SSG Achieves LEED® Gold Certification for 108-Unit Building for Women’s Socially-Assisted Housing

The Canadian Green Building Council recently announced that the Sorella Women’s Housing project was awarded LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold status. Sorella is a new 10-storey, mixed-use building in downtown Vancouver dedicated to housing women. At the corner of Abbott Street and Pender Street, near Vancouver’s Chinatown gates, the building replaces a vacant, derelict lot. The 108 unit building also has 4 ground floor commercial spaces that are occupied by restaurants and a barber shop.

“SSG is proud to have seen this important project for Vancouver’s downtown eastside through to Gold status,” said SSG project manager Julia Meyer-MacLeod. “Sorella is a wonderful example of a building that is meeting social sustainability needs as well as excelling in environmental and energy standards”.

Sorella is run by Atira Women’s Resource Society, a not-for-profit that supports women in need and their children. The building was made possible by a funding partnership between the Province of British Columbia (BC Housing), Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation and the City of Vancouver under the BC Provincial Housing Initiative.

The building’s sustainability achievements include providing 110 secure bike spots, dramatically reducing the amount of required parking to 15 spots, reducing building water use by almost 50% and reducing building energy use by almost 50%. With particular attention paid to the comfort of the tenants, the building has exceptional daylighting and views, sustainable non-toxic materials, excellent ventilation for improved air quality and almost 4,000 square feet of second storey and roof-top outdoor courtyard spaces.

SSG has a rich history of leading-edge LEED projects in Canada, including Canada’s first LEED certified building (Vancouver Island Technology Park, LEED Gold), Canada’s first LEED mixed-use residential building (Vento, Calgary, LEED Platinum) and the world’s first LEED Platinum certified convention centre (Vancouver Convention Centre).

“This is the type of green building project that really interests us,” said SSG Director Jeremy Murphy. “We’re passionate about next-level building sustainability. How can a building make a community, a city, ecosystems and the local economy more sustainable? We want to be involved in designing and delivering buildings that address these elements in meaningful and surprising ways.”


Every building is a result of a large team of design and construction professionals. The Sorella project team included:
Owner/Operator: BC Housing and Atira Women’s Resource Society
Architect: GBL Architects
Mechanical Engineer: Williams Engineering (formerly of Stantec)
Electrical Engineer: MMM Group
Structural Engineer: John Bryson & Partners
Civil Engineer: Horizon Engineering
LEED and Green Building: Sustainability Solutions Group
Construction: Vanmar Construction
Landscape: Durante Kreuk Ltd.
Commissioning: ITS Consulting

SSG congratulates Atira, BC Housing and all the professionals involved in making Sorella a LEED Gold building!

Contact information
Jeremy Murphy: Project Lead, Sustainability Solutions Group
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

~ Notes to Editors ~ 
About Sustainability Solutions Group (SSG)
SSG is a pioneering, federally-incorporated workers cooperative created specifically to develop solutions to societal issues using a holistic sustainability lens. SSG understands sustainability as a process, rather than a static outcome. With this view, our projects entail elements of adaptive management to allow an organization to continuously increase performance on major societal challenges including climate change, economic and social inequities, human health, ecosystem decline, and sustainable community development.

About Atira
Atira Women’s Resource Society is a community-based organisation that supports all women, and their children, who are experiencing the impact of violence committed against them and/or their children. Through education, advocacy and outreach, Atira is an active voice in the struggle to end violence against women and their children. Our feminist-based philosophy informs all our work with ourselves, each other and the community.