Build Back Better, Build Back Green

Welcome to the “Road Trip Across BC” series from the BC CORE Cleantech Cluster, where we explore innovative companies across various regions in British Columbia. In this week’s article, we get out and about in the Lower Mainland, a hotbed of innovation in the built environment

The Low Emissions Coffee Shop

Next time you’re in the Lower Mainland region of BC enjoying a latte at a local Starbucks, look around; you may be in Canada’s first sustainably built, zero construction waste coffee shop. 

Built by Nexii, a green construction company specializing in high-performance buildings and retrofit products, this Starbucks cafe in Abbotsford, BC was built offsite using modular construction methods and assembled onsite with close-to-zero waste.

Not only is the building cool in the summer, warm in the winter, and energy efficient, you can also enjoy a bit of BC’s laid-back cafe culture. So enjoy!

For Nexii, sustainability is not just about what you build (in this case, highly energy efficient buildings), but how you build it. Nexii’s zero waste, precision manufacturing processes are a significant transformation in an industry that is seeking to reduce its carbon footprint.

“For North America to rebuild sustainably and achieve a green economic recovery, every industry needs to innovate and invest in new technologies. Buildings and construction together is the top contributor to global climate pollution, and Nexii has the potential to curb the environmental impacts created by our buildings.“
– Stephen Sidwell, CEO, Nexii

Next Stop: The Dorm Room We All Wish We Had

At 18 storeys high, the Brock Commons building at the University of British Columbia (UBC) is a student residence constructed of mass timber and the world’s tallest contemporary wood building. 

Built by the team at Seagate Structures in Surrey, BC,  this is not only a beautiful building inside, it is something BC should be proud of – a showcase of innovation and low-emission building technology. 

British Columbia is a known centre of excellence in mass timber, with a growing number of mass timber buildings across the province. 

(For example, while you’re visiting Seagate in Surrey, why not stop by the City of Surrey’s Grandview Heights Aquatic Centre for a swim – another mass timber building with stunning architecture.) 

Breathable and Biocomposite Walls

Green building innovations come in all sizes. As you continue your travels in the Lower Mainland, hop a ferry over to Bowen Island and check out Hempcrete Naturals, who build mini-homes made of their hempcrete breathable wall systems.

Or stay a little longer up near UBC and visit Calmura Natural Walls to check out their biocomposite wall system.

More Efficient Buildings = Green Buildings

One way to “build back better’ is to build and manage energy-efficient buildings.  A company you don’t want to miss in this category is SensoDrive, a 2021 Foresight Cleantech Award winner in the Newcomer category. 

Coming out of SFU Venture Labs and located in the hub of SFU Harbour Centre in downtown Vancouver, their smart platform aggregates and reports on building data, improving efficiencies, and reducing emissions. 

Reaching our Goals

Goal 11 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (which Canada committed to implementing in 2015), says “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.”  

Leaders across the province are taking that goal seriously and driving innovation in the built environment.  Spurred in part by progressive legislation, regulations, building codes, and climate goals from all levels of government, the Lower Mainland is becoming a centre of green building innovation. 

A clean, green, livable region with modern, sustainable buildings – the Lower Mainland is worth a stop on your next road trip. 

Nexii is growing rapidly and actively hiring for multiple roles in green building/construction. See their career opportunities. Check out the Foresight Job Board for more cleantech careers.

If you are an industrial company looking to scale up your innovation plans towards sustainable, circular solutions, contact Foresight’s VP of Commercialization, Jacob Malthouse to discuss how you can partner with us to access Western Canada’s biggest agenda-setting cleantech intelligence network and drive your innovation agenda. 

If you are a cleantech SME or startup looking to expand your horizons, scale up your business or explore opportunities in the circular economy, join our Community of Innovators today. We look forward to hearing from you!