Interview with Jeff Gold of Nexus Circular LLC

Jeff Gold is the COO/founder of Nexus, the leading circular waste-plastics solution company based in Atlanta that converts landfill-bound plastics to reusable plastics. nexuscircular.com

1. What does Nexus do exactly?

Nexus converts waste plastics that are typically bound for a landfill or incineration into chemical feedstocks that are used to create new, virgin plastics.  We take the polyethylene, polypropylene, and polystyrene that cannot be economically recycled through mechanical systems and transform them into valuable liquids and waxes that our partners use to create a huge range of new plastic products.  Our process is very energy efficient and by directing our output into new plastics versus fuel products that are burned, we sequester the carbon in those plastics and prevent their entry into the environment as harmful greenhouse gases.

2. How does the waste plastics conversion work?

Nexus uses a process known as pyrolysis, or “thermal depolymerization” to transform waste plastic back into its basic molecular forms. This process works by applying heat to the plastic but excluding all oxygen so that instead of burning, the plastic simply liquefies and decomposes into a variety of hydrocarbon molecules. Most plastics are made of long hydrocarbon chains and pyrolysis provides a way to “cut” those chains into smaller pieces that become liquids or waxes once they are cooled.  It is these liquids and waxes that can then be used in the industrial systems that make new plastic resins.

3. Is the conversion process truly a ‘closed loop’?

We consider our process to be “closed loop” because all the plastic that goes into the system is converted into a new product that is captured at various points in the system.  For example, most of the incoming plastic is converted to liquids and a wax product that is collected and shipped off directly to our off-take partners.  The process also produces a flammable gas that we likewise capture and then use to heat the pyrolysis reactors.  A fourth product that results from the process is a carbon-black char material that forms in the reactors from small amounts of paper and cardboard that are mixed in with the plastic feedstock and from normal decomposition of plastic when it contacts very hot surfaces.  This char is collected and can be used as an asphalt additive. In this way, all the products formed from the plastic feedstock are converted, captured, and used in some way making the process truly closed loop.

4. What have been the challenges you have encountered?

Converting waste plastic at a commercial scale into useful products and doing so economically is very hard.

The principle technical challenges we have encountered revolve primarily around feedstock in terms of collection, contamination, and composition. The challenge has been to create a highly adaptable system that can accept a wide variation of inputs and produce a uniform, consistent, high-quality output.  Maintaining reactor performance in the face of a variable feedstock stream has also posed technical challenges around managing heat distribution to yield our desired products while minimizing energy consumption which is why we have taken all the learnings from our first plant and are now applying them to a third- generation design.

Another challenge involves proving that chemical recycling is a viable technology in the fight against plastic pollution.  There have been numerous press releases and announcements by groups in the chemical recycling space touting a solution that fails to materialize and when this happens often enough, a perception is created that this is something that does not really work.  While there is a lot of progress yet to be made, Nexus has shown that the technology can be effective and that it merits serious consideration.

5. What is the future? How far to do you see an operation like yours going?

We feel very optimistic about the future!  We have a team in place that has built an innovative and economic process that addresses the pressing environmental issue of plastic pollution and we have proven that Nexus is one of the few companies that can deliver our product at commercial scale and consistent quality.

Demand for our products is extremely high as many companies work towards satisfying consumer demands to increase the amount of certified recycled content in their products and take positive steps to improve the planet’s environmental quality.  Our challenge now is to scale the business at a rate that can keep pace with our customer’s needs, and to that end, we are working very hard to establish new locations both at home and overseas. Given that the use of plastics is expected to continue its upward trend over the next several,Nexus is poised to expand on its industry leadership position and play a major role in combatting plastic pollution for years to come.

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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.

After winning an international architectural competition in 2014, KANVA, co-founded by Rami Bebawi and Tudor Radulescu, was commissioned for the $25 million project by Space for Life, the body charged with overseeing operations of the Biodome, Planetarium, Insectarium, and Botanical Garden.

