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Sponsored content: Building the future of nuclear through responsible waste disposal

Plans have been laid for the construction of a highly engineered radioactive waste disposal facility in Chalk River, Ontario, Canada. The facility is being proposed as a permanent and modern technological solution to an environmental issue that goes back almost a century.

Today, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) is seeking the support of the industry and its supply chain to move this project forward and advance the future of waste disposal in Canada.

Canada’s storied Chalk River Laboratories (pictured right) was established in 1944 on the Ottawa River, about 180 km (114 miles) from the City of Ottawa. An adjacent community, the Town of Deep River, was developed to support the site and remains home to generations of employees. The site is located on the traditional and unceded territory of the Algonquin Nation.

CNL is once again using leading-edge technology to put forward a long-term environmental solution. Taking guidance from domestic and international experience, CNL has proposed an engineered containment mound – the Near Surface Disposal Facility, or NSDF – as the solution for low-level radioactive waste at Chalk River Labs.

Read the case study.

SABMag 73 – Winter 2021/2022

SABMag 73 - Winter 2021/2022

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VIEWPOINT

Natural resilience – Using Nature-based Solutions to Enhance Coastal Protection

By Joanna Eyquem

Coastal flooding and erosion are a direct threat to the health and safety of people living in coastal communities, and cause damage to local infrastructure and property. The majority of Canada’s coastal population is located along the East (Atlantic) and West (Pacific) coastlines, where sea levels are rising due to irreversible climate change. Read more …

Okanagan College – Health Sciences Centre

Model of healthcare education targets Net-Zero Carbon, WELL and LEED Gold certifications

By Peter Osborne

Located on a narrow brownfield site on the Kelowna campus of Okanagan College, the Health Sciences Centre includes technology-enhanced and student-centred labs, classrooms, and offices for health and social development programs. Read more …

Montreal Biodome

Interior redesign complements extant architecture with minimal use of materials

Housed in the former Velodrome constructed for the Montréal 1976 Olympic Games, the Biodome opened in 1992 and is a jewel in the crown of a consortium of facilities that collectively account for the most visited museum spaces in Canada. Read more …

Zibi Complexe O

One Planet Living project one step in reclaiming former industrial site

By Figurr Architects Collective

Located in both Ottawa and Gatineau, the Zibi development aims to be transformative physically, environmentally and socially. The only One Planet Living endorsed community in Canada, Zibi occupies formerly contaminated industrial lands, and is transforming them into one of Canada’s most sustainable communities. Read more …

Virtual Design and Construction – An Owner’s Perspective

By Robert Malczyk

In the 1990s, 3D modelling was introduced as a design tool that enabled architects to better visualize their projects and perhaps more importantly, to convey their ideas to clients and the public. The software has become so sophisticated that it is sometimes difficult to decide whether an image is a photograph of a completed building, or simply a rendering of one that is proposed. Read more …

The Annual Guide

LEED categories noted for the products listed in the following pages are intended to show how these products can potentially help a project earn LEED v4 points. Visit the directory here.

Interview with Andrew Peel of Peel Passive House Consulting

Founder & Managing Principal of Peel Passive House Consulting, a Passive House Certifier, and a Certified Passive House Consultant & Trainer, Andrew Peel is one of the foremost experts on Passive House design and construction in Canada.

1. How has Passive House grown in Canada in the past five years

The growth has been exponential, especially in large affordable housing projects. The scale of projects (e.g. 40+ storey towers) was unimaginable five years ago and has eclipsed the scale of projects in Europe. Commercial Developers, including Private Equity firms, are committing to Passive House in response to changing market needs and drivers. It is thanks to the pioneers willing to take risks when others were not and the advocacy organizations that the Passive House Standard has experienced this growth. 

2. What are the main obstacles to further growth?

In my experience, these challenges are:

  • Eliminating the perceived risk (i.e. high additional cost) of building and certifying to the Passive House Standard.
  • Developing more locally made Passive House Heat/Energy Recovery Ventilation systems and cold climate-rated fenestration products.
  • Convincing appraisers to recognize the additional asset value that Passive House certification provides.

3. What are the essential first steps to getting a Passive House project off the ground?

The first step is to build the right team. This includes the Passive House Certifier, whose input at the early stages can help set the project on the right (i.e. cost effective) path.  The client must commit to Passive House Certification and all key project team members must be committed to this goal. Passive House experience is not crucial.  We’ve taken novice teams from start to finish to deliver Passive House buildings within budget. With the right attitude and proper training, anyone can succeed.

