Construction underway for fully off-the-grid commercial development in Kelowna

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Construction underway for fully off-the-grid commercial development in Kelowna
Construction underway for fully off-the-grid commercial development in Kelowna – Sep 25, 2018

It’s not your usual commercial development: A self-storage facility combined with a co-workspace. But that is what Kelowna, B.C., is getting at the corner of Ellis Street and Bay Avenue.

Parent company Ulmus Development claims EcoLock Kelowna will be the first fully off-the-grid, “green” commercial development of its kind in North America.

The five-floor and 112,000-square foot facility will self-generate 105 per cent of its electricity through the use of on-site solar panels. It will collect, filter and reuse rainwater within a 62,000-litre tank, located under the building, for all planting irrigation.

A rendering of what the entrance to the self-storage facility at Ellis Street and Bay Avenue will look like. Submitted
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The internal building walls will sequester carbon, using construction blocks made in Canada from waste hemp stock.

“Buildings are the No. 1 producer of greenhouse gasses in North America, and this project is raising the bar for sustainable development,” said Don Redden, CEO of Ulmus Development.

“With 2.5 billion square feet of self-storage facilities in North America, many of the facilities are low-density, unproductive spaces that don’t contribute to the fabric of a neighborhood.”

The architect and project designer is Jason McLennan, founder of McLennan Design. The international design firm says on its website that people are living in much smaller spaces than the traditional suburban homes in which they grew up, so they are shedding their unnecessary belongings.

“However, without a basement in every home, city dwellers are quickly running into temporary storage needs,” it says.

“Ecolock structures will provide storage solutions for the modern urban citizen who may have fluctuating needs over the course of several years.”

Ulmus Development says the ground level co-workspace area will be a venue for self-employed and local business people as well as for out-of-towners.

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The facility is privately-funded and has been approved by Kelowna city council.

“The City of Kelowna is committed to building connected, strong neighborhoods and urban centres that help us limit our greenhouse gas emissions,” said Kelowna mayor Colin Basran.

The facility is scheduled to open next summer.

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