Vancouver Aquarium

Expansion and Revitalization Phase 1B



  • DDC System
  • HVAC Controls
    Houle provides design and system integration to help you regulate the operation of your heating, ventilation, and/or air conditioning (HVAC) system.

Scope of Work

Completed: 2014

Owner: Vancouver Aquarium


  • LEED Gold

The Vancouver Aquarium is a non-profit public aquarium located in Stanley Park in Vancouver, British Columbia. In addition to being a major tourist attraction for Vancouver, the aquarium is a centre for marine research, conservation, and marine animal rehabilitation. Undergoing the most significant expansion project since it opened its doors in 1956, the multi-million dollar project was completed in multiple phases. Phase 1B involved extensive mechanical upgrades to the existing building and the construction of 96,000 square feet addition with new exhibit space and offices.

Houle supplied and installed the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) for the new three-story expansion building using two water source heat pumps and free sea energy with heat/cool recovery and rejection. The HVAC system features:

  • Measurement and verification of total electric energy used by the heat pumps, cooling tower, pumps, air handling units, exhaust fans, fan foils, rad pumps, interior and exterior lighting/plugs, kitchen equipment, and elevator
  • Measurement and verification of total thermal energy used in the building
  • Measurement and verification of total water and natural gas used in the building
  • Monitoring of rain water harvesting and sump pump
  • Fountain pumps control for beautification
  • Reliable Controls DDC controllers
  • Space temp sensors, space CO2 sensors, and humidity sensors

Houle supplied technical and engineering help to assist with the design of the DDC Controls. Houle designed a system that used sea water from the Burrard Inlet for free cooling and heat recovery. Houle also needed to communicate via BACnet communications to equipment such as variable frequency drives, heat pumps, and electrical and energy meters. The design of the building had to be to LEED Gold standards, which included rainwater harvesting and grey water systems.

Houle successfully completed the design, programming, commissioning, and implementation of the project while under a tight budget and time constraint.

“We found Houle’s Controls Division quality of work to be excellent. In addition, we found [the] Houle Controls Senior Project Manager communication throughout the project to be very professional. Houle’s Lead Technican… did an outstanding job with the programming, commissioning and especially the graphics. He also provided the training for our staff in a manner that any layperson could easily understand.”

~ Catherine Imrie, Senior VP Business & CFO, Vancouver Aquarium