Vancouver, B.C. – Sustainable Solutions International (SSi) is a revolutionary company that manufacturers and distributes a portfolio of the greenest building products and plumbing brands on the market today. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that their corporate headquarters in Burnaby, B.C. is a paradigm of cutting-edge sustainable building practices and green design. This 4,200 sq. ft. workspace was the recipient of the Silver Award of Excellence from the Interior Designers Institute of British Columbia. The interior fit-up is also attempting LEED®-CI Gold certification. The renowned green design firm Penner & Associates was engaged to oversee and implement the project’s overall design.
Shelley Penner, Director of Practice for Penner & Associates, was tasked with designing a corporate headquarters that would accommodate displays of water-efficient plumbing fixtures, faucets and accessories, in addition to office space. The overall space would feature a reception area, five offices, five open area workstations, a conference room with furnishings adaptable to a training environment with flexible product display areas, a fully-functioning kitchen for events, and a bathroom that would also serve as a space to showcase plumbing products. Penner was keen to maintain access to daylight and a view of the FraserRiver, while reducing environmental impact of construction and operations. She also wanted to establish a brand identity for SSi and one of their leading product lines: fluid™.
Penner’s design concept included a completely open space with adjustable lighting for changing product displays. Retractable screens behind the reception area provide separation from the open display and office areas. Dividers are made of a specialized material for projecting images onto. She used a fresh color palette of blue and green accents, combined with transparent and reflective materials to conjure an aquatic aesthetic. She also implemented non-PVC blinds to reduce heat gain and control glare from the extensive glazing on the windows. Each workstation has seated views of the river.
From a lighting perspective, Penner chose T5 and T8 linear fluorescent and halogen fixtures to focus light downward. She also achieved an illuminating glow from underneath the product display wall for employees and visitors to experience the light, while not actually seeing the fixtures. Penner also employed daylight and occupancy sensors to conserve energy.
As for green building materials, Penner used SSi’s own line of water-conserving plumbing fixtures. She chose Energy Star-rated appliances and equipment, and Greenguard IAQ Certified furniture and seating. Other sustainable furnishings include Steelcase Think task chairs with 37% recycled content, bamboo content in seat fabric, and Gold level Cradle to Cradle Product Certification from MBDC. The project also features optimized energy performance, and furnishings with regional, recycled content and rapidly renewable materials that emit low amounts of volatile organic compounds into the environment. Penner implemented waste and IAQ management during construction and SSi purchased green power certificates.
“SSi is about conservation without compromise,” said President of SSi Glenn Sheargold. “It has always been our goal to bring the highest quality levels of design and technology to our product slate in a way that does not negatively impact the environment. When we approached Shelley and asked her to create an open, airy, flexible and healthy working environment for our staff, and one that had the highest of green ideals, we knew she’d execute exactly what we had in mind. The result exceeded all of our highest expectations.”