YWCA Elm Centre
YWCA Elm Centre
YWCA Toronto and Wigwamen Inc
2009 - 2011
The YWCA Elm Centre is one of the largest social housing projects to be developed in downtown Toronto. The Centre combines new administrative offices for YWCA Toronto with two new residential communities comprising 300 new affordable rental housing units.
This two-building complex in downtown Toronto houses residential, administrative and community services for YWCA Toronto. The Jean Tweed Centre, which works with women facing substance abuse, and Wigwamen Inc., an aboriginal housing development organization, are partners in the project. The complex is organized around an internal courtyard, and provides offices, food services, retail, meeting and multi-purpose rooms, and community services for the three organizations. A playground for the children of all residents is also nestled within the courtyard.
The residential floors of the complex contain 300 residential units for YWCA Toronto and Wigwamen tenants. YWCA Toronto’s administrative offices are housed in the heritage structure on Elm. The northern block is set back from the heritage building but is linked with a new Atrium to highlight its original relationship with Elm Street. The streetscape has been similarly designed to complement the heritage character.
The project has incorporated a number of Green Building strategies and systems, as per CAGBC’s LEED Rating System. In particular, energy-efficiency and reduced life-cycle costs were targeted. The building design includes an improved thermal building envelope, central ventilation energy recovery, radiant heating and cooling, and a ground source heat pump system. YWCA Elm Centre was designed to LEED Silver criteria in 2009.
The building complex also features a multi-stage heat recovery system, and a geothermal water-to-water heat pump system integrated with an innovative thermally-activated slab radiant heating and cooling system. The system, designed to deliver 3 million Btu/hr, is fed by a geothermal well field of 90 500-foot (152 m) deep vertical boreholes located under the parking garage structure. This design is estimated to reduce carbon emissions by 415 tons – or 45 percent – per year which far exceeds the energy savings achieved when compared with conventional mechanical systems.