The second step is to optimize the high-level design consistent with Passive House principles. This seems like an obvious thing, yet it is overlooked on many projects. This often stems from not involving the Passive House Consultant from the beginning.

4. Is it realistic to apply Passive House construction to renovations?

Not only is it realistic, it is happening today. Two leading edge projects, the Raymond Desmarais Manor in Windsor, ON and the Ken Sobel Tower in Hamilton, ON are demonstrating that it can be done cost effectively on large towers. Both projects are committed to EnerPHit certification, the retrofit version of the Passive House Building standard.

5. Once a project has achieved Passive House certification is there anything the building owner must do to maintain the certification?

There is nothing required to maintain certification.  However, to ensure the predicted performance is achieved perpetually, the occupants should be educated on how best to interact with the building and systems and regular maintenance per manufacturers’ instructions should be completed.  Projects that fail to provide adequate occupant education have seen poorer building performance. 

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The SABMag Passive House issue

By Chris Ballard,

CEO of Passive House Canada

We at Passive House Canada are pleased to participate in the annual SABMag Passive House Issue which features examples of recent projects designed to Passive House principles.

With the recent federal election, Canadians made it abundantly clear that meaningful action on climate change is important to them. It is a message politicians across Canada, at all levels of government, should take seriously. Can you think of another election where climate change was so hotly debated? I can’t. Here at Passive House Canada, we will continue to push governments of all level to adopt building standards that promote better buildings, preferably Passive House, in order to meet GHG emissions reduction targets and make healthy, comfortable places in which to live and work.

Passive House Canada, in collaboration with Tower Renewal Partnership, recently presented the online Tower Retrofit Symposium to very positive feedback. A first of its kind event, the Symposium did more than focus on PHC technical expertise, which is substantial, it also brought together experts from finance and public policy to discuss how the approximately 10,000 Canadian towers in need of deep energy retrofits could proceed. We know it is more than technical expertise needed to retrofit – the symposium also questioned how retrofits of private buildings are financed and what public policy is required to accelerate these deep energy retrofits.

The event proposed solutions for issues we in the building sector struggle with. No one sector has all the answers to address how these buildings are retrofitted, but together we do. There is a valuable role for Passive House Canada and its members to play in continuing to break down silos between sectors, bring all players to the table and finding common solutions. Thank you to the volunteers and to PHC staff for organizing the Symposium.

Passive House Canada continuously offers seminars and training, two of which are mentioned following here, to advance Passive House construction and the huge benefits it will bring. All that we offer can be found at www.passivehousecanada.com.

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sabmag 70 – Spring 2021

SABMag 70 - Spring 2021

RETHINKING MULTI-UNIT RESIDENTIAL DESIGN – Optimizing flexibility, affordability and construction efficiency

By Michelle Xuereb, Dev Mehta, Adryanne Quenneville and Tiffany Wong of BDP Quadrangle

The world is in a period of increased urbanization. In 2018 the United Nations estimated that by 2050 68% of the global population will be living in an urban area. Urban population growth has driven up land value and the costs associated with residential building construction. For most, living in an urban area means residing in a multi-unit residential building (MURB).

Read more.

Prefabrication and Modular Construction – The thermal performance of off-site prefabricated buildings and building enclosure systems

By Val Sylaj and Brian J Hall

As designers and owners are becoming more aware of the environmental impacts of the construction industry, including the types of materials used, more stringent requirements are being imposed by specifiers, and national codes and standards.   

Read more.

3 CIVIC PLAZA – Mixed-use project combines sustainability, transit density and community activation

By Patrick Cotter

This 52-storey, transit-oriented mixed-use project in Surrey, BC features 349 residential suites, a 144-room hotel, a vertical higher education campus, a mixing lobby that serves all building occupants, a rooftop garden, fitness centre and underground parking.

Read more.

The 2020 LEED Canada Buildings in Review – A record of the LEED buildings cetified in 2020

Read more

Lumenpulse Headquarters –New workplace mirrors client’s attention to design, and cuts energy use

By Jim Taggart

Located on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River across from Montreal, Longueuil has long been a preferred location for leading high-tech industries including aerospace and renewable energy.

