Hamilton will soon be home to Canada’s first-ever residential tower retrofit that meets Passive House standards, surpassing Ontario’s building code in energy efficiency by leaps and bounds.
The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation announced $10 million in National Housing Strategy funding to go towards the Ken Soble Tower transformation in Hamilton. The project by CityHousing Hamilton will see the vacant, uninhabitable, 17-storey tower transformed into a high-rise Passive House rental building designed for seniors.
"Through the National Housing Strategy, our Government is providing assistance to those who need it most here in Hamilton and in all corners of the country,” says Adam Vaughan, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development. “We believe that every Canadian should be able to retire in dignity and this is why we are extremely happy to be supporting this first of its kind project. We are also working to improve the lives of seniors by returning the age of eligibility for Old Age Security (OAS) and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) to 65 and increasing the GIS for single seniors."
There will be 146 new apartments at Ken Soble Tower, all of which will be affordable (less than average market rent). More than half of the units will be rented at 69.2% of the median market rent, which will be significantly lower than market value.
"Seniors have contributed so much to our society, and making sure that they have a safe and affordable home is one way to give back to them,” says The Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister of Seniors and Member of Parliament for Hamilton West–Ancaster–Dundas. “This wonderful project will improve the well-being and sense of security of low-income seniors in Hamilton. When seniors are able to full (sic) participate and feel safe in our communities, we all benefit."
According to Passive House Institute, “Passive Houses make efficient use of the sun, internal heat sources and heat recovery, rendering conventional heating systems unnecessary throughout even the coldest of winters. During warmer months, Passive Houses make use of passive cooling techniques such as strategic shading to keep comfortably cool.”
The release from CMHC says that the Ken Soble Tower transformation will result in 75% in energy savings and produce 88% less greenhouse gas emissions, compared to the National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings.
"Providing affordable housing to our local ageing demographic is a key priority. On behalf of the City of Hamilton, I would like to thank our Federal partners for their contributions towards this exciting renovation project at Ken Soble Tower,” says Fred Eisenberger, Mayor of Hamilton. “With a waitlist of over 6,000 households, it is urgent that this housing asset is brought back online so we can continue to address Hamilton's affordable housing pressures and provide low-income residents with good quality and stable housing.”