08 Feb The Challenge Of Building Sustainably
For the first blog of 2019, we would like to reopen the discussion of regenerative design as a kick start for the upcoming WORLDBEX convention. The Philippine World Building and Construction Exposition is considered the largest exhibition of its kind, hosting around 800 companies that aim to build better infrastructure for the country. It attracts roughly 200,000 visitors each year, so it’s a good avenue for us to promote the goal towards building sustainability.
When one talks about the reasons behind creating green buildings, the common answer would be to minimize energy consumption and to reduce GHG emissions. Considering a more proactive approach, we would like to challenge this mindset through the concept of regenerative buildings. In a previous blog entry, we talked about the net-positive impact of the Laurentian University’s Living with Lakes building as it contributed in the de-acidification of the surrounding lake with its’ limestone wall material. Today, we’ll look into another example in the form of Sechelt Hospital, located in British Columbia.
For the construction of the building, around 90% of its materials were obtained from landfills. Aside from this, it is one of the few hospitals that have operable windows, which allows a regulated amount of outside air to infiltrate depending on the number of occupants. Along with the natural light, the fresh outdoor air would let patients connect with nature. In terms of energy supply, the hospital is equipped with 78 solar panels which help offset energy consumption and carbon emissions.
One of the major retrofits that were made to the building was the installation of an electric boiler in place of its’ original natural gas boiler. The electricity being used for the boiler is sourced from a nearby hydro power plant, thus overall reducing carbon emissions.
From using recycled construction materials as well as natural air and light, cost savings can be realized as well as reduction in environmental impacts. Also by keeping the heritage of the First Nations people incorporated with the building design, the Sechelt Hospital serves as a great example of a sustainable building. Hopefully we can keep this in mind as the country moves towards rapid development in the field of construction.