60_80: A Model for 21st Century Sustainable Design

rendering of modern wood frame 80 Atlantic commercial building

80 Atlantic is a model for 21st century sustainable design.

Not only is it built from heavy timber, the only renewable structural material available, but the timber is also both Canadian grown and manufactured. The other beauty of wood is that it also sequesters carbon; carbon dioxide is naturally captured by trees while living and if burned or allowed to decay, this would release. When manufactured into heavy timber, it holds or sequesters the carbon for the life of the building.

Picture of concrete stating 410 kg Co2, picture of steel stating 8,200 kg Co2, picture of wood stating -1,000 kg Co2

We engaged RWDI to perform a lifecycle analysis for 80 Atlantic to determine the embodied carbon of the building. Operational carbon is the carbon load created by the fuel used to heat and power a building while embodied carbon is the carbon that is released in the manufacturing, production, transportation and maintenance of the building materials over its service life. As an industry, we tend to focus on operational carbon but more and more in the coming years we will see this shift to our needing to have a deeper understanding of embodied carbon as building codes and regulations move to include this reporting.

During design, we studied the structural systems in both concrete and timber. Following methodologies outlined in ISO 14044 and LEEDv4, we compared the carbon impacts of this decision.

The analysis showed:

  • The embodied carbon of this building if built of concrete would be the equivalent to 43 years of operational emissions;
  • Whereas the embodied carbon for this building in timber drops to the equivalent of 21 years of operational emissions.

We determined that 80 Atlantic as designed has half the embodied carbon than the same building would had it been designed solely in concrete.

a graph showing results of the lifecycle analysis

While the Building Code does not permit green roofs on wood buildings, we were able to propose an alternative solution, and as a result, this will be the first five-storey wood office building to have a green roof under this version of the Code.  

Sustainability extends outside of the building itself in that it celebrates low-emitting transportation alternatives. It is ideally situated in the heart of Liberty Village close to transit, with access to both TTC and the GO Exhibition station. Supergraphics lead cyclists down a ramp into generous bike storage, complete with shower amenities. Visiting cyclists to 80 Atlantic can park at City bike rings or under a protected area facing Jefferson with direct access to both 60 and 80. The parking garage also offers charging stations for electric vehicles.

close up rendering of 80 Atlantic showing the exposed wood frame and Liberty Village in the background
Rendering of 80 Atlantic showing the shared sunken courtyard between it and 60 Atlantic

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