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HRAI MITSUBISHI Main Article Nov7 2022

Mitsubishi Electric Heating & Cooling is proud to announce Indwell as its 2021 Sustainable Builder of the Year Award winner. In particular, Indwell won the award for the North End Landing project. They were also selected for their long-running commitment to sustainable building which the non-profit has embraced for over a decade as part of its mission to create affordable housing communities.

"It was a surprise and honour to receive this award," says Graham Cubitt, director of projects and development with Indwell. "We're thrilled because it underscores our commitment to figuring out how to get off of burning gas and become much more energy efficient. It also recognizes our efforts to lead the development industry in a new direction for sustainability."

Indwell has been honing its skill in sustainable building practices since the early 2010s. One of the first projects to highlight this was the renovation of the old Driftwood Tavern, a former nightclub in Hamilton.

"We were doing a full, top-to-bottom renovation with all new systems while adding a third floor and had decided to shoot for 40%  greater energy efficiency than Canada’s National Energy Code for Buildings," Cubitt recalls. "We hit that, but we were still burning gas and wanted to do even better the next time."

From that project forward, Indwell focused on processes, technologies, and best practices to reduce or outright eliminate GHG emissions within its projects, both to do its part in addressing climate change and to leave a more eco-forward footprint. This proved challenging for the non-profit, as it could not raise rents to support its ambitions. As such, the company needed ways to future-proof its own costs, reduce emissions, and ultimately benefit its clients through lower utility bills.

"We knew we had to do something different, so we went right back to the drawing board and said, 'Let's rethink how we actually design the building,'" says Cubitt. "That's what led us to adopt the Passive House standard in 2016 and going forward with an approach that focuses on designing and developing high-performance building envelopes, reducing our energy needs at every opportunity, and moving away from burning gas as cost-effectively as we could. Heat-pumps have been key to this transition."

In 2019, Indwell cut the ribbon on its first Passive House building, Parkdale Landing (listed below).  Three years later, it has added numerous Passive House showpieces to its portfolio, including McQuesten Lofts which won “Best Overall Project” in 2021 for PHIUS-certified projects in North America.

Partners in sustainability

Mitsubishi Electric is proud to play a role in supporting Indwell’s Passive House projects. Over the years, its electrical HVAC equipment has been used in numerous Passive House standard and Certified projects, including:

  • 373 Blossom Park Road, (Woodstock, ON) – PHI certified
  • North End Landing (Hamilton, ON) – PHI certified
  • Parkade Landing (Hamilton, ON) - EnerPHit
  • McQuesten Lofts (Hamilton, ON) – PHIUS certified
  • Lakeshore Lofts, (Mississauga ON) - PHIUS
  • Embassy Commons (London, ON) - PHIUS
  • The Oaks, Phases 1 & 2. (Hamilton, ON) - PHIUS
  • Dogwood Suites (Simcoe, ON) - PHIUS
  • St Mark's Place (Kitchener, ON)  – PHIUS, under construction 
  • The Station (St.Thomas, ON) – PHIUS, under construction

CK Engineering has been a constant partner with Indwell in many of its Passive House builds. Reflecting on its engineering and mechanical work across several Indwell projects, Chandra Kuruppu, president of CK Engineering, says the use of energy-efficient equipment has gone a long way towards Indwell’s sustainable building objectives, explaining, “The Mitsubishi Electric VRF system has been a very important piece of equipment to achieve the Passive House requirement. It’s allowed us to provide heating and cooling based on the winter or the summer conditions without any carbon emissions and without the need for any other heating or cooling devices in the unit.”

“Indwell is a role model for the industry,” he adds. “Ever since they’ve focused on energy efficiency and carbon reductions in their builds, they’ve been one of the pioneers of Passive House or PHIUS concept.”

Mitsubishi’s VRF units have been supplied by MITS Air Conditioning Inc., who nominated Indwell for the Sustainable Builder of the Year Award.

“The goal for many of the projects has been to keep the energy demand as low as possible, which is where Mitsubishi Electric’s VRF system has been of great benefit,” adds Birty Rajapaksha, P. Eng., sales engineer with MITS Air Conditioning Inc., noting, “That’s why, when Mitsubishi Electric Sales Canada Inc. [MESCA] asked us who we’d like nominated for the award, Indwell was an easy choice.”

A learning process

It's been over a decade since Indwell doubled down on sustainable building. In that time, the team has seen the difference that true collaboration makes.

"It's all about working as a team. That's the number one thing," Cubitt offers. " The architects have to work closely with the mechanical and electrical engineers, structural engineers, the energy modelers, and the contractors. It doesn't work when anyone says, 'Hey, this is what we do. You guys figure out the energy impacts,' and points the finger at somebody else to come up with a better solution. There has to be good cooperation from the start."

Indwell hopes to keep learning as it continues to bring even more affordable housing projects online for the Canadians who need it most. With plans already in place – including what may possibly be Canada’s first Passive House Fire Hall within an affordable housing project – Cubitt looks forward to marking new milestones down the road.

Established in 1979, Mitsubishi Electric Sales Canada Inc. provides an extensive line of commercial and residential products including heating and air conditioning, energy recovery and fresh air ventilators, water heating and cooling technology, and more. Mitsubishi Electric continues to not only be a market leader in the Canadian market, but also throughout the world, pioneering global innovation for 100 years in the manufacturing, marketing and sales of electrical and electronic equipment used in information processing and communications, industrial technology, energy, transportation and construction. No matter what you do, where you live, work or play, chances are a Mitsubishi Electric product enhances the quality of your life. For more, visit www.mitsubishielectric.ca.

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