REAL WORLD EXAMPLES
maximizing our buildings' energy efficiency. MAXIMIZING THE LONGEVITY OF OUR PAVEMENTS.
Constructing energy-efficient homes and buildings is critical to a low carbon future.
Concrete is an active component of a building’s energy system. Its thermal mass (its ability to store energy) helps moderate indoor temperatures, which reduces peak heating and cooling loads and produces energy and construction cost-savings — all while making building occupants more comfortable. Using a combination of passive and active energy technologies such as geothermal heating and cooling systems, natural lighting and ventilation, thermal mass, thermal gain strategies and optimum design efficiency, concrete can minimize the in-use energy demands of a structure over its service life by over 70%.
Watch Cement Association of Canada Director of Codes and Standards Rick McGrath talk about the substantial energy savings made possible by concrete’s thermal mass (video).
Manitoba Hydro PlaceLocated in the heart of Winnipeg, the LEED Platinum certified 22-storey, 64,590 sq. meter Manitoba Hydro Place (MHP) tower is one of the first of the next generation in bioclimatic buildings, integrating time-tested...
Located in the heart of Winnipeg, the LEED Platinum certified 22-storey, 64,590 sq. meter Manitoba Hydro Place (MHP) tower is one of the first of the next generation in bioclimatic buildings, integrating time-tested environmental concepts in conjunction with advanced technologies and the art of architecture. In combination with geothermal radiant heating and cooling systems to activate the thermal mass of the building’s 35,600 cubic meters of concrete, its innovative "solar chimney" design allows the building to coast through outdoor temperature changes, shift peak energy demand and achieve an overall 66% efficiency improvement over the Model National Energy Code for Buildings. This strategy is saving MHP $500,000 per year in operating expenses while supporting 100% fresh air circulation, 24 hours per day, 365 days per year — even in the depth of Manitoba’s winter. It’s a model example of a building that leverages the key features of the local weather — cold, sunny winter days, and cool summer nights — using design based solutions to maximize lifecycle sustainability performance.
Mundy's Bay Public SchoolLEED Gold Mundy's Bay Public School, located in Midland, Ontario takes advantage of the ancient principle of thermal energy storage. It uses precast concrete hollow core slabs between the floors and ceilings...
LEED Gold Mundy's Bay Public School, located in Midland, Ontario takes advantage of the ancient principle of thermal energy storage. It uses precast concrete hollow core slabs between the floors and ceilings, coupled with heat recovery ventilation and a ground-source heat pump, to create an innovative "on demand" system for capturing, storing and releasing naturally occurring heating and cooling energy.
In summer, when outdoor temperatures are generally cooler outside than inside at night, a simple ventilation fan draws in the cool air, circulates it through the hollow core slab and “supercharges” the concrete. The concrete behaves like a battery, absorbing and eliminating indoor heat (e.g. occupant body heat, lighting, solar gain) during the day to keep indoor temperatures cool and comfortable while lowering demand peak air conditioning loads. In winter, the same principle works in reverse, drawing heating energy from the ground-source heat pump. Thermal energy storage also facilitates greater circulation of fresh outdoor air to dramatically improve indoor air quality — known as a key driver of student/employee performance and reduced absenteeism — while keeping energy consumption well below the industry average (about 40%-50% less energy than a conventional school).
Mundy’s Bay has a total energy consumption of only $0.53 per square foot or 32 KBTU per square foot, per year.
Riverdale NetZero Energy DuplexWhen Habitat for Humanity set out to pioneer a new model for achieving an affordable, net-zero energy, LEED Platinum home in Edmonton, they found an innovative solution in insulated precast concrete panels...
When Habitat for Humanity set out to pioneer a new model for achieving an affordable, net-zero energy, LEED Platinum home in Edmonton, they found an innovative solution in insulated precast concrete panels.
Touted as the first residential development of its kind, the affordable housing residential duplex emerged from an integrative design process aimed at optimizing the social, environmental and economic benefits of the project.
Each two-storey home is 100 square metres above ground with a 50 square metre unfinished basement. The double wythe insulated precast panels used on the roof and exterior walls — 80 in total — provide three times the standard level of insulation (R44/RSI 7.75 walls and basement slab, R88/RSI 15.5 roof) to create a high energy-efficiency building envelope that also has exceptional fire and sound resistance.
Combined with a geothermal heating and hot water system, in addition to photovoltaic rooftop panels to generate solar electricity, concrete's thermal mass is at the heart of the design strategy for meeting the net-zero energy goals of the project. Concrete will also offer the additional longer-term advantages of being extremely durable with low-maintenance, providing significant lifecycle cost-savings. Another key sustainability feature of the project is that precast roof and wall panels were produced using regional and recycled materials in a low-waste production process and can easily be disassembled and reused at the end of the useful life of the structure.
The result is a model for a highly efficient cradle-to-cradle solution to affordable and sustainable housing.
Équiterre’s Maison du développement durable (Centre for Sustainable Development)When Quebec's prominent environmental organization, Équiterre, set out to design and build “the most energy-efficient and least energy intensive building in Canada” in collaboration with seven other socially and environmentally minded organizations...