Read more

Eco Flats 1.0 – Upgrade preserves existing building while supporting low carbon living

By Carla Crawford

Eco Flats 1.0 is a conversion of an aged Toronto rowhouse into an energy-efficient, all-electric triplex. The ambitions for this project were: to increase urban density; provide quality housing during a housing crisis; create homes for multiple tenants that support a carbon-free lifestyle; and make it a super energy-efficient, all-electric building.

Read more

BNP PARIBAS OFFICE INTERIOR – Montreal, QC

Interior Design Award

Provencher_Roy

Jury Comment: At a time when the nature of work is in flux, the transformation of six floors of rigorously repetitious 1970s office space into a dynamic, flexible and inspiring workplace provides cause for optimism. The open, collaborative spaces and non-specific perimeter workstations flow through all levels, encouraging mobility and personal choice of working and relaxing environments throughout the day. Sit/stand desks, lighting programmed to support natural circadian rhythms, and 20 living walls contribute further to psychological and physiological wellbeing.

The first project in Canada to be certified under Version 2 of the WELL Building Standard, the new headquarters for BNP Paribas , the French international banking group, exemplifies current best practice in employee-centred office design. To alleviate overcrowding and bring its 140 staff under one roof, the company chose to relocate and refit 140,000 sq.ft. of space spread over six floors of an existing 1970s office building.

From the outset, the aim was to achieve WELL Building certification and to create a dynamic work environment that would promote social interaction and collaboration as well as the health and comfort of occupants. The challenge was to meet the client’s desire for a fluid, flexible, non-Cartesian layout of space within the physical constraints of the existing structure, which included working with the two feet by four feet ceiling grid.

This led to the development of a workplace where the main open spaces are divided into several zones alternating those intended for work, collaboration and rest. Work areas are not assigned; employees can settle wherever they want in the building, or even telecommute. The workstations are arranged at the perimeter, so employees benefit from maximum natural light.  Common spaces are located at the core of the building and include glazed meeting rooms, changing rooms, and sanitary facilities.

To energize the occupied spaces, the strategy was to create what the design team refers to as “organized chaos” through the choice and arrangement of lighting and office furniture. Artificial lighting integrates a variety of high-performance luminaires, adapted to the functions of the different areas with dynamism in mind. As required by WELL, the lighting is designed not to disrupt the occupants‘ circadian rhythms.

The office furniture system includes a spine that integrates all the wiring required. Workstations can be moved along this spine in either direction to modify the space and employees can alternate between sitting and standing positions. Low VOC materials minimize airborne pollutants and 20 living walls help purify the air while enhancing the human biophilic response.

PROJECT CREDITS

  • Architect  Provencher_Roy
  • Owner/Developer  GWL (Great West Life)
  • General Contractor  Avicor Construction
  • Electrical Engineer  Planifitech
  • Other  Make Space Work, Ameublement intérieur
  • Senoir Design  Haworth
  • Photos  David Boyer

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TSAWWASSEN FIRST NATION YOUTH CENTRE – Tsawwassen, BC

Institutional (Small) Award

Mackin Tanaka Architecture

Jury Comment: With the growing concern for the embodied carbon in our built environment, this small building for the Tsawwassen First Nation stands out for its commitment to that cause. In fact, its widespread use of wood and its projected low operating energy demand, may make the building carbon negative for a decade or more. In addition to its low environmental impact, the location next to the Salish Sea and on the Pacific flight path for migratory birds, make it an invaluable teaching tool for Indigenous youth – and for all of us.

This community centre for young people and their families provides spaces for drop-in and scheduled programs and community gatherings. Located on treaty lands south of Vancouver, the waterfront site is part of a unique cultural and ecological area, the meeting place of cultures and ecologies.

The design of the two-storey building bridges tradition and modernity, its narrative unfolding through its form, structure, materials and relationship to site. In this way, it teaches future leaders 4,000 year old lessons about stewardship of the land and sea.

An interactive design process, involving children, teens, leadership, and artists guided the development of the program and the approach to building design. Among the program elements that emerged from this collaborative process were, climbing walls, art and music studios, MMA and weight room areas, a teen lounge and an outdoor oriented activity space for the younger set. TFN citizens of all ages expressed their commitment to maintaining the health of their traditional lands and using environmentally responsible and durable materials and systems for their new building.

This complex hybrid structure is the first in North America to use DLT walls as a significant structural component of the lateral force-resisting system despite the many large openings.

