One of the best ways to be environmentally conscious during construction is to re-employ components from other buildings reaching the end of their design life or being renovated for new uses. Repurposing building material can have the additional benefit of acquiring Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) credits for projects seeking certification.
Located just outside of Cochrane, Alta., Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre, is a 18,580-m2 (200,000-sf) multi-use recreational centre for the surrounding communities. The design-build project is as much a tribute to green living, as it is active lifestyles.
With its iconic crescent-shaped, inversely curved form, the Bow is a striking presence on Calgary’s skyline. Designed by Foster + Partners of London, this 59-storey tower features a vast atrium partitioned in four clear-height sectors with the façade integrating an architectural exposed diagonal grid structure in six-storey segments. The perimeter ‘diagrid’ frame helps make up the building’s hybrid lateral force-resisting system (LFRS).
The phrase “think globally, act locally” is a good way to describe how sustainable design projects are conceptualized. From the building to the community scale, the goal is to minimize the initial and ongoing effects of development by striving for net-zero impact and focusing on ecological restoration. (Net-zero refers to a balance of resource use and restoration on an annual basis—producing as much energy through renewable sources as consumed, sequestering equal or greater amounts of carbon as emitted, or diverting all waste from landfills or other harmful means of disposal).
Increasing urbanization, industrial growth, aging infrastructure, and the growing effects of climate change have made water issues a much more important item on the Canadian agenda. As the built environment expands, so does its impact on the country’s many watersheds. Pressure is mounting through various policy vehicles and guidelines for architects, engineers, and builders to play a larger role in addressing the impact of new projects on the hydrological system.
Over the last century or so, the facilities being built to provide how and where one learns have undergone extreme changes. From isolated classrooms along corridors to open, unprogrammed forums, and from education by rote and repetition to learning through discovery, chance encounters, or direct experience––how and where people learn has shifted radically.
The benefits of modular construction are becoming more widely known. The reduced time spent onsite leads to fewer health and safety issues for construction workers, quality building, accelerated construction schedules, and a faster return on investment (ROI). The momentum of various green rating programs and standards is now drawing attention to the advantages of offsite construction in terms of sustainable building.
The sheen of the floor in an Edmonton Value Village store may look like polished concrete, but it is, in fact, neither polished nor concrete. The surface material is actually a bonded topping—a relatively soft cementitious material used as underlayment for carpet or vinyl tile, which would not normally be considered ‘shinable.’ Instead of the labour-intensive finish made by polishing it with fine diamond abrasives, it was honed with only medium-grit abrasives, hardened with an advanced-chemistry densifier, protected with a breathable sealer, and buffed to a near-polished shine—a much more affordable treatment.
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