“Our mandate was to enhance the immersive experience between visitors and the museum’s distinct ecosystems, as well as to transform the building’s public spaces,” notes Rami Bebawi, a partner of KANVA and the project’s lead architect. “In doing so, we embraced the role that the Biodome plays in sensitizing humans to the intricacies of natural environments, particularly in the current context of climate change and the importance of understanding its effects.”

KANVA studied the complexity of both building and program, a living entity comprised of ecosystems and complex machinery critical to supporting life. They realized that any intervention they proposed must be very delicate, and would require careful coordination and management within a truly collaborative design process. The success of this approach serves as a model for the future to better address the environmental issues in design.

The team began by targeting spaces that could be transformed in ways that would maximize the value of the building’s architectural heritage. The carving of a new core combined with the demolition of the low ceiling at the main entrance opened the space skyward to the extraordinary roof, composed of massive skylight panels that infuse the building with an abundance of natural light.

This massive open space became the circulation core between the ecosystems. To guide visitors, KANVA worked with Montreal-based Sollertia, on the parametric design and construction of a lightweight fabric living skin [1] that could be wrapped around the ecosystems to guide visitors, differentiate spaces and modulate the multi-sensory experience of the exhibits. The fabric walls total 500 metres in length, with the largest section being 18m x 18m.

The complex curvature of this biophilic skin, with its aluminum supporting structure, required sophisticated engineering and minutely precise prefabrication. Using a combination of tension, cantilevers, and triangular beams for suspension, the system is anchored to a primary steel structure. Mechanical junctions accommodate a variety of movements and allow for on-site adjustments.

Text edited by SABMag editior Jim Taggart, FRAIC from material supplied by the project team.

PROJECT CREDITS

  • Design Architect and Project Manager  KANVA
  • Collaborating Architect  NEUF architects
  • Textile Architecture Specialist/Fabricator  Sollertia
  • Electromechanical Engineers  Bouthillette Parizeau Inc.
  • Structural Engineer  NCK Inc.
  • Building Code and Cost Consultant  Groupe GLT+
  • Specification writer  Atelier 6
  • Lighting Design Consultant  LightFactor
  • Collaborating Exhibition Designer  La bande à Paul
  • Collaborating Set Designer  Anick La Bissonnière
  • Collaborating Museologist  Nathalie Matte
  • Wayfinding Specialist  Bélanger Design
  • Land Surveyor  Topo 3D
  • Acoustics Specialist  Soft dB
  • Photos  James Brittain

The complex curvature of the fabric membrane walls, with their aluminum supporting structure, required sophisticated engineering and precise prefabrication. The membrane chosen for the Biodome (Alphalia Silent AW by Sollertia) has acoustic properties which reduce sound reverberation and improve the comfort of the visitors.

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Materials selection elevates buildings

By CaGBC

A healthy building is made of healthy building blocks. Using sustainable materials that comply with building codes today – and those decades in the future – really help a project stand out.

Over the last decade the building sector has been redefined by innovations in building materials and an increased interest for materials transparency. Occupants are concerned about their exposure to the chemical components of the building materials; owners want to understand what materials are present in their building; and designers and architects are no longer content to simply specify a product without understanding the holistic attributes of that product. Where design and budget constraints traditionally determined materials selection, now a growing awareness and interest in sustainability is driving new behaviours.

Increasingly, manufacturers are offering more sustainable, durable, and resilient materials. By pursuing the highest sustainability standards, manufacturers are diversifying their products with greener alternatives to classic building materials. As a result, more project teams are able to earn credits towards certification for rating systems and standards such Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) or CaGBC’s Zero Carbon Building (ZCB) Standard®.

Today, architects and project teams can access detailed information about building materials and products. This allows them to weigh their options against the building’s sustainability goals and keep LEED Building Product Disclosure and Optimization (BPDO) credits in sight. Information like that included in Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) or Heath Product Declarations (HPDs) provides full disclosure of any potential areas of concern in a product, helping projects limit potential negative impacts on the environment and building occupant health.

