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May 17, 2018

Plugging into a new housing concept

Family dynamics in Canada are fast becoming more diverse, but the housing industry has been slow to adapt to them. It used to be that families remained in one house for decades or even generations. Today, according to the Vanier Institute of the Family, each Canadian on average owns five houses over a lifetime, upsizing and downsizing as children are born, age, and eventually move out of the nest. Often, families renovate rather than move, which can be an expensive and disruptive process. This is making the traditional notion of the family home obsolete. Families today need innovative housing models... Read more
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May 17, 2018

What goes around (water) comes around (as heat)

In February 2015, Lakeland College opened the doors of its new Bio-Energy Centre. The building features a micro cogeneration unit built by Yanmar Energy Systems Co. Ltd. of Japan. The cogen unit uses an engine fueled by natural gas to generate electricity; at the same time, water is heated by the engine’s warmth. Heat from the engine’s water jacket and exhaust is collected through heat exchangers and used to provide base heat to the centre. The Yanmar unit is rated to simultaneously produce 10 kW of electricity and 16.8 kW of heat. The cogen starts up automatically when the building... Read more
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March 15, 2016

Partnering with Industry in Green Building Innovation

Green-minded home buyers in Calgary have recently purchased two net-zero energy homes constructed by student researchers at SAIT Polytechnic. Green Building Technologies (GBT) is one of SAIT’s leading research areas in the Applied Research and Innovation Services department. The GBT research initiative was established in 2008, and received a five-year CCI Innovation Enhancement grant in 2009. The research group has grown in expertise, industry-based applied research projects and laboratory capabilities. One of the research team’s key partners is Avalon Master Builders, a pioneer in green construction that has developed a series of net-zero energy homes. Two of these houses were... Read more
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March 15, 2016

Using Radar for Outdoor Perimeter Security

Algonquin College student researchers have been key players in the design and testing of a new 3D radar system that an Ottawa security company is developing for perimeter surveillance of military bases and pipelines. 3D Sentry Corp. is a company founded by security industry entrepreneurs, Dr Keith Harman and David Baird, to develop the next generation of advanced outdoor perimeter security sensors. Such systems could provide improved protection of the outdoor perimeters of critical infrastructure facilities, such as military bases, power stations, petrochemical plants, and pipelines. 3D Sentry recently completed a successful project with Algonquin’s Applied Research and Innovation Centre... Read more
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March 15, 2016

Smart Technologies Enable Thermostat Management From Afar

A virtual thermostat developed through research at SAIT Polytechnic could allow building managers to have wireless control of heat throughout large facilities. Kalen-Hudson Group is a manufacturer and importer of small electronic devices, especially thermostats and other control devices. Having previously worked with Applied Research and Innovation Services (ARIS) at SAIT to test and validate technologies, Kalen-Hudson knew where to turn when it needed to design a smart-control thermostat and a smaller, cost-effective consumer model. “In order to develop the technology, having access to a facility like SAIT and the research grant gives us the chance to develop something new... Read more
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March 15, 2016

Feeling the Heat – the Furnace Minder

In the fall of 2013, a local heating and air-conditioning company contacted Humber College’s instructor of the Electronics Engineering Technician program to discuss the development of a new idea to remind customers about furnace maintenance. Mike Martino of Martino Contractors envisioned the MB Furnace Minder as an automated device that will remind homeowners when it is time for regular maintenance of their furnaces. An Electronics Engineering Technician student and a Bachelor of Industrial Design student were hired as research assistants. Under the direction of instructor Georges Livanos, students worked with Martino staff to design and test their proposed automated system.... Read more
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March 15, 2016

Large Building Air Leakage Testing

Air leakage is now widely recognized as one of the most critical parameters affecting a building’s energy use, indoor air quality, comfort and durability. This is particularly true in Manitoba’s extreme climate, where there have been several notable and expensive large building envelope failures. Red River College (RRC) and its research partner, Manitoba Hydro, have recently completed a project investigating the air leakage characteristics of 26 buildings. A CCI Applied Research Tools and Instruments grant provided funding to purchase equipment to conduct these tests. This research project has helped to establish baseline air leakage rates and to develop a practical... Read more
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March 15, 2016

Energy-Efficient Housing for Arctic Living

What does it mean to live sustainably in the North? With two months of darkness, monthly utility bills over $1,500, temperatures below -40 degrees Celsius, and variable permafrost, it can be a challenge. SAIT Polytechnic’s Applied Research and Innovation Services (ARIS) department was approached by GBM Construction in Fort Simpson, NWT, to design a high-performance net-zero energy home. Through consultation with Fort Simpson-based engineers, architects and tradespeople, ARIS’s Green Building Technologies researchers brought together passive and active elements to design the ultimate sustainable home. Fit for an extreme climate, “Arctic House” includes a high-efficiency, wood-fired boiler to generate the hot... Read more
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March 15, 2016

Cleaning Condo Air Quality

Condominiums and high-rise apartment buildings are often designed with ineffective corridor ventilation. In these buildings, fresh air is pumped into the hallways and then pulled into individual units. This means that most of the air in a unit comes from beneath the condo door, and can be full of tobacco, allergens, pollutants and dust from nearby construction sites. Bordin Racing Inc. envisioned a lightweight retrofit that could be easily installed by a condo owner to help filter out most of these unwanted pollutants. Faculty and student researchers from the Mechanical Engineering program at George Brown College helped the company with... Read more
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March 15, 2016

Building with Peat Blocks

Housing development in Ontario’s far north is limited, largely because of the high cost of materials and construction challenges created by harsh weather conditions and permafrost. But local peat moss may offer an affordable alternative. Cambrian College and its industry partners wanted to find a solution to the cost of shipping building materials in Northern Ontario by exploring the use of indigenous sphagnum peat moss as an aggregate in cemented peat construction blocks. Peat moss has already been used for heat and electricity. The challenge for this project was to understand the technical issues in developing a handling and processing... Read more
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