The unique and innovative West5 mixed-use development in London, Ontario is billed as the first-large scale, privately developed sustainable smart community in the world.
And recently, s2e Technologies and Sifton Properties Ltd., developers of the project, were recognized with the 2017 Smart Energy Communities Award by Quest – Quality Urban Energy Systems of Tomorrow. It honours leadership and innovation in advancing Smart Energy Communities in Canada.
The 2017 Real Estate Sector award was presented to s2e and Sifton for West5 as it sets a new standard for smart, sustainable communities. The development covers 70 master-planned acres with 2.5 million square feet of integrated mixed-use buildings which, together, provide all of their own energy needs.
Phil Masschelein, vice-president of Neighbourhood Developments for Sifton, says all municipal approvals are in hand from the zoning and subdivision level for the project. West5 has a target completion date of 10 years, but it will be market driven.
Sifton Centre, townhomes built
The Sifton Centre, a three-storey, 60,000-square-foot office building, was completed this year. Also, 87 rental townhomes are under construction, about half already built and occupied.
He says a veterinary clinic is also under construction and will be finished in March.
Masschelein says three projects are scheduled for 2018.
Its first large-scale, mixed-use building will begin construction. This is a 10-storey structure with retail on the first level and residential apartments above. It will open at the end of 2019 or during 2020.
More townhomes will also be coming onto the market next year. Sifton is currently in the site plan stage for those residences, so the number of units involved has not yet been determined.
Construction will also begin in 2018 on a three-storey medical centre with ground floor retail.
Construction to accelerate
“It’s really taking shape and 2018 there’s going to be a lot of construction happening and we’re going to start to see the neighbourhood take shape,” says Masschelein.
Derek Satnik, vice-president of technology of s2e Technologies based in St. Jacobs, Ontario, says the project is in its early stages but construction is expected to accelerate.
“It is the first, and to our knowledge biggest in Canada and possibly in North America, private development community that is a full mixed-use community that is actively pursuing that solar energy at the community level,” he says.
“This community provides its own energy which obviously is atypical and we do that mostly through solar panels on site … Most communities have buildings that are nowhere near as efficient as these are, so it would not be nearly as easy to actually power them from local energy. We made these buildings super efficient so we can power them locally.”
Tonja Leach, Quest’s senior lead, national affairs and services, says smart communities are all about energy efficiency and they benefit from improved energy efficiencies, reduced costs, improved resiliency and ultimately a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
“The reason we care about communities is that 60 per cent of energy in Canada is used in our communities and 50 per cent of our emissions come from our communities,” says Leach. “So if we’re going to meet our climate change objectives, it really is all about energy and it’s all about focusing on the 60 per cent of where our energy is used, which is in our communities.”
Sustainability features in West5
Sustainability features of the West5 project include:
* Energy efficiency
* Solar panels
* Solar streetlights
* Solar parkades
* Community gardens
* Green roofs
* EV charging stations
s2e specializes in the creation and delivery of large-scale sustainable solutions and smart communities.
Sifton, based in London, is a construction and development company that builds both residential and commercial buildings.