15:24 PM

Residents of Campbell Lodge say lives changed by building upgrades

The residents of Campbell Lodge in Victoria had been struggling with overheating in their units for years. So, when they got the good news their 45-year-old building would be upgraded, they were excited.

The 100-unit lodge funded by BC Housing is operated by Greater Victoria Housing Society (GVHS). It provides homes for dozens of seniors and people with disabilities.

“Before the renovations, it was so hot in my unit I never turned on the heat,” says Edward. “Kept the windows open, kept fans running all the time – even in winter.”

BC Housing provided funding for upgrades to address this problem, and to make the lodge more resilient to climate risks. For Campbell Lodge, this meant new heat pumps and renewal of the building envelope.

The heat pumps work to cool suites efficiently and help with heating in the winter. An upgraded building envelope limits overheating and reduces heat loss, drafts, moisture and mould buildup. This in turn cuts energy costs and improves indoor air quality.

Now tenants like Edward can enjoy their homes in comfort and safety. “It went from hell to heaven,” says Edward, whose west facing unit was extremely warm year-round. “Now,” he says, “it’s absolutely amazing.”

It gives you real pride to come up to the building from the outside, see the nice paint job, the nice decks, how well it looks in the community compared to before.

Information gathered before and after the renovation also show big savings in energy consumption and decreased greenhouse gas emissions. That’s welcome news to Greater Victoria Housing Society.

As Manager of Maintenance and Capital Assets for GVHS, Darren Sopher sees many positive outcomes from the project. “The funding and support from BC Housing renewed and ultimately 'reset' a 100-unit building,” he says.

Seniors like Edward and people with chronic illnesses face high risk during extreme heat events. With climate emergencies becoming more common, these kinds of upgrades are important.

With the changes, Campbell Lodge is now much more resilient to climate-related risks, such as flooding, extreme heat, and wildfire smoke. This is a huge boost to tenant comfort and quality of life. For GVHS, it allows them to continue providing much needed affordable housing to seniors and adults with disabilities.

The upgrades at Campbell Lodge are nearly complete. But the work around the province continues. In addition to developing new housing, BC Housing works hard with its partners to keep existing housing stock in good condition.

Since 2017, the Province of BC has delivered more than 74,000 new homes that have been completed or are underway. By maintaining and adapting the tens of thousands of existing units that BC Housing supports, more homes can last longer and be available for British Columbians with housing needs for years to come.

With a new building envelope and effective cooling, residents at Campbell Lodge are looking forward to enjoying the upcoming summer in safety and comfort. “I can’t even tell you how much of a difference it’s made to my life and comfort,” Edward says.  “I love it.  My mental and physical health are so much better now because of this.”