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We’re proud to announce that on June 21, 2024 our project, Third Space Commons, received the inaugural ECABC Innovation Award at the AGM & Gala Dinner in Penticton!

Houle received ECABC Innovation Award for the Third Space Commons Project

In 2022, Third Quadrant Design, a UBC student-led team, embarked on a journey to create Third Space Commons for the 2023 Solar Decathlon Build Challenge. Initially designed as a single-family home, Third Space quickly evolved into a symbol of sustainable construction.

The Solar Decathlon Challenge, organized by the U.S. Department of Energy, is an international competition that challenges collegiate teams to design and build highly efficient and innovative buildings powered by renewable energy. It features two main competitions: the Design Challenge, which spans one to two semesters and focuses on design only, and the Build Challenge, a two-year program where teams design and build their projects.

Participating in the 2023 Build Challenge, Third Quadrant Design competed against teams from around the world, showcasing their dedication to advancing sustainable construction practices. Our entry, Third Space Commons, stood out for its unique approach and innovative solutions.

Building with Hempcrete

Third Space Commons project at UBC using hempcrete as a reuse material for the wall

This carbon-negative material was used for constructing the walls of Third Space. Not only does hempcrete provide insulation and moisture regulation, but it also absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, aligning perfectly with the project’s sustainability goals.

Using Reclaimed Materials

Third Space Commons Field Staff Installing Electrical Net-Zero Carbon Sustainable Building

We minimized waste and costs by repurposing materials from buildings slated for demolition.

Energy-Efficient Design

UBC Third Space Commons Lighting Installation

Passive design principles reduced the need for artificial systems. Natural ventilation, rainwater collection, and energy-efficient lighting were key elements.

Energy-Efficient Systems

Third Space Commons interior at UBC

We integrated intelligent lighting control, energy-efficient floorboard heating, HVAC systems, and controls to optimize energy usage.

All these innovations contributed to Third Space’s environmental footprint reduction. Compared to a baseline building, Third Space achieved a 75% reduction in total carbon emissions over its projected 10-year lifespan.

The interdisciplinary Third Quadrant Design team, comprising engineering, architecture, arts, and business students, drove this project from design to completion. Our mentorship and technical support helped the student project team overcome challenges, refine their skills, and make meaningful contributions to sustainable construction.

The ECABC Innovation Award recognizes outstanding innovation in construction practices and technology. This year’s theme focused on Green Infrastructure, highlighting a project that contributed to BC’s transition to a low-carbon future. Receiving this inaugural award underscores our commitment to pushing the boundaries of sustainable building and inspiring future projects.