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SABMag Issue 66  – Winter 2019

RAIC Report: Striving for Net-Zero

By Tanner Morton, RAIC

The 2020 rebranding of the RAIC’s Festival of Architecture, to the Conference on Architecture, is not the only change on the way for Canada’s largest celebration of architecture. Last year, the RAIC worked with our partnering organizations to introduce new sustainability initiatives for the weeklong event–but for 2020–the RAIC is attempting a more ambitious goal. Our aim: make Conference 2020 a net-zero carbon-neutral event.

The goal of net-zero is to balance the carbon emissions produced and avoid creating a larger environmental footprint. When event organizers consider sustainability initiatives in their outline and programming, they can have a profoundly positive impact on their built environment.

For Conference 2020, strategies, initiatives, and partnerships are underway to limit the carbon emissions, and waste produced, over five days of programming. For carbon waste that can’t be outright eliminated, there will be measures to offset their impact on the environment. A significant contributor to the carbon footprint and environmental impact of any conference is the amount of electricity used during the event. The fact is: festivals and conferences use a staggering amount of electricity to run a full schedule of programming. What matters is the power source.

The RAIC is partnering with Less Emissions Inc., and their parent company Bullfrog Power, to limit the emissions produced for Conference 2020.

Bullfrog Power was established in 2005 and has become a well-respected name for green energy in Canada. Less Emissions is a specialized subsidiary of Bullfrog that works to limit the environmental impact of air travel–an important service for festivals and conferences across Canada.

An array of carbon offset programs are used by Less Emissions Inc. to reduce the environmental impact caused by transporting delegates, speakers, and hosts to Conference 2020.

Offset strategies help fund and develop worthwhile sustainability projects like the Nakhon biogas wastewater treatment plant in Thailand, which uses the methane generated from cleaning wastewater to generate electricity. Annually, the plant offsets 100,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions and is one of the main projects supported by Less Emissions Inc.

Achieving a net-zero architectural event is an ambitious goal for the RAIC. Only through our partnerships with like-minded organizations, dedicated volunteers, and innovative sustainability strategies, can we strive to make Conference 2020 as green as possible.

One-page Enbridge Gas ‘Savings By Design’ case study highlights 94% GHG cut in Passive House Soble Tower

The new one-page case study describes how the design team plans to reduce GHG emissions by 94% in the conversion of the 1967 Ken Soble Tower in Hamilton to a Passive House building. As part of the retrofit, the project team leveraged free technical assistance and financial incentives offered by Enbridge Gas’ Savings by Design program. The case study is found at: https://sabmagazine.com/case-studies/

Fire performance of Tall Wood Buildings underestimated: SABMag supplement

The new one-page case study describes how the design team plans to reduce GHG emissions by 94% in the conversion of the 1967 Ken Soble Tower in Hamilton to a Passive House building. As part of the retrofit, the project team leveraged free technical assistance and financial incentives offered by Enbridge Gas’ Savings by Design program. The case study is found at: https://sabmagazine.com/case-studies/

WorldGBC launches digital library of exemplar sustainable buildings from across the world

The World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) has launched a new digital case study library showcasing examples of the world’s most cutting-edge sustainable buildings.

Each case study demonstrates enhanced performance in relation to health benefits or the achievement of net zero operational carbon. Buildings and construction together account for 36% of global final energy use. By keeping track of these projects, WorldGBC wants to share insights about global trends in reducing the environmental impact of buildings, and to help inform policymakers, designers, and developers about the feasibility and best practices of advanced sustainable building performance. https://www.worldgbc.org/case-study-library

Passive House Canada/Maison Passive Canada appoints new CEO

Passive House Canada/Maison Passive Canada (PHC) has appointed Chris Ballard as its new CEO, replacing Rob Bernhardt who announced in early 2019 his intention to step down. Ballard had served as Ontario’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change, and as Minister of Housing and the Minister responsible for Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy and Member of the Treasury Board. He is a past Executive Director of the 60,000 member Consumers’ Association of Canada (Ontario) and a founding board member of the Consumers Council of Canada. stephanie.phillips@passivehousecanada.com

Teknion Toronto Hub receives Building Health Leadership Award

Teknion Corporation’s recently redesigned and expanded Toronto Collaboration Hub received the Building Health Leadership Award presented by the Green Health Partnership, a research and development initiative between the University of Virginia School of Medicine and USGBC, in collaboration with the International WELL Building Institute. The award was presented to Teknion at the Global Health and Wellness Summit during the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo, held in November at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. LEED Gold and WELL Silver certified, the Hub lets guests experience focused, collaborative or social workstyles firsthand, and aids well-being and productivity through biophilic elements woven throughout the showroom.

White paper recommends measures to reduce building emissions

 

The just-released white paper ‘Low-Rise Buildings as a Climate Change Solution’ from the Builders for Climate Action describes with bold graphics and concise text how measures taken in the areas of up-front embodied carbon, fuel source emissions and energy efficiency can reduce or eliminate building emissions between 2020 and 2050. https://www.buildersforclimateaction.org/

SABMag Issue 65  – Fall 2019

Latest SABMag Case Study: RJC Engineers on Energy Modelling

The latest SABMag one-page digital case study,  ‘Energy Modelling determines conservation measures at schematic design stage’, by national engineering firm, RJC Engineers,  describes how energy modelling is of such crucial importance at the schematic design stage to determine the energy conservation measures (ECMs) that must be implemented to synergize the thermal characteristics of the structural, enclosure, mechanical and electrical systems of the building. The developed ECMs can touch on more than just the envelope but also HVAC and electrical systems, both passive and active. See it at: https://sabmagazine.com/case-studies.