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The Passive Narrowtive House

Infill project a model of gentle densification and adaptability to changing needs

By Nick Bray Architecture

“The Passive Narrowtive” is located on a narrow infill lot near the centre of Vancouver. The house is lived in by the architect’s young family, with a tenant living in the garden suite below.

The intent was to demonstrate that a certified Passive House could be built on a small and challenging site, rethink housing design, and test innovative products and technologies.

The size and orientation of the site presented unique challenges, being long and narrow with the south elevation limited to a width of only 5.5 metres. More critically, its location in a peat bog with a high water table, required an innovative, low-impact foundation system to maintain the natural hydrology and comply with new environmental regulations. The house sits on a grid of beams spanning between 46-12m deep piles, its basement waterproofed with a durable, high quality tanking membrane.

The original one-bedroom house was beyond repair and was deconstructed, with over 90% of materials recycled. The elongated plan of the new house, with a depth of 14.6 metres, resulted in a high surface to volume ratio and hence a less than ideal form factor for the Passive House energy modelling. The narrow south-facing elevation was designed with large windows and deep solar-shading canopies to provide sufficient natural light, winter-solar-gain, and to prevent overheating in summer.

Space-efficiency was a critical design objective, the main consideration being to minimize the environmental impact of the building over its anticipated 100-year service life.  The 246m²  home contains five spacious bedrooms and five bathrooms.

The above-grade walls built with pre-fabricated structural insulated panels. The air barrier used on the house, the NS-A250 barrier by Naturaseal, is an eco-friendly waterproof, vapour resistant, UV stable elastomeric coating that is cold-applied using a spray system.

Large glazed doors bring natural light into the basement apartment. The high performance triple-glazed wood windows and doors, and the HRV ventilation system, were supplied by Vetta Building Technologies.

PROJECT CREDITS

  • Owner/Developer/Architect  Nick Bray Architecture Ltd
  • Contractor  JDL Homes Vancouver / Black Thumb Contracting
  • Structural Engineer  Miskimmin Structural Engineering
  • Commissioning Agent  Rudy Sawatzky
  • Photos  Martin Knowles Photo / Media

PROJECT PERFORMANCE

  • Total energy Intensity (base building and process energy) = 54.5 KWhr/m²/year

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Multifaith Housing Initiative: Veterans’ House

Higher standard building enclosure and materials provide healthier living, lower operating costs

Jessie Smith and Stephen Pope

MHI Veterans’ House: The Andy Carswell Building is Canada’s first community housing project specifically designed for veterans.  Located on the former Rockcliffe Air Base, this three-storey, 40-unit apartment building provides safe, healthy, and affordable housing for veterans. The project is part of a contemporary mixed-use community that is walkable, cycling-supportive, transit-oriented, and built at a human scale.

Twenty percent of the units and all common amenity spaces inside Veterans House are fully accessible, while the remaining suites are ‘visitable’. Partnering non-profit organizations have access to shared office space on the ground floor, enabling them to provide a variety of support services for veterans as they adjust to civilian life. Communal spaces, including a multipurpose room, a fitness room, and a shared kitchen promote community engagement and healthy living.

In preparation for this project, MHI invited Ottawa Salus Corporation and several veteran-focused groups to attend a ‘Plan of Care’ charette to discuss the design features that would best support the needs of veterans. Of particular importance was the provision of extensive landscaping to ensure residents would have easy visual and physical access to nature.

In response, the site was designed to maximize the amount of green space on the property. This has provided individual suites unobstructed views and access to abundant daylight. Walking paths and a dog run surround the building to promote a healthy lifestyle. The landscape design also includes healing, meditation, and vegetable gardens to provide a place of respite for those suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) who may find comfort in the solitude.

Inside the building, finishes were selected to avoid trigger colours for those suffering from PTSD. Exposed wood accents are used throughout the building, including large mass timber canopies, to evoke a sense of calm.

