Leveraging BIM for sustainable design

The building sector accounts for 30 to 40 per cent of global energy use, making it the largest annual contributor to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. (This statistic comes from work conducted by the United Nations Environment Programme [UNEP]). Here in Canada, the country’s commercial building sector accounts for 14 per cent of end-use energy consumption and 13 per cent of national carbon emissions.

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Security for construction sites

Construction site theft, vandalism, and arson on commercial and residential building projects comprise numerous serious problems for contractors. According to insurers Zurich Canada, the country’s builders suffer an annual loss of $46 million because of theft and damage to construction sites. Pre-emptive action against construction site crime is critical to mitigate the significant risk presented by current crime rates.

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Looking at masonry in Manitoba

Although contractors and designers have separate functions in the construction process, it is important that each understand the role of the other to ensure the timely completion of work. This is especially true when industry volumes increase and designs become more complex, as they have in Manitoba in recent years. During the past three years, Manitoba’s masonry industry has experienced a strong demand for its services in both the industrial/commercial sectors and in multi-family dwelling construction.

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No Shell Game: Ensuring auditorium acoustics

Attending a musical performance can be captivating. Listening to the beautiful sound and spectacle, the effortlessness of the musicians’ skills, it can be easy to forget the hours, months, and even years of practice that make the memorable performance possible. In a similar way, the factors behind successful auditorium acoustics often go unrecognized, including one of the most visible elements: the acoustical shell. The most important considerations in a successful installation—acoustics, function, and esthetics—are illustrated in a unique project at the University of Western Ontario (UWO).

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Creating worship spaces that sound heavenly

Churches, temples, mosques, and synagogues are hubs of activity in the communities they serve. Far beyond the weekend worship service, they are home to civic meeting spaces, classrooms, auditoriums, and other community uses. However, as congregations and communities change, so must worship spaces. Many traditional churches are contending with aging congregations, while other denominations are increasing or following development patterns into growing communities. While some churches may be dealing with falling attendance, others are expanding their role in the community.

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Achieving safe spray foam insulation applications

Sprayed polyurethane foam (SPF) is gaining global recognition because it provides superior insulating properties by creating a tight building envelope that reduces unwanted air infiltration. Achieving a tight building envelope is the foundation for an energy-efficient building. According to Natural Resources Canada (NRCAN), “air leakage represents 25 to 40 per cent of the heat lost from an older home.” Creating a tight, well-insulated building envelope by insulating and air-sealing with SPF will reduce energy bills significantly when compared to traditionally insulated buildings.

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Designing architectural elegance with cellular PVC

With respect to architectural trim, columns, pergolas, trellises, and other ornaments, the last decade has seen growing interest in alternatives to traditional wood products for residential projects. With the costs of construction and materials steadily climbing, and the long-term performance of components made from increasingly inferior wood continually being called into question, the attention of a growing number of design professionals has steadily shifted to cellular polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

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Specifying EPS as geofoam

Moulded expanded polystyrene (EPS) is an air-filled, closed-cell, rigid foam plastic that does not contain any hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) or hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) as blowing agents. The closed-cell structure of EPS insulation provides constant thermal resistance, is dimensionally stable and non-corrosive, provides excellent mechanical properties, and can be recycled where facilities exist.

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Designing With Stainless Steel: Bioclimatic hybrid façades

An international design revolution is incorporating both traditional and new concepts to create bioclimatic sustainable architecture. Building energy reduction is a key goal for new and renovation projects designed to these principles, but it must be balanced against occupant well-being and the desire for fresh air and natural light. Exterior walls are being transformed from relatively simple climate defensive mechanisms to more active membranes. Innovative hybrid second-skin designs incorporating shading systems are being used on award-winning projects around the world, and these concepts could be applied to a much broader range of buildings.

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