Research

The Vienna House community will yield a wealth of lessons. Here are a few research projects in the works that will seek to capture them.

BC Housing Research & Reports

The first Vienna House workshop sought to share information between the cities of Vancouver and Vienna on best practices in innovative affordable wood social housing projects, and identify state-of-the-art solutions and best practices.

DOWNLOAD: IDP Workshop 1 Summary

The second workshop helped equip the project steering committee with the information needed to hire the project team. In particular, it focused on developing a commercially oriented and competitive procurement path.

DOWNLOAD: IDP Workshop 2 Summary

The third Vienna House workshop provided an opportunity for enhanced collaboration between the projects in Vienna and Vancouver, and highlighted social housing objectives, initiatives, and projects.

DOWNLOAD: IDP Workshop 3 Summary

The final Vienna House workshop compared the project and process in Vienna as discussed in the previous workshop. It also provided background information about the project and its participants, as well as initial strategies, as the design phase got underway.

DOWNLOAD: IDP Workshop 4 Summary

Design for Disassembly

This report provides resources for designers and architects to implement Design for Disassembly principles, and highlights opportunities to use wood in construction.

DOWNLOAD: Design for Disassembly

Integrated Building Adaptation and Mitigation Assessment (IBAMA)

In partnership with BC Housing, this University of British Columbia-led project is investigating how the design, construction and operations of multi-unit residential buildings such as Vienna House can effectively integrate both climate mitigation and adaptation considerations. The need for this integration stems from the unintended consequences that may result from adaptation policies and practices being developed separately, or as add-ons to more established green building systems for optimizing buildings’ environmental performance.

Mobilizing Building Adaptation and Resilience (MBAR)

Mobilizing Building Adaptation and Resilience (MBAR) is a multi-year, multi-stakeholder knowledge and capacity building project led by BC Housing, with participation and contribution from over 30 organizations. MBAR addresses climate change impacts on buildings and neighbourhoods. Knowledge created by the MBAR initiative can help building owners address and minimize the impacts of climate change on buildings and people living in them.

University of British Columbia

Integrated Research and Education

The Vienna House project aims to demonstrate innovation, while also responding to housing affordability pressures, and provide a showcase for learning by the local building industry. The project represents a unique opportunity to study high-performance prefabricated affordable housing in Vancouver, and share the learnings with industry and policymakers in other cities facing similar challenges.

A research collaboration between the UBC Sustainability Initiative and faculty members from the UBC Department of Civil Engineering will study the design, manufacturing, construction, commissioning processes—and document the challenges, solutions and lessons learned.

As part of a larger research project led by the BC Housing Research Centre, the UBC Collaborative Research Group will also work with researchers and consultants from other organizations to push the boundaries of sustainability and innovation. Potential areas of interest include energy performance, virtual design and construction (VDC), building information modelling (BIM), mass timber product performance, life-cycle assessments, prefabrication and construction productivity, among others.

The experiences and lessons learned from Vienna House, including knowledge exchange between the City of Vancouver and the City of Vienna, have the potential to inform future sustainable and affordable housing projects in Vancouver, the province and beyond. For this reason, knowledge transfer and dissemination will be a key part of the research and communications efforts.

The UBC research team will develop education materials that describe key innovations, first in the planning and design stages, and then during construction and commissioning. These materials will support the project’s aim of becoming a template for future affordable and sustainable housing projects, as well as creating the policies and regulations needed to support them.

The research is planned to span over three years—from 2020 to 2023—to align with the planning/design and construction/commissioning phases of the building project. Research activities will be conducted throughout these phases, and the materials produced will be published by the end of each
phase.

FPInnovations

FPInnovations (FPI) is a private not-for-profit research organization that creates solutions to support the Canadian forestry sector’s global competitiveness. The Sustainable Construction group carries out state-of-the-art research, develops advanced technologies, and delivers creative solutions for wood-based building systems.

This program measures the performance of innovative wood-based buildings using non-destructive testing and monitoring methods. The organization does so to:

  • Compare field measurement results with design expectations to improve the designs of future buildings,
  • Validate modelling to improve design tools, and
  • Acquire field performance data needed to fill priority knowledge gaps and to support regulatory and market acceptance for innovative (e.g., taller, larger, energy efficient, prefabricated) wood buildings.

During Vienna House construction, FPInnovations may test for building lateral vibration, floor vibration, and acoustics. On a longer-term basis, the organization may monitor durability, building envelope performance, occupant comfort, energy efficiency, and building lateral performance.

Integral Group

Integral Group conducted a study for the City of Vancouver examining the options for providing domestic hot water at Vienna House using heat pumps that use carbon dioxide (CO2) as the refrigerant. This study explored the use of three different and emerging CO2 heat pump products that are new to the Vancouver market.

DOWNLOAD: CO2 ASHPs for Domestic Hot Water

Dunefield Consulting

An Exploratory Review of Social Housing Models in Vienna

This project aims to study the often overlooked and currently unknown social and economic impacts of social housing models in Vienna, Austria, to assess their applicability to Vancouver. In particular, the team will study how these models are contributing to a more diverse society, inclusive of those with disabilities, new immigrants, young families, and seniors. Dunefield will research case studies to establish the current context of social housing projects in Vienna, conduct interviews to establish the social-economic impacts of these projects from the perspectives of residents, city planners, and architects, and determine the viability of the learnings in the Vancouver context.