StructureCraft provided design-assist, supply and install of:

  • DLT (dowel laminated timber) perimeter wall panels
  • DLT roof panels (high roof and eyebrows)
  • DLT floor panels at half of second floor
  • Acoustic DLT (NRC 0.7) floor panels at other half of second floor
  • Wood species used was Hemlock
  • Total DLT panel area 26,000sqft

The second floor also contains StructureCraft’s Acoustic DowelLam DLT which provides sound absorption to the space below. The gymnasium on the second floor with a Sportec underlayment 4 mm overlaid with Sportec UNI classic 4mm. Damtec wave 3D 17/8 was installed as a resilient layer (acoustic insulation under screed) over the entire second floor, with 6 mm Damtec estra installed as a de-coupler strip around all wall perimeters, logs, MEP routing etc. Sportec and Damtec supplied by Ideal Fit. 

PROJECT CREDITS

  • Architect  Mackin Tanaka Architecture
  • Owner / Developer  Tsawwassen First Nation
  • General Contractor  Converge Construction
  • Landscape Architect  Zhiwei Lu
  • Civil Engineer  Webster Engineering Ltd.
  • Electrical/ Mechanical Engineer  MCW Consultants Ltd.
  • Timber construction  Durfeld Log & Timber
  • DLT Supply/install  StructureCraft
  • Photos  Ema Peter and Mitch Creek

PROJECT PERFORMANCE

  • Energy intensity (building and process energy from hydro-electric sources) = 180 KWhr/m2/year
  • Water consumption from municipal sources = 86,424 litres/occupant/year
  • Reduction in water consumption relative to reference building under LEED v4 = 18%

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Prefabrication and Modular Construction

The thermal performance of off-site prefabricated buildings and building enclosure systems

By Val Sylaj and Brian J Hall

As designers and owners are becoming more aware of the environmental impacts of the construction industry, including the types of materials used, more stringent requirements are being imposed by specifiers, and national codes and standards.   

This article provides some insights on the important measures of prefabrication and panelized systems on the thermal performance of buildings, the energy consumption, and the financial impacts to the investors.

A recent report from Dodge Data and Analytics published in 2020 shows a significant interest by the construction industry in prefabrication and modular construction mainly because of the improved productivity, reduced timeline, and cost, better sustainability performance, etc. 

https://www.construction.com/toolkit/reports/prefabrication-modular-construction-2020

An earlier report from Dodge Data and Analytics published in 2011 had also highlighted the following as the underlying drivers and benefits of prefabrication and modular construction: (1) Improved productivity and quality are key benefits in its usage, (2) Positive impacts on budget and schedule performance are widely experienced, and (3) Construction sites are ‘greener’ due to less waste being generated, and safer due to working with structure assemblies and modules produced offsite. 

Although major advances have been made in both prefabrication and modular construction since the 2011 report, many of the above mentioned factors are still consistent with the findings of the latest report from 2020. 

What is Prefabrication and Modular Construction?

With rapid population growth, the construction industry is always challenged to adapt its technologies based on the market demand such as the need for taller buildings, reduced onsite construction times, enhanced building performance, etc. Prefabrication and modular construction are certainly a solution to most, if not all, of these demands. 

Prefabrication is a construction method that involves fabricating and assembling building components offsite. It can refer to both flat elements (often known as prefabricated panelized systems), or to modular volumetric units that typically include complete spaces of a building such as an apartment unit, hotel room, jail cell, etc. In either case, prefabrication construction also provides innovative solutions in buildings where the entire building envelope can be fabricated offsite using prefabricated building components.

In addition to the need for accelerated building construction technology and consistency in quality, prefabrication and modular construction are also being considered to address concerns with site-specific skilled labour shortages. With prefabrication that is completely performed at an offsite facility, plant workers can be trained to perform specific skilled trades such as electrical and plumbing that form part of the finished element or room. 

Standard building construction practices require individual building components or materials to be delivered to a job site, stored and then placed or installed by labourers from multiple trades. This requires significant on-site space as well as time for setup and construction. Another very time-consuming on-site operation process is the exterior finish of the final building façade.                                                               

Conversely, off-site prefabricated components are delivered ‘just-in-time’ and installed by a smaller crew of skilled installers/erectors, directly from the truck onto the building, with the façade and architectural finishes already complete.    

