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NSYCC Summer Crew Update – Week 3

Fin and Laura at MTRIMonday certainly was a busy day for us! In the morning, Jordan accompanied us to the Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute (MTRI) in Kempt, NS, where we had the chance to observe Jordan’s pre-drywall inspection of the building, as well as conduct a video interview with the project coordinator, Jesse Saroli. The MTRI project is a green gut rehab along with a new addition to the side of the existing main building. When we arrived for our site visit, most of the green technologies were installed and working, but some areas were still under construction. The MTRI is targeting LEED for Homes Platinum certification and they want to be able to show homeowners the benefits of having a green home. As a green demonstration site, many different green technologies are used such as solar hot water, solar photovoltaic, wind turbines, geothermal, grey water recycling system, etc. They implemented different kinds of green technologies to be able to tell homeowners which ones are the most efficient.

On Monday afternoon we headed to Hubley, NS to visit the Hawkin’s House, a residential home targetting Passive House certification as well as LEED for Homes Gold certification. There we met Natalie Leonard, project designer/builder of the Hawkin’s House. Instead of generating enough renewable energy to meet the house’s heating demands, this project is trying to minimize the heating needs altogether by conserving energy. Energy efficiency really pays off as the estimated bill for heating the house is estimated at $200 per year! A big part of conserving the energy is using more insulation than a typical house and trying to stop thermal bridges from occurring. We came to observe Jordan performing a blower door test to test the air tightness of the home. The blower door test is used to identify air leakage sites during the early stages of building to be able to address these issues as construction continues. If there are too many leakage sites, heated air will leak out of the building and it will take more energy to heat the air. A plastic door temporarily seals the doorway and has a hole in it for the fan. A fan blows air either in or out of the house, which creates a pressure difference between the inside and outside of the house. Air is forced through small holes because of the pressure difference and then you are able to feel areas where air is leaking in or out of the building, it was really cool!

In the next couple of days, we edited the video for the MTRI site visit, which is ready to be uploaded to our website. We also started converting the old case studies already on the website to the new standard format for the project profiles. This way, we can identify the information that is missing for the new format and not have project managers fill out the whole form again.

In between editing and writing reports, we took a self-guided tour of the Mona Campbell Building at Dalhousie University. It is Dalhousie’s greenest building on campus. They used green technologies such as a solar wall, green roof, and rainwater-harvesting cistern to name a few. We went to take pictures for the project profile and to find out more information on the green features of the building. Luckily enough, there is a self-guided green tour of the building, available to the general public. A unique green technology they used during construction is Bubbledeck. In Bubbledeck 100% recycled plastic hollow spheres are inserted into the floor slab. Concrete is placed around the spheres, which reduces approximately 30% of the concrete needed to make the floor slab, thus saving the energy and materials needed to make the cement for the concrete.

Fin & Laura