This past Wednesday, we went with Jordan on a site visit to the Centre for the Built Environment (CBE) on the NSCC Waterfront campus in Dartmouth. There, we met with two NSYCC crewmembers working at the CBE for the summer and our fantastic tour guide, Don Jardine. We were taken on an hour-long tour of the CBE and were very impressed by all of the different features implemented in the centre. We are really looking forward to creating a case study of their project.
The centre is opening to classes in September, but since it is currently still a construction site, we were outfitted in full safety gear with helmets and toecaps. We saw three biowalls, including two interior hydroponic biowalls. These walls provide local ventilation and purification. The soil-based exterior biowall will soon also become a natural habitat. The exterior biowall is the first of its kind east of Vancouver. Three underground rainwater cisterns store water to irrigate the exterior biowall, as well as some other parts of the centre’s landscaping.
Probably the most exciting part was when we went out onto the roof. A green roof covers part of the roof, where blueberries and Echinacea and other local plants are being grown. The uncovered roof is white, which reduces the heat island effect (localized warm temperatures, due to the absorption of light by dark surfaces). It also unfortunately reflects a lot of light, which makes it hard to see! The roof contained various solar technologies, including flat plates, evacuated tubes, regular photovoltaic panels, and bifacial photovoltaic panels that collect sunlight as well as light reflected off the white roof. All technologies were bolted to steel gridding on top of the roof as opposed to directly into the roof. This helps “future proof” the roof, making it much simpler to replace technology as more are discovered. From the roof we were also able to see some of the wind turbines on the ground and lower area of the roof, with vertical and horizontal turbines represented, from different companies and different energy capacities.
What Don really emphasized was the importance of integrating environmental design with the educational and research agenda of the college. Hopefully we will be able to be just as successfully integrating a great website design with education about green building!
Justin & Sara