When Québec's prominent environmental organization, Équiterre, set out to design and build “the most energy- efficient and least energy intensive building in Canada” in collaboration with seven other socially and environmentally minded organizations in Montreal, they embarked on an unprecedented journey to understand the "big-picture" implications of various design and material choices.
The multidisciplinary design team for the building — consisting of architects, engineers, designers as well as a sustainable development officer — conducted a macro anaylsis of the cost and environmental impact of the various designs and material choices over the lifecycle of the proposed structure. They found that using concrete as the structural material provided huge advantages across a range of criteria.
The design of the LEED Platinum building takes full advantage of the energy efficiency benefits of the concrete's thermal mass; the building uses over 40% less energy than an equivalent conventional building. While performance data is still being collected and analyzed, early results suggest that, per unit of floor area, Équiterre may have realized their goal of becoming the most energy-efficient office building in Canada.
Since concrete is non-combustible, the savings on fire mitigation were estimated to be $2 million. This is valuable capital that could be reallocated to energy efficiency investments. Concrete also allowed for a smaller building envelope, minimizing material needs, reducing operational heat loss, and maximizing interior floor space and potential rental income. Équiterre was also attracted to the local nature of concrete, which could be sourced, including the cement, within 50 kilometers of the project compared to almost 1,000 kilometers for alternative materials. Finally, longevity played a large role and highlighted how one of concrete's key advantages — durability from wind-driven rain and other forms of environmental degradation — leads to lower maintenance and longer service-life structures that extract the best economic and sustainability value from the cost, energy and materials required to build them.
Earth Rangers CentreThe Earth Rangers Centre for Sustainable Technology combines advanced technologies with concrete’s inherent characteristics to produce an environmentally-advanced facility that operates at optimal efficiency...
The Earth Rangers Centre for Sustainable Technology combines advanced technologies with concrete’s inherent characteristics to produce an environmentally-advanced facility that operates at optimal efficiency. Incorporating concrete as its core material, the building takes full advantage of concrete’s high thermal mass properties through two main systems: a geothermal system (earth tubes) and a radiant slab system.
Earth tubes are a viable and economical alternative to conventional central heating or air conditioning systems. The Earth Rangers facility uses them to temper outdoor air for ventilation requirements. The prefabricated concrete tubes temper the fresh air entering the building both in summer and winter by coupling the Earth’s thermal mass with that of the concrete tubes themselves.
By passively pre-heating incoming air in the winter and pre-cooling the air in the summer, the earth tubes allow a 30KW reduction in heating and cooling per year, contributing to the building’s overall energy savings of 8260MJ per year to date. The earth tubes have also made it possible to circulate 100% fresh air through the entire building, maximizing indoor air quality without compromising on energy efficiency.
Overall, the building’s energy efficiency is 42% better than expected in the original design and the facility has consistently improved energy efficiency each year since it was completed in 2006. The building is LEED Platinum certified. The cost of the additional concrete used in the structure for thermal mass purposes was recovered in five years.
Del Ridge Homes and Insulated Concrete FormsOntario-based Del Ridge Homes is a developer that is leading the way in net-zero building construction. By combining innovative energy conservation techniques with solar panel and geothermal heating technologies...
Ontario-based Del Ridge Homes is a developer that is leading the way in net-zero building construction. By combining innovative energy conservation techniques with solar panel and geothermal heating technologies, the developer aims for their buildings to feed as much energy back into the environment as they consume from the grid.
The insulated concrete forms used in Del Ridge Homes building frames minimize air leakage and take advantage of concrete’s thermal mass. This helps maintain moderate temperatures in the hallways and stairwells and minimizes temperature fluctuations, lowering the operational energy per suite to 4.1 kwh/sf per year.
Concrete pavement lasts decades longer than its asphalt equivalent, requires less maintenance and rehabilitation and makes potholes and ruts virtually non-existent. The longevity of concrete pavement reduces the need for natural resources like aggregates and energy. And research shows that the construction, maintenance and repair of concrete pavement uses one third the energy required for asphalt pavement. Additionally, concrete pavement reduces fuel consumption and associated energy emissions while its light color reduces the “urban heat island effect”, lowers lighting requirements and increases driver safety at night. Concrete pavement means lower costs, conserved resources, cleaner air and less CO2 emissions.
Highway 407 CentralThe concrete pavement section of Highway 407 Central near Toronto has not required any major rehabilitation or repaving since it was built in the late 1990s. In comparison, the asphalt pavement for Highway 416 in Ottawa, built at the same time, has been repaved three times.
170th Street and 118th Avenue Intersection, Edmonton, AlbertaIn Edmonton, the use of a concrete overlay for the pavement of a high traffic intersection of 170th Street and 118th Avenue has eliminated rutting and meant little to no maintenance for the last fifteen years. Read more...
Bloor Street & Aukland Road Intersection, Toronto, OntarioSimilarly, the use of concrete overlay for the busy urban intersection of Bloor Street and Aukland Road in Toronto has provided over ten years of performance without maintenance and will deliver a 25-year service life for the intersection. Read more...