MHI chose to follow the Passive House standard for the design and construction of the building. Extra investment was made to achieve high levels of air tightness and thermal control of the building envelope. Ventilation air is provided by premium energy recovery ventilators, supplying continuous and balanced outdoor fresh air. Energy modeling shows that the building has a 43% energy use reduction and 57% carbon reduction relative to the National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings (NECB) 2015 reference model.

PROJECT CREDIT

  • Owner/Developer  Multifaith Housing Initiative
  • Architect  CSV Architects
  • General contractor  McDonald Brothers Construction
  • Landscape Architect  Lashley & Associates
  • Civil Engineer McIntosh Perry
  • Mechanical/Electrical Engineer  Smith & Andersen
  • Structural engineer  Cunliffe and Associates
  • Commissioning Agent Geo-Energie
  • Photos  Krista Jahnke Photography, CSV Architects

The main entrance. Windows by NZP Fenestration are certified for Passive House.

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Doig River Cultural Centre

Community building brings superb energy performance to northern climate

By Peter Hildebrand 

The Doig River Cultural Centre in Rose Prairie, BC is among Canada’s most northerly PHI-certified projects and the first certified First Nations community building completed. The main level comprises 250m² of community-oriented space with an upper mezzanine for additional seating and a lower level comprising a daycare and an Elders lounge. The design, which allows for multiple uses within a single building, was intended to promote inter-generational interaction and fulfill the community’s desire for a safe and healthy space for all its members.

In such a small and remote community, a close network of buildings is crucial to establish a central gathering place and create a critical mass for community functions. The project’s site locates the Centre close to the existing community administration building to create a somewhat civic centre. This proximity also minimized the need for major infrastructure expansion.

Nestled into the slope in a grove of birch and aspen trees, the building complements its natural surroundings and offers a gesture of welcome at the entrance to the community. The slope also facilitates grade access to both levels, which eliminates the need for an elevator or wheelchair lift.

The choice of building form and orientation were critical, with a large south-facing roof and extensive glazing required to maximize winter solar heat gain and optimize PV panel exposure. This orientation also creates a dynamic display of light and shadow across the splayed walls as the melting snow constantly shifts and changes shape as it makes its way down the surface of the glass. The compact two-level plus mezzanine organization of the program minimizes the building’s footprint, reduces the surface-to-volume ratio, and lessens the environmental impact of the building on the site.

The structure is a hybrid of site-built and prefabricated components, thus increasing quality and precision. The primary structural system consists of glue-laminated arches with prefabricated panels between them that arrived on site with pre-installed insulation. An additional 300mm of insulation was added around the entire perimeter of the building, which was secured using wood strapping and 350mm screws.

The screws were oriented at opposing angles in a truss-like configuration to ensure vertical rigidity and prevent the insulation from sagging. Fastening the thick layer of insulation to the face of the sheathing required careful detailing and a new approach to the cladding system design. The exterior cladding materials comprise standing seam metal roof and wall cladding, and a composite shake product made from recycled plastic and wood fibres that comes with a 50-year warranty.

The sleek, straight-lined Prolok profile of the metal cladding, supplied by Westform, provides long-term durability in unlimited colour options.

PROJECT CREDITS

  • Architect  Iredale Architecture
  • Owner/Developer  Doig River First Nation
  • General Contractor  Erik Olofsson Construction Inc.
  • Landscape Architect  Urban Systems
  • Civil Engineer Urban Systems
  • Electrical Engineer  EDG Corporation
  • Mechanical Engineer  Rocky Point Engineering Ltd.
  • Structural engineer  Equilibrium Consulting Inc.
  • Passive House Consultant  RDH Building Science
  • Passive House Certifier  Edsco
  • Geotechnical Engineer  Golder Associates

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A BLANKET OF WARMTH – Star Blanket Cree Nation, SK

Technical Award

MacPherson Engineering Inc.

