Building a green Q Lofts: Meet Jordan MacDonald, LEED Consultant

March 27, 2015
Lola Augustine Brown


Very early on in the design phase, Jordan MacDonald, thermalwise_web_logopresident of ThermalWise, a building performance consulting company, was brought in to help make Q Lofts the most energy efficient building possible.

“Peter Polley and his team brought us in earlier than they needed to with this project, but they wanted to involve us and have us as part of the project team,” says MacDonald, “That is unique, because our role on a typical project is on-site verifications and working with the project team during the final stages of project design, and through construction, but they wanted to make sure they’d accomplish their goals with this project.”

Those goals are centred on Q Lofts gaining LEED Platinum status, which is the highest possible green certification that a building can be awarded, and is very rare in Canada, especially in buildings the size of Q Lofts.

“LEED is a third-party green building rating system, and our role is to consult and help out in terms of seeing where the building’s rating is during the design phase, and how it is meeting the credit requirements of the various different LEED categories. And then through the construction phase we go on-site and conduct inspections to check certain green measures that have been implemented,” explains MacDonald.

He goes on to say, “Q Lofts is by far the most energy efficient and green multi-unit building being built in Atlantic Canada. It is setting the bar for what can be done here, but also across Canada.”

MacDonald says that Polycorp is widely recognized as a company that has always led the way in terms of energy efficiency, but says Q Lofts accomplishes more than just that.

“Polycorp’s approach here isn’t just about being green, they’re approaching this project thinking about the long-term durability of this building and the assets; they are doing things that even leading-edge multi-unit developers aren’t doing, such as investing in a better building envelope or insulating up over R-30, and this is really significant for a building of that size and height,” he says.

“And also the triple glazed windows, which certainly contribute to the energy efficiency of the project, but they will also contribute to the comfort and ongoing durability of the structure, and that’s unique.”

Many of the techniques employed in the construction of Q Lofts are innovative and completely new to the Maritimes.

“In terms of the air-sealing techniques, and the testing and verification for the building envelope, Peter Polley is leading the way with that stuff – he sets a high bar and is a few steps in front of any other leading green developer in Canada,” says MacDonald, “It will be a while before other projects can compete, but they will have to follow his lead.”

Lola Augustine Brown

Lola Augustine Brown

Freelance writer Lola Augustine Brown is a regular contributor to Canadian Living, The Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, Today’s Parent, and various other magazines and newspapers. She lives in Nova Scotia, and loves Halifax’s North End.