Passive House in Langley a demo for others

The latest SABMag one-page digital case study,  ‘Energy Modelling determines conservation measures at schematic design stage’, by national engineering firm, RJC Engineers,  describes how energy modelling is of such crucial importance at the schematic design stage to determine the energy conservation measures (ECMs) that must be implemented to synergize the thermal characteristics of the structural, enclosure, mechanical and electrical systems of the building. The developed ECMs can touch on more than just the envelope but also HVAC and electrical systems, both passive and active. See it at: https://sabmagazine.com/case-studies.

Report shares inside story of BC’s trailblazing Energy Step Code

The recent report, ‘Lessons From the BC Energy Step Code’, explains how BC created a first-in-North America building code designed to improve energy efficiency and transform the market towards the ultimate goal of net-zero energy-ready performance.

The Step Code is a section of the BC Building Code that local governments may use, if they wish, to require or incentivize builders to deliver a higher level of energy efficiency performance in new construction projects.

The publication details the collaborative process that yielded the Step Code in the hope that other jurisdictions will develop a similar code, and the 10 key lessons learned.

1. Pitch a Big Tent, and Embrace Shared Leadership

2. Set Your End Game, then Backcast

3. Fear Not Your Local Governments

4. Provide Simple, Clear, and Accessible Materials

5. Encourage Collective Ownership

6. Identify and Tackle Cost ‘Pain Points’

7. Offer an Easy On-Ramp to Performance Codes

8. Consider Elections and Seasonal Factors in your Roll-Out Plan

9. This is a Change-Management Process

10. Continue to Refine and Improve the Standard Over Time

‘Lessons From the BC Energy Step Code’ is available via the Province of British Columbia’s dedicated BC Energy Step Code site at: energystepcode.ca, under Resources/Publications.

 

Endress+Hauser Canada: Three in one certification a first for a private company in Canada

Designed by mcCallumSather, the new two-storey, 47,000 square-foot Customer Experience Centre in Burlington, Ontario for Endress+Hauser Canada will target net zero energy, the Zero Carbon Building Standard and LEED Gold through the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC). This will make Endress+Hauser, a global leader in process measurement and instrumentation, the first private company in Canada to pursue all three certifications at once. Completion is planned for the fall of 2020.

“For a private company to make the investment in zero carbon design shows incredible ambition and foresight. The key to completing a project of this complexity is to work as an integrated team. This specialised approach and commitment from our client will result in a one-of-a-kind net zero facility that changes the standard for this global company,” says Drew Hauser, Director at mcCallumSather.

New book an indispensable guide on solar electricity

BC-based New Society Publishers will soon release the new book, Solar Electricity Basics, 2nd ed: Powering Your Home or Office with Solar Energy by Dan Chiras, Ph.D. a noted author of numerous books on renewable energy. The book offers a concise and up-to-date guide covering all the essentials, such as:

• How to size, cost, and choose the right system,

• Where to mount a system for best performance,

• Type of modules and inverters,

• How to install and maintain batteries,

• Cost vs benefit for solar electric systems, and

• How to connect to the grid.

$19.95, taxes and shipping extra. Paperback (6”x9”), 240 pages.

Publisher: New Society Publishers (https://www.newsociety.com)

ISBN: 9780865719255

The RAIC and Canada Council for the Arts launch 2020 Governor General’s Medals in Architecture

The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) and the Canada Council for the Arts invite architects to participate in the competition for the 2020 Governor General’s Medals in Architecture, one of the country’s most prestigious and coveted architectural awards. Awarded every two years, the 12 medals recognize and celebrate outstanding design in recently completed built projects  by Canadian architects. Submission deadline: December 6, 2019 at 12:00 a.m. ET. Apply at https://raic.org. The call for submissions is open to all architects or team of architects who were the lead design architects. They must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada, and licensed or registered with a Canadian provincial or territorial jurisdiction. Eligible projects are those that were built in and outside of Canada and completed between January 1, 2012, and September 1, 2019. mcook@raic.org

EVENTS

PRODUCTS

Fast-Tube™ fast, economical and steps lightly

Fast-Tube™ by BC-based FAB-Form is a ‘soft’ fabric column form for forming round concrete columns. Manufactured from high strength polyethylene, Fast-Tube™ comes on rolls and is available in diameters from 8″ to 20″. Installation, pouring and stripping is quick and easy, with minimal disturbance of the site. https://www.fab-form.com

Arriscraft introduces Metropolitan over-sized building stone

Cambridge, ON-based Arriscraft has introduced Metropolitan which combines long length and various heights – giving designers tremendous flexibility. The masonry units feature a sandblasted texture, are 31-5/8″ long, and available in three face rises: 1-15/16″, 4-1/4″ and 6-1/2″, and in four colours:  Greyrock, Nutmeg, Oakmoss and White. Arriscraft’s Natural Process technology uses only natural materials (plus colour pigments) and replicates how stone is created in the earth. This patented process creates stone with the natural aesthetics and durability of quarried stone, plus the convenience of standard installation and unlimited supply. www.arriscraft.com

 

GSky® Living Green Walls launches Versa Wall® XT for exterior installation

GSky Plant Systems, Inc., a global leader in the design and production of interior and exterior green walls, has launched the Versa Wall® XT system, an exterior living wall alternative to pre-grown panels. Unlike the pre-planted panels used in most exterior green walls, Versa Wall® XT uses one-gallon potted plants in lightweight trays such that full-grown plants can be swapped in quickly and cleanly. This system can be a seasonal alternative in colder climates where plants can be removed for the winter or replaced entirely in the spring. Its patented vertical irrigation technology cuts water waste, prevents oversaturation, and boosts cost efficiency by automatically running a timed gravity-based irrigation cycle two to three times per week. https://gsky.com/versa-xt/