sustainable homes has been a primary focus for Avalon for several years,
“said Neidert. “There is a growing market for sustainable homes, and
the more they are in the marketplace, the more economical they
become because of the increasing availability – and acceptance –
of materials and systems.”
builds a Discovery House, or research house, every few years. “This is
our third Discovery House. It’s a great way to test new technologies. If
they prove effective, we incorporate a particular technology or innovation
into our standard construction. If an idea needs works, the Discovery
House gives us the practical environment we need to see the problems.”
new house includes several innovations. For example, there are no gas
lines. Instead, the house sports a large solar thermal water heating
system. The house is powered with an 8.3 kilowatt solar PV panel system.
Canadian homes protect us from the winter chill with R40 insulation. The
Neidert residence features R72 insulation in the walls and R80 in the
nine-inch-thick walls themselves are constructed from two parallel sheets
of OSB with insulating foam injected between the sheets. The house is also
the testing ground for new exterior wall framing.
shutters on all exterior windows helped the family keep cool on hot summer
days. “When we wake up in the morning, we shut them all. There are
different settings on the shutters so you can literally black out the
entire house, or open them to allow some light to come through. They
really work! On the hottest summer days, the house reached only 23o inside
– of course with no air conditioning.”
house also features slab construction. “It’s more efficient to control
heat loss from cold air than it is from the ground. Basically, the house
is a bungalow with a large attic living space. The four corners of the
attic are designed for storage.”
the use of space is also the name of the game. Basements are often highly
prized for the storage space they offer. For the Neiderts, a ship’s
ladder that folds into the ceiling in the garage makes the space in the
garage loft easily accessible for articles traditionally stored in
family has moved often enough that we know the advantages of keeping our
possessions under control. The house has ample
storage for the three of us," Neidert says.
“At first, I was sceptical of not having a basement but it’s working
just fine. It’s a matter of letting go of preconceptions and being
willing to try new approaches.”
sister company in Calgary is building Discovery House IV, focusing on
working out more cost-effective ways of achieving the innovations built
into his house. “Discovery III was a learning curve. Now we take the next
steps beyond it.”
those steps will lead to the Discovery III innovations becoming standard
construction practices. Evolution is, indeed, an exciting process.
density expanding polyurethane foam is being used in many ways in the
building industry, from spray insulation, to concrete raising, soil
stabilization, rigid paving repair, foundations, piles and even load
how ‘green’ is it? It’s a chemical resin, right? Polyurethane foam
is lightweight so it won’t overburden soil or foundations, yet it is
extremely strong and durable. Most installation methods are quick,
efficient, and require very little construction activity. Some
polyurethane foams can also aid in achieving LEED® credits and
prerequisites such as minimum and optimum energy performance (products can
have high thermal characteristics of R5.5 to R6 per inch of thickness),
management of construction waste (the waste, if any, generated from
installation can be recycled), indoor environmental quality –
specifically due to its typically low to zero VOC lab tests, and,
depending on where your project site is located, regional materials.
those looking to use high density polyurethane foam, Alberta has a few
local manufacturers. Uretek in particular formulates their product on
site, reducing the carbon footprint associated with plant manufacturing
and transportation. For more information, see www.uretek.ca
Construction staffer Steve Martin isn’t surprised about the growing
interest in green building. “It’s in humanity’s best interest to
take an interest in green construction. It’s a responsible direction for
with that philosophic perspective and the need to make sense of an
intimidating array of information in preparation for the LEED® Accredited
Professional (AP) exam later this year, Steve signed up for the “Building
Green with LEED” course offered this spring at NAIT.
is one of only eight to 10 post secondary institutions in Canada approved
by the Canada Green Building Council to offer the course. Two years ago,
the institute had identified that sustainable building techniques and
alternate energy technologies are leading-edge industry practices. These
emerging fields dovetail exactly with NAIT’s mission.
like to develop or facilitate the development of leading edge courses and
programs as we are a technology-based Institute. We knew there would be a
big demand for this course, given what we were hearing from industry, so
we approached the CaGBC and worked with them to ensure both their needs
and our students' needs would be met by offering this course,” said
Laurie Halldorson, NAIT’s Continuing Education Manager.
instructor Stephani Carter of EcoAmmo, the 36-hour course offers case
studies, field trips and guest speakers to give students a working
knowledge of the CaGBC LEED® Canada for New Construction Rating System
1.0. Key focuses include sustainable site development, water savings,
energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.