It is clear that prefabrication is an ideal construction technology with minimal site disturbance and less labour required compared to traditional construction. Another important factor is improved safety, mainly because the work is done at ground level at a prefabrication facility, instead of working at elevated heights which is common with traditional construction. Further, the safety measures such as physical distancing during a pandemic can be easily implemented with very minimal or no effect on production.

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Design practice: Rethinking Multi-Unit Residential Design

Optimizing flexibility, affordability and construction efficiency

By Michelle Xuereb, Dev Mehta, Adryanne Quenneville and Tiffany Wong of BDP Quadrangle

The world is in a period of increased urbanization. In 2018 the United Nations estimated that by 2050 68% of the global population will be living in an urban area. Urban population growth has driven up land value and the costs associated with residential building construction. For most, living in an urban area means residing in a multi-unit residential building (MURB).

As the costs related to urban residential development have increased, the average unit size has decreased. For example, a typical two-bedroom-plus-den unit in one of Toronto’s older stock of residential buildings is usually around 1,000 square feet. Current residential developments fit the same program into roughly 750 square feet.

This squeezing of the floor plans, however, has reached its breaking point. Residential units can only be tightened so much without sacrificing the quality and functionality of the space. When every room is competing for floor area, designers need to get creative.

In March, BDP Quadrangle held a studio-wide ‘Shrinking Spaces Charrette’ to come up with innovative solutions for small units. We took a typical residential unit apart – examining every inch of space from the master bedroom to the pantry shelf – to find creative new ways of maximizing square footage within a limited space.

The future MURB unit does away with fixed rooms with set programs. Isolating in response to the pandemic has prompted all of us to find more flexibility in our living spaces, and also to question how MURB design can go further to support a sense of community and foster interaction with others while still maintaining privacy and a safe distance if required.

This pandemic experience has equipped us with a direct and immediate understanding of the specific desires for an improved at-home wellness experience – such as a need for both togetherness and separation from other family members; having a place to stow away a computer at the end of the day; the possibility to grow vegetables on a balcony; and the benefit of socializing with neighbours. We identified a need for more resilient, sustainable, flexible, and healthy spaces – all within a small footprint in order to maintain an affordable unit.

We began rethinking MURB units by asking: what would happen if we reduced or eliminated set programs? In order to optimize flexibility, we propose blurring the lines between rooms, rather than delineating them with demising walls.

To accommodate this, the building is designed with a structural column grid instead of shear walls, as is typical of Toronto construction. This structural system also uses less concrete – thereby reducing the building’s carbon footprint. For other elements that are typically fixed in place, such as the plumbing stacks and mechanical shafts, we arranged them in a manner that allows for an open plan: the kitchen, bathrooms, and laundry closets are consolidated on the perimeter of the unit. These shifts allow for a more flexible floor plan.

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Sponsored content: Ontario Association of Architects Headquarters retrofit

Inline Fiberglass elevates envelope performance

Dubbed “Wings Over Don Mills” when it opened in 1992 for its Toronto neighbourhood location and for its uplifted winged roof framing, the three-storey, 21,400-square-foot Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) Headquarters was deemed in need of a retrofit.

The goal was to refresh the interior and improve energy performance – in fact, to meet the 2030 Challenge which is intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in new buildings, developments and major renovations. As a result of the retrofit, the OAA Headquarters has moved to electrical power and is targetting a remarkable 85% energy use reduction to an impressive 55 kwh/m2/year.

The envelope upgrade included additional insulation, curtainwall retrofits, and new fiberglass frame, triple-glazed windows by Inline Fiberglass. Fiberglass frames combine strength with very low levels of conductivity, and have the lowest embodied energy when compared to other common window frame materials. They also resist corrosion for long life expectancy. Our Series 3000 windows are Passive House International certified.

Inline’s products can be treated with specialized resins that have been tested and are in compliance with CAN/ULC S134 test protocol allowing them to be used in non-combustible applications when approved by building inspectors, as in the case of the OAA project.

According to David Fujiwara, the architect of the retrofit, “Fiberglass frames were considered for the OAA office windows because of their thermal effectiveness, ability to carry a triple-glazed unit, slim profile and strength. They met all the requirements of the building code and of the project.

The replacement windows needed to fit within the existing frame opening available, so removal of old thermally unbroken aluminum frame windows, site measuring and installation of the new frames for an airtight fit was an essential part of the work. Coordination was also needed with the electrochromic glazing supplier View Smart Glass. The final touch was the addition of 3M light redirecting film to the upper transom strip of window.”

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