Millennium Water, Vancouver BC

YEAR: 2007
CLIMATE: Moderate Oceanic
ANNUAL RAINFALL: 45″ per year
 181% (GreenValues Calculation)
Scale: Neighborhood
Built Context: Urban Dense
System Description: Green Roofs + Wetland
Site Catchment Area Served



Case Study Background:

The South East False Creek , is a mixed use Development project that is intended to be a leading model of sustainable development. It is located on the post-industrial waterfront lands of Vancouver,Canada.

The first phase of the project was completed for the 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympics.

The project features efficient energy solutions , high performance green buildings and easy transit access.

The water systems of SouthEast False Creek Olympic village:


Rainwater Management System: 



Rainwater management is part of an integrated resource management system with functional ecological cycles.

This design intent is an example of mimicking natural systems and working with the native ecology of place and not against it.



Screen Shot 2015-10-22 at 1.09.02 PM

Stormwater Management System: 



Also works as a flood management system

Screen Shot 2015-10-22 at 1.09.29 PM




Water-conserving low-flow fixtures have been used throughout

Potable water use is reduced by approximately 50% due to rainwater harvesting.

Rainwater harvesting also aids in groundwater replenishment. 50% coverage of green roofs(7,500 sq.m) extensive + (9,000 sqm) intensive

All the water systems are a part of a park , example the hinge park and are recreational in nature.

Also , the constructed wetland in the Hinge park, provides habitat for wildlife, and education about the water system. Water returns to the watershed cleansed from its urban toxicity.

Cost of Implementation:

Cost of implementation:  $ 344, 098*
Conventional construction cost: $264, 371*
Difference is $79, 727* or 30%  

Annual maintenance cost: $69, 462  *
Conventional maintenance cost: $71, 487*
Difference is $-2,017* or -3%

Life cycle cost: $ 2,619,945*
Conventional life cycle cost: $ 2,586,800*
Difference is $33,145* or 1%

BENEFITS: Annual $5, 532* (seems like a very low estimate for our system) or Lifetime $175, 297

*(GreenValues Calculation)

Time range of construction: 2007 – 2010 ( Phase 01 )

The Systems:

Green Roofs





287, 000 sq ft of Green Roofs – over 50% vegetated by norms in City of Vancouver

all roofs collect water, but there are INTENSIVE green roofs:

Deeper soil (over 8 inches) to allow growth of trees

Require irrigation, which comes from collection cisterns

Most easily recognizable green building feature.

Social place

5 elements:

Root-resistant layer – a root barrier deters roots from penetrating or damaging the roof membrane

Drainage layer – drainage mats are used to remove excess water from the growing medium and channel it to drains

Filter layer – a textile material prevents fine particles from being washed out of the growing medium and impacting storm water quality

Growing medium – up to six inches in depth, the mineral-based growing medium has the basic physical, chemical and biological properties needed for plant growth requiring minimal long-term maintenance

Vegetative layer – plants that can be sustained in a very shallow growing medium






Hinge Park



Layout both linear and meandering that is a pleasant green space but also cleans stormwater runoff before it goes into False Creek

Two levels of aquatic plantings help trap sediments and contaminants


As part of the SEFC Plan, the City developed a wetland for Hinge Park to treat storm water from upstream of the area (the catchment area south of the site) and from the surface runoff on the city streets within the Millennium Water site.

also collects water from streams that were paved over but still flow underground – groundwater base flow will assist in keeping the system wet even during dry periods – with an irrigation system as a final backup if needed. A pumping system also ensures good circulation.

pump installed due to public health concerns about stagnant water and breeding mosquitoes, so we installed it



Years before Millennium Water was even envisioned, policy makers and officials were already in the mindset of creating a sustainable community. Some significant policies below include ” Clouds of Change”, Property Endowment Fund, and “Visions, Tools and Targets”. In the link you will be able to read more in-depth information about each policy decision and how Millennium Water came to be.

Another policy in place was the SEFC Policy Statement that pushed the boundaries of general planning practice. The 15 principles are below and if you are interested in knowing more follow my link.

Principles of Sustainable Development for SEFC

1) Implementing Sustainability

Promote the implementation of sustainable development principles in an urban setting.

2) Stewardship of Ecosystem Health
Ensure that the development improves the ecological health of the False Creek basin.

3) Economic Viability and Vitality
Aim to achieve economic viability with opportunities for employment and investment to ensure long-term prosperity.

4) Priorities
Set social and environmental performance targets that can be met in an economically viable fashion.

5) Cultural Vitality
Encourage vitality, diversity and cultural richness, respecting the history and context of the site.

6) Livability
Enhance the social and natural environment by creating a walkable, safe and green neighbourhood.

7) Housing Diversity and Equity
Create housing opportunities for a range of income groups and social and physical infrastructure for people of all ages.

8) Education
Encourage awareness of the principles of sustainability and how these are implemented on the site.

9) Participation
Encourage public involvement in decision-making processes.

10) Accountability
Promote accountability by monitoring impacts using post-occupancy studies and community consultation.

11) Adaptability
Ensure that the community can adapt to new social and economic conditions, policies, programs, legislation and technology.

12) Integration
Promote integration with the city through planning, design, community involvement and public amenities.

13) Spirit of the Place
Promote planning and development guidelines that celebrate the unique natural, social and historical context of SEFC.

14) Complete Community
Develop a complete community where residents live, work, play and learn within a convenient walking, cycling or transit-riding distance.


Unfortunately, Millennium Water was filed for bankruptcy. “SEFC Properties Inc., the Vancouver Olympic Village developer, is bankrupt. The company, through receiver Ernst & Young, filed March 12 for bankruptcy. An order by B.C. Supreme Court Justice Robert Sewell on April 2 set the first meeting of creditors to happen no later than June 15 and permitted E&Y to also act as the bankruptcy trustee”.

Even some of the owners of the condos were asking for refunds since the developer did not keep their promise of luxurious green apartments. If you want to read more of the financial problems with Millennium Water follow the link.



Millennium Southeast False Creek Properties Ltd.
City of Vancouver
Metro-Can Construction (OV) Ltd.
ITC Construction Group
Rennie Marketing Systems
Durante Kreuk Landscape Architects
Olympic International Inc.
Enerpro Systems Corp.
Keith Panel Systems
Wilco Landscape Westcoast Inc.


Merrick Architecture
Gomberoff Bell Lyon Architects Group
VIA Architecture
Cobalt Engineering LLP
BC Hydro Power Smart Program
Nemetz (S/A) & Associates Ltd.
Keystone Environmental Ltd.
PacBlue Printing
Sunproject Toro Inc.
Storm Guard Water Treatment Inc.
City of Vancouver Neighbourhood Energy Utility

Other partnerships include, in 2007, Millennium began to work with the City of Vancouver and Building Opportunities with Business (BOB), a non-profit organization that supports local business development and increases job opportunities for inner-city residents. Millennium and BOB created a “Community Benefits Agreement” through which Millennium committed to awarding $15 million in contracts to inner-city businesses and suppliers.








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