The course is offered Saturdays and evenings to accommodate working
course really gave me a good handle on the specific aspects of the LEED-NC
system. In particular, it helped tremendously in understanding the
reference guide,” said Martin. “Going through the reference guide on
your own is like being handed a telephone book. It’s overwhelming. The
NAIT course really clarified specifically what to study and how to use the
fact, with the popularity of the spring course and the impending Dec. 31,
2009 deadline for writing either the LEED® Canada NC exam or the LEED®
Canada CI exam, NAIT dramatically increased the number of seats available
for the course that begins in October – and the Oct. 13 Edmonton class
is almost full.
is huge demand for this course. People are racing the clock to get their
AP designations,” said Halldorson.
Calgary location is offering the same course (ARC50) to Calgary
professionals this fall starting Oct. 6. The course runs a combination of
Tuesday and Wednesday nights with some Saturday classes. Check the NAIT
website for the exact combination of dates. There will even be a few
Edmonton and Calgary class times linked together via video conference. For
more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call NAIT at 1-780-471-6248
your 15 minutes of fame? Here’s your chance! E-mail Chapter Executive
Director, Tanya Doran with your wish list of what you’d like to share
with fellow Chapter members at a regular Chapter professional development
event. Instead of one speaker, let’s put the spotlight on our collective
knowledge. Get your topics in soon! Spaces are limited.
by Trina Larsen, P.Eng., M.Sc., LEED AP
Daily Planet Book of Cool Ideas – Global Warming and What People are
Doing About It
by Jay Ingram, 2008
is the speed of warming that has convinced the majority of climate
scientists that something is going on, and that something is us.” - Jay
book provides an upbeat read with a variety of ideas to help combat
climate change. Broken into brief stories and articles, it provides an
unabashedly Canadian perspective.
introduction provides a synopsis of the science of climate change, looking
at various records and data that are available, how the data is collected,
etc. Throughout the rest of the book, Jay Ingram explores both mundane and
extraordinary ideas people are exploring throughout the world to combat
climate change. Some of the ideas are completely audacious, while others
are realistic or already exist. Accompanying the stories are some pretty
concept that intrigues me is micro houses – houses less than 100 square
feet. As an exercise – think about what it would take for you and your
family to live in 100 square feet. How could you make that work while
still having a bathroom, kitchen and sleeping space? What type of
modularity would you include? Then as a further exercise, take a moment to
double the space to see just how much room you suddenly have!
book contains many interesting ideas - some plausible while others have
limited appeal. It’s packed with fabulous photographs and is generally
to Alberta Urban Municipality Association (AUMA) members – until October
Municipal Green Building Toolkit
Municipal Green Building Toolkit is one of those hidden gems. It’s full
of practical advice and tips for helping municipalities facilitate and
stimulate both private and municipal green building projects. Its eight
sections each speak to very specific challenges and opportunities
municipalities face including the business case for
building green, training and education, monitoring and verifying,
practices and technologies and more.
online toolkit is available free of charge to all AUMA member
municipalities – but only until October 31!
the word to your municipal contacts to make use of the toolkit. Contact
Rachel Bocock, email@example.com or
call her at 780-409-4313 for further information.
Retail Branches pilot project will be launched this fall, allowing banks
and credit unions to benefit from the GREEN UP program. The project will
identify, document and recognize the most energy and environmentally
efficient retail branch buildings in Canada. The performance metrics from
these top performing buildings will inform the assessment and improvement
of all buildings taking part in the project.
GREEN UP program provides real, quantifiable results; to view the energy
use and greenhouse gas emissions savings of GREEN UP participants, visit
the program website.
Performance Audits (BPAs) are also an important part of GREEN UP. The
program is developing an integrated system of tools and performance
standards designed to help building owners assess and improve the energy
and environmental performance of whole building portfolios.
measure and document the design and performance metrics of building
systems, identifying areas for improvement and enabling better energy
performance. Areas covered include: lighting, fan power, pump power,
equipment, plant capacity, water fixtures, and building envelope. Measured
loads are also reconciled with the billed electrical demand for the