Jury Comment: “This simple, affordable and highly transferable design solution to the substandard indoor environmental quality in much of the First Nations housing stock across the country, is notable for its collaborative approach and the inspiration it takes from traditional Aboriginal structures. The transition from forced air to radiant heat brings multiple benefits, with a payback period of less than 10 years.”

To address the mould issue, MacPherson Engineering partnered with universities, industry leaders, psychologists, Knowledge Keepers, engineers, and businesses. The project needed to be affordable, ecofriendly, incorporate Indigenous knowledge, and create positive social values of inclusion, cooperation, and respect.

The project broadened responsible consumption and production with the installation of the hybrid heating system on 75% of the concrete perimeter basement walls.

Aligning with the United Nations goals, the retrofitting of conventional HVAC with a system that was simple to install and operate improved efficiency and sustainability.

After installation, a comparative study was done, proving that radiant heating is a feasible solution to address air quality, thermal comfort, and energy use and humidity problems, performing much better than traditional HVAC systems. 

PROJECT CREDITS

  • Owner / Developer  Star Blanket Cree Nation
  • Mechanical Engineer  MacPherson Engineering Inc.
  • Plumbing and Heating  Anaquod Plumbing and Heating
  • Construction  J McNaughton Construction
  • University of Regina  Dr Arm Henni & Capstone students
  • Photos  Aura Lee MacPherson

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ROB AND CHERYL MCEWEN GRADUATE STUDY & RESEARCH BUILDING

Solar chimney marks addition to Schulich School of Business, York University

Architecture and engineering are seamlessly integrated in the Rob and Cheryl McEwen graduate 6,166m²  academic research and classroom building to create a unique, climate responsive, hybrid environmental design  that promotes occupant wellbeing, while reducing energy use intensity to a level significantly below the model national reference standard.

By Barry Sampson

Environmental design strategies include:

  • Optimized building orientation and façade design for effective shading and solar harvesting;
  • A high-performance envelope with window-to-wall ratio carefully calibrated for effective daylighting and maximized insulation;
  • High-efficiency mechanical systems including activated concrete with radiant heating and cooling, high output metal cooling acoustic baffles and dedicated outside air displacement system.
  • A hybrid active/passive bioclimatic system featuring a climate responsive solar chimney that uses stack effect to drive effective building-wide natural ventilation, and contributes to passive pre-heating of the fresh air supply.
  • The project is targeting LEED Gold certification and is also equipped with the energy infrastructure required to achieve net zero energy in the future, pending the addition of onsite photovoltaic panels and geothermal boreholes. Together, the bustling atrium and the landmark solar chimney are physical manifestations of the school’s dual goals: to break down the physical and social barriers to creative thinking, while simultaneously putting into action the School’s commitment to sustainable design.

The unique form and architectural identity of the McEwen Building results from the synthesis of climate- adapted passive system design, program planning, and urban design responses to challenging site constrains.

Folded surfaces are used to transform the building footprint from alignment with the south-east orientation of the campus to optimal solar orientation of the building’s south facade for effective shading and solar energy harvesting, in particular optimizing the solar preheat mode of the solar chimney.  South- and west-facing glazing with Inline Fiberglass windows is shaded in summer by solar awnings and louvered shading devices.

The south-facing wind-sheltered courtyard creates an extension of the building’s social terrain and expands the existing system of interconnected courtyards of the original Schulich complex.

With interior social activities of the atrium visible through the exterior glazed wall and the chimney illuminated above as a landmark at night, these two strategic elements emphasize the social and environmental roles of the building to the campus at large.  Access by public transit is straightforward, facilitating the hosting of a variety of events and conferences. With York University subway station just a three-minute walk away, there was no requirement for additional on-site parking; instead, numerous bike parking rings were installed near the building entrances.

The 28-metre tall solar chimney, situated on top of the central atrium, drives the multi modal hybrid active/passive ventilation and environmental control system. The building automation system monitors the rooftop weather station and controls the switching between three ventilation modes: passive hybrid natural ventilation mode in shoulder seasons, active preheat mode in winter, and active cooling mode in summer.

In active modes, during the summer and winter when windows must be closed to save energy and control humidity, the building uses a Dedicated Outside Air System (programmed to save energy by meeting ventilation requirements only, rather than heating or cooling which are provided by the Klimatrol [Klimatrol (Rehau)- (905) 454-1742 and Artech (Lindner) (905) 454-1742] radiant system), and low-speed displacement ventilation. This delivers a building-wide 1.8 air changes per hour (ACH); however, this is a rare maximum supply since occupancy sensors ensure that ventilation air is delivered only where required.

PROJECT CREDITS

  • Owner/Developer  York University
  • Architect  Baird Sampson Neuert Architects
  • General Contractor  Ellis Don Construction
  • Landscape Architect  PLANT Architect Inc.
  • Civil Engineer  R.V. Anderson Associates Limited
  • Electrical/ Mechanical Engineer  Crosssey Engineering Ltd.
  • Structural Engineer  Blackwell Structural Engineers
  • Commissioning Agent JLL
  • Climate Consultants  Transsolar
  • Code Consultant  Leber Rubes Inc.
  • Building Envelope Consultants  RDH Building Science Inc.
  • Acoustical Consultants  Swallow Acoustic Consultants
  • Cost Consultants  Vermeulens Cost Consultants
  • Elevator Consultant  KJA Consultants Inc.
  • Photos  Steven Evans Photography & Cindy Nguyen

PROJECT PERFORMANCE

  • Energy intensity (building and process energy) = 89.1 KWhr/m²/year
  • Energy intensity reduction relative to reference building under MNECB = 74,2%
  • Water consumption from municipal sources = 2,170 litres/occupant/year
  • Reduction in water consumption relative to reference building under LEED = 47%
  • Recycled material content by value = 20.1%
  • Regional materials (800km radius) by value = 39,2%
  • Construction waste diverted from landfill = 88.5%
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UBC AQUATIC CENTRE

Advanced sustainable design strategies improve performance in this challenging building type

Completed In 2017, this 8000m² hybrid competition and community aquatic facility replaces an aging indoor and outdoor pool complex, no longer capable of meeting the University of British Columbia’s changing needs. The challenge was to create a facility that would balance the high-performance training requirements of the university successful competitive swim program, with the increased demand for lessons and leisure opportunities from the rapidly expanding residential communities on campus.

By Jim Taggart

The Aquatic Centre is divided north south into four linear program ‘bars’ – lobby and change rooms, community aquatics, competition aquatics, and bleachers. Daylight is used to differentiate between the two aquatic halls. A line of Y-shaped columns supports a continuous six-metre wide skylight that bisects the aquatic hall, delineating competition and leisure areas. A translucent screen creates a luminescent barrier between the two principal spaces, making it possible to control the uses, and have two different activities or events taking place simultaneously.

The architectural composition consists of three distinct elements: a tessellated standing seam metal roof that hovers over an inclined black concrete base, and is separated from it by a continuous ribbon of fritted glazing. The roof rises and falls according to the functional requirements of the spaces below, its slopes and projections providing rain protection, solar shading, and control of daylight penetration as required. The building has become an integral part of the university’s new student hub, adjacent to the bus loop and a few steps from the new student union building.

As a building type, aquatic centres present some major challenges from the sustainability perspective, including water conservation, air quality, energy optimization, light control and acoustic performance.

Water Conservation

Of these, water conservation is the most significant, standard practice being that pools are emptied and the water discarded every time the pool requires maintenance. For the project team, not only did this seem an outdated practice from an environmental point of view, it also seemed incompatible with UBC’s reputation as a leading proponent of sustainable design.

In fact, water conservation has been an important consideration for the UBC Properties Trust for two decades, with new buildings now required to reduce water consumption by 30% relative to the reference standard. This is part of an overall requirement that all new projects are built to LEED Gold standard.

With the university currently conducting research on regenerative neighbourhoods, the project team began looking for ways in which the building could contribute positively to the infrastructure requirements of the community as a whole.

The answer was to create an underground cistern that could not only collect all the pool water during maintenance, but also supply the fire department should the need arise, or accommodate storm surge water for the north campus precinct, so relieving pressure on the existing storm sewer system.

The cistern, which has a capacity of 900,000 litres, is divided into three compartments according to the amount of filtration required prior to reuse. Another of its functions is to collect rainwater from the roof and the adjacent transit plaza, reusing it for toilet flushing, irrigation and poll top up.

  • PROJECT CREDITS
  • Client  UBC Properties Trust
  • Architects   MJMA & Acton Ostry Architects
  • Photos  Shai Gil; Ema Peter

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Radium Hot Springs Community Hall and Library, Radium Hot Springs, BC

Institutional [Small] Award | Urban Arts Architecture

Jury comments: This community project in a small town in the mountains of British Columbia reimagines the meaning of ‘community investment’. With a community-centred procurement focus, the project was designed to optimize the social and economic benefits for those living and working within a 100-mile radius of the site and, as such, creates a new ‘recipe’ based on the locally-available ingredients of materials, technology and craft skills.    

The village of Radium Hot Springs Is located in the mountainous southeast corner of British Columbia. The new Community Hall and Library occupy a prominent corner in the centre of the village, overlooking the Legends Park kettle hole.

Designed as the “100 mile” building, the project maximizes the use of local materials and trades in the Columbia Valley. The project goals were to: support economic sustainability through a unique project process that would maximize the use of local resources, both material and human; demonstrate the use of renewable resources and innovative replicable building systems; and create a building that would respond to the micro-climate of the site.

Critical to the success of the project was an integrative design process that identified local materials, resources and labour, thereby dramatically reducing the life cycle embodied energy and overall carbon footprint of the development. The design process resulted in a building that maximized the use of local wood fibre, utilizing approximately 288 cubic metres of wood products harvested from woodlots within 50 kilometres of the site and processed at the local Canfor mill just one kilometer away.

The structure comprises dowel laminated timber (DLT) panels combined with glulam posts and beams. DLT is a mass timber structural panel constructed of standard dimensional lumber, friction-fit together with hardwood dowels, not requiring the use of nails, screws, or adhesives.

This combination results in a structural system with a high potential for demountability, adaptability and reuse. Much of the material fabrication was carried out locally, including the panels which  were prefabricated off-site in Golden, 60 kilometres north of Radium, and transported to the site in a choreographed sequence to maximize efficiency. The cladding was milled by a local mill and charred in Brisco, eight kilometres from the site.

The building is organized and oriented to maximize passive strategies with a long linear form on the east-west axis, permitting natural daylighting and cross ventilation. Strategically located roof overhangs control solar exposure.

Window locations are carefully calibrated to capture the views of the mountains and connect to the park while maintaining less than 40% window-to-wall ratio for energy efficiency.

PROJECT CREDITS

  • Client:  Village of Radium Hot Springs
  • Architect:  Urban Arts Architecture
  • Civil Engineer:  Core Group Consultants
  • Electrical Engineer:  Applied Engineering Solutions
  • Mechanical Engineering:  Rocky Point Engineering Ltd.
  • Structural Engineer: Equilibrium Canada
  • General Contractor:  Ken Willimont
  • Landscape Architect:  Hapa Collaborative
  • Photos:  Dave Best

PROJECT PERFORMANCE

  • Energy intensity (building and process energy) = 274 KWhr/m²/year
  • Energy intensity reduction relative to reference building = 36%
  • Regional materials (800km radius) by value = 80%

Lighting and acoustic panels are built into the roof panels. Uponor supplied PEX piping for the heating system consisting of air-source heat pumps and high-efficiency Viessmann Vitodens 200-W boilers.

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