The Cube, part of a new building trend in Calgary, Canada, is challenging the status quo as the city’s first office-to-residential space conversion and repurposing project. This 52,000-square-foot, seven-story building in Calgary’s Beltline neighborhood features 65 one- and two-bedroom residential rental units and is a short walk from the city’s downtown area. Once the aging Stephenson office building, the 38-year-old structure was converted to new residential and rental units in 2019.
The building’s developer, Ash Mahmoud, oversaw the conversion project. Mahmoud is managing director of Calgary-based Strategic Builders Inc (SBI), the construction arm of Strategic Group, which owns, manages and develops office, retail, and apartment properties across Canada.
“Cities like Calgary have seen office building vacancy rates as high as 27 percent in the past few years,” said Mahmoud. “Rather than let downtown buildings go unused, it has been one of our core missions to convert them into residential.”
In addition to incorporating contemporary designs and styling finishes, Mahmoud also sought the latest in boiler technology to heat the new development.
NEXT GENERATION HEAT
To conduct the HVAC overhaul, Mahmoud turned to Nu-Mun Contracting, a Calgary-based HVAC company offering commercial and residential plumbing, heating, and air conditioning services.
Working with SBI and the project engineer, David Muncaster, owner of Nu-Mun Contracting, devised a strategy to convert the building to a high efficiency boiler system and recommended specification of the Stainless Vertical Firetube (SVF) from Weil-McLain. Eric Cameron, project manager with Nu-Mun Contracting, oversaw the boiler installation at the building.
UNIT RECOMMENDATION: David Muncaster, owner of Nu-Mun Contracting, Calgary, Canada, devised a strategy to convert the building to a high-efficiency boiler system and recommended specification of the Stainless Vertical Firetube (SVF) from Weil-McLain.
“We have a long-standing relationship with Weil-McLain, and we trust the quality of their boilers,” said Cameron. “The SVF boilers were the perfect match for the space.”
To meet the building’s heating style and load, the team installed two SVF 1100 MBH high-efficiency condensing gas boilers in the building. The SVF boilers feature thermal efficiencies up to 97.1 percent, a clover-shaped stainless steel fire tube heat exchanger for corrosion resistance, and the Unity™ control system to simplify installation and operation.
“The SVF line offers cost savings and energy efficiencies that could allow owners to qualify for local utility rebates, if available,” said Craig Demaray, national sales manager with Weil-McLain Canada. “The SVF also meets all market-driven bid specifications and is designed for most heating needs including applications in schools and other educational facilities, public institutions, healthcare buildings, offices, hotels, multi-family, churches, and more.”
The high water content design of the SVF heat exchanger means a low-loss header is not required, providing cost savings so the boilers can simply be piped in a primary-secondary design.
The onboard Unity™ control system allows the boilers to communicate with each other in a Multiple Boiler System (MBS). In this configuration, a master boiler controls the modulation and sequencing of the boilers on the network to achieve the desired system supply temperature. “With the automatic sequencing feature, the boilers communicate directly with one another so they sequence themselves and rotate as needed,” said Cameron. “They operate to optimize energy use and efficiencies. When heat is required, the boilers will stage on as needed.”
In addition to offering serviceability, the new boilers also offer low operating costs and are expected to bring energy savings and a reduction in gas usage to the facility.
The Cube conversion project was completed in 12 months, and more than two-thirds of the building is already leased to residents.
“The start-up and installation progressed smoothly in part due to the way these boilers are designed,” said Cameron. “The SVF boilers offers time-saving installation features that include heavy-duty roller casters for improved maneuverability in confined spaces, industrial-grade leveling legs, and an end-shot burner design requiring 18 inches of overhead space.”
Mahmoud reported that tenants are pleased with the climate and comfort of the building.
“The boilers are really user-friendly,” he added. “We can even conduct the annual maintenance on the units ourselves to keep them in tip-top shape.”
See more articles from this issue here!