SEFC Creekside Community Centre


1 Athletes Way

Vancouver, British Columbia

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Completion date
November 2009
Site/ Building area
Building: 4,227 m2
Certifications & Awards
  • Targeting CaGBC LEED Platinum certification
  • GLOBE Foundation and World Green Building Council Excellence in Green Building Practices
Project Team
  • Client: City of Vancouver and Vancouver Park Board
  • Architect: Walter Francl Architecture Inc.
  • Architect: Nick Milkovich Architects Inc.+ Arthur Erikson
  • Landscape Architect: DKL – Landscape Architects
  • Structural Engineer: Glotman Simpson Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineer: Cobalt Engineering; Western Mechanical Services
  • Electrical Engineer: Acumen Engineering
  • Manager of Development: City of Vancouver
  • Facility Development Coordinator: Park Board
  • Landscape Architect: PWL Partnership Landscape Architects Inc. (Public realm offsite)
  • Sustainability Consultant: Recollective
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Interview: Walter Francl - Walter Francl Architects


The South East False Creek Community Centre is located on the False Creek waterfront, in the heart of the Vancouver Olympic and Paralympic Village. During the 2010 Winter Games the building was used as office space for the Olympic and Paralympic mayor, management staff and Four Host First Nations, and also hosted amenities for athletes. The facility will now be converted to a two-level, 4,227 square metre community centre including a child-care facility, a non-power boating centre, and space for a restaurant. It will be targeting LEED Platinum certification.

Key Sustainability Features

Sustainable Site

  • redevelopment of a contaminated site
  • provision of electric vehicle charging stations + an electric vehicle for two years

Water Efficiency

  • rainwater is collected for toilet flushing and irrigation
  • 30% reduction in potable water consumption

Energy and Atmosphere

  • solar hot wat

    er panels to provide heating and cooling

  • Heating and cooling from district energy system: 70% from renewable sources
  • Solar hot water for supplementary heating and cooling: 55 solar hot water units
  • green power being purchased for 50% of the building electrical needs

Indoor Environmental Quality

  • no VOCs in any construction materials
  • construction indoor air quality management
  • provision of daylighting and views for building occupants
  • provision of individuals controls and opening windows for occupants

Sustainable Buildng

  • Sustainable Materials: 15% recycled materials, 20% of regionally-sourced materials, and FSC certified wood throughout

Energy and Environment

Like all of the buildings in Southeast False Creek, the Community Centre is characterized by the use of passive design to meet its energy efficiency targets. While conventional building design often relies on energy-intensive, mechanical systems to maintain a comfortable internal temperature, passive design uses the architecture itself to minimize the need for energy and to optimize thermal comfort, thus resulting in better building performance.

The selection, size and placement of windows in the SEFC Community Centre introduce natural daylighting in the majority of its interior spaces. A well-insulated building envelope and consideration of the window-to-wall ratio help to minimize heat gains and losses during the summer and winter months, respectively. Shading devices and window glazing help to prevent the building from overheating by blocking excessive solar radiation in the summer. Operable windows and consideration of natural wind and air flow patterns promote cross-ventilation and allow a fresh supply of air inside.

Heating/cooling requirements and domestic hot water are derived from a neighbourhood energy utility (NEU) that captures waste heat from the municipal sewage lines and distributes it throughout the community. Fifty-five solar hot water units supplement the building’s energy sources. During the summer, the solar array provides hot water to the building and excess heat is sold to the NEU to be used in adjacent buildings. In the colder winter months, the Community Centre derives the balance of its heat energy from the NEU. 

The Community Centre utilizes a Variant Refrigerant Flow (VRF) system to control the heating and cooling of the interior space. This system responds quickly and efficiently to a change in the heating or cooling requirements, and allows for each indoor unit to control its room temperature. This is especially important in a community centre, where heating and cooling requirements can vary significantly in different spaces.

The site is fitted with electric vehicle charging stations, and an electric vehicle will be available for community use for the first two years. Rainwater is collected in three large cisterns below grade and used for water efficient flushing and irrigation. 


The passive design and mechanical strategies employed in the design and construction of the SEFC Community Centre are expected to result in substantial reduction in energy and lifecycle operating costs. Increased costs during construction in some areas (i.e. the more expensive building envelope) were off-set by down-sizing mechanical specifications. This meant that, overall, targeting LEED Platinum certification did not add a significant premium to the cost of the project.

The building contains 15 percent of recycled materials, 20 percent of regionally-sourced materials, and certified wood throughout. This helps to support local green supply chains and build awareness of, and demand for, more environmentally-responsible building materials. 

"Green" products and technologies employed in the development of this project include


The SEFC Community Centre provides 69 daycare spaces for families in the community. The daycare is located on the third level and takes advantage of an adjacent outdoor play space on the roof of the community centre. The Centre includes a full-size gym, games room, arts and crafts room, three multi-purpose rooms, an aerobics studio and a fitness centre. The non- motorized boating centre is fully integrated into the facility and includes a lecture and meeting room, office space, and change rooms, as well as boat and gear storage. It will serve a diverse water-based activity spectrum, including canoeing, kayaking, dragon boating and rowing.

During the design and development of the Community Centre, several public open houses were conducted. Public interest in and support for the concept of the facility was very high, especially with the focus on recreational, human-powered boating. The diversity of uses—from community recreation to childcare to commercial opportunities—along with its integrated design will make the SEFC Community Centre a vibrant and enduring hub in the SEFC neighbourhood.

Audio Tour of this building

This building is part of the City of Vancouver Green Building Audio Tour, a collection of audio recordings about Vancouver's greenest buildings. Each three-minute recording takes the listener on a virtual 'tour' of the building's green design features, guided by the architect or member of the design team. You can listen to them online, via podcast, or via your cell phone by calling 604-673-8150. The Vancouver Green Building Audio Tours were created through a partnership between City of Vancouver Sustainability Office and the Open Green Building Society.

To hear the audio guide for this building click on the player at the top of the left sidebar on this webpage, or dial 604-673-8150 and enter code 03.


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