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Green Is Good

Vancouver Office

Moments before the makeshift puppet show that appears to be taking place in this photo, Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson (centre) was on hand to laud The Exchange tower as the latest initiative in making Vancouver “the greenest city in the world.” But still, the $200M, 31-storey office tower in the city’s financial district has a significant heritage component attached to it (the 85-year-old Old Stock Exchange), making those sustainability targets challenging. The Exchange, developed by European investment bank Credit Suisse, will be the second tallest office tower in Canada to achieve LEED Platinum.


Iredale Group is working with renowned Swiss architect Harry Gugger on the project. Iredale architect Peter Hildebrand confirms this is the first LEED Platinum project with the inclusion of a heritage building that’s been undertaken in Canada. Heritage and LEED "are not always pulling in the same direction," he adds.


Heritage aims to maintain the original intention of buildings; LEED requires the incorporation of new and efficient technologies. “A big part of pursuing LEED Platinum certification is to retain large parts of the existing building, keeping materials out of the landfill,” he adds. A good example of balancing both worlds is with the windows—the existing units retain the character of the original building but are not nearly as effective as the latest triple-glazed windows on the market, Peter says.