Pushing the Envelope: The Origine project in Québec

The Origine project in Québec sets the stage for more sustainable building practices in North America

Paving the way for further growth of tall wood construction in the North American market, Origine is a 13-storey, 92-unit residential tower located on the banks of the Saint-Charles River in the Pointe-aux-Lièvres district of Quebec City.  Built by Quebec-based Nordic Structures, the tower, once completed, will be one of the tallest wood buildings in North America.  It will boast 41 meters or 12 stories of solid wood construction, predominantly glue-laminated timber (posts and columns) and cross-laminated timber (CLT), supported by a concrete podium. 

While offering a number of benefits, a building envelope of its height consisting primarily of wood made some uneasy.  Fire safety a top concern, particularly since Origine is laying the groundwork for future sustainable wood buildings.  The project was extensively fire-tested with mockups at the National Research Council in Ottawa. The tests showed that Origine’s building envelope could meet and even exceed existing fire safety standards.  While proving that CLT holds up adequately in the event of a fire, passive fire protection remained an important safety element to be built into the structure.  The non-combustible nature of ROCKWOOL stone wool made it the first choice in this application.  ROCKWOOL COMFORTBOARD™ 110 was installed to provide a layer of continuous exterior insulation, offering important fire resistance while improving energy efficiency.  To that end, the COMFORTBOARD™ 110, combined with Origine’s massive wood panels, reduce thermal bridging to a minimum.  The panels themselves, meanwhile, provide a perfect substrate for the insulation fasteners.  It is estimated that a wood building’s energy costs can be about 60 per cent of a standard building. Choosing lumber for the structure and other sustainable materials, like the ROCKWOOL insulation, will substantially reduce the building’s environmental impact in terms of embodied energy, as well as its carbon footprint.

Location Card

Québec City, Québec (Pointe-aux-Lièvres district)

Origine case study 4

The desire was to build a condominium complex that was also safe, quiet, and comfortable as well as environmentally responsible––all reasons ROCKWOOL was an ideal fit.  In addition to fire protection and energy efficiency, ROCKWOOL COMFORTBOARD™ 110 will contribute to a safe, quiet, and comfortable condominium complex.  COMFORTBOARD™ 110 was selected for its thermal and acoustical properties, as well as its dimensional stability, vapour permeance and UV resistance. With its riverside location and Quebec’s harsh climate, its drainage capabilities and water-resistant properties proved advantageous.  ROCKWOOL stone wool also complemented the Origine’s environmentally-aware approach, as well as its sustainability profile.  The Origine project is seeking to achieve LEED® certification.

“Sustainability goes hand-in-hand with tall wood construction,” says Blouin. “Building with sustainably harvested wood can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pollution.  It’s estimated that Origine’s wood construction will prevent 1,000 tonnes of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere, while storing 2,065 tonnes of atmospheric carbon in the condo’s wood construction panels.  It simply made sense, then, that our choice of insulation support our project’s sustainability efforts.”

Quality material selection and thoughtful construction means that despite the area’s extremely cold winters, Origine’s occupants will enjoy stable indoor temperatures and lower energy costs.  Touting the best of both worlds – nature within the urban landscape, it was vital that the building offer a peaceful, relaxing atmosphere.  NRC Sound Testing, combined with the density and non-directional fibre structure of stone wool insulation, ensures owners will be protected from outdoor noise, complementing Origine’s serene riverside setting. With safety literally built in through CLT’s proven fire resistance and the building’s non-combustible, moisture-resistant insulation, owners can be confident of their choice to be rooted in nature—both in terms of location and the sustainable, reliable composition of their home.

Developers

NEB Consortium which includes Nordic Structures (wood structure manufacturer), EBC Inc. (general contractor), and Synchro Immobilier (developer)

Architect

Yvan Blouin Architecte
200-2511 ch. Ste-Foy
Québec, Canada G1V 1T7

Project Size

13 total storeys (12 storeys CLT), 92 residential units
Building area CLT - 897 m2
Ground surface area (concrete) - 1,577 m2

Project Value

$30 million

Construction Period

June 2016 to Fall 2017

COMFORTBOARD™ 110

COMFORTBOARD™ 110 is a rigid, high-density, non-combustible, stone wool insulation board designed for use as an exterior continuous insulation in commercial applications. 

ROCKWOOL Comfortboard 110
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