 through the Fortis SHRSP program for the boiler upgrade in addition to over $15,000 through Efficiency BC for electrifying the ventilation unit. During implementation, the SHRSP program will also cover the remainder of project costs including engineering design and construction support.

Specific incentive amounts are currently being assigned during review of the Energy Study. Upon approval, we look forward to starting construction with completion next year.

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