December 2020

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D E C E M B E R 2 0 2 0 | 9 Concrete P H OTO G R A P H Y CO U RT E SY L A FA RG E C A N A DA I N C . The concrete sector intensifies its efforts toward sustainability by ROBIN BRUNET Hard & Fast I t's a truism that opportunity abounds dur- ing times of adversity, and that is certainly the case in Canada's concrete sector, even as analysts worry that the second wave of COVID-19 will negatively impact demand. Although many projects were put on hold due to the virus, suppliers found them- selves scrambling to fulfill work obligations as well as advance specific applications and sustainability goals. Such was the case with Lafarge Canada Inc. It recently worked with Niche Developments to pro- vide precast solutions for Belgravia Square, a 69-unit condominium complex in Edmonton that employs geothermal technology to minimize emissions. "Building time on this project was significantly mini- mized, with the steel frame and precast slabs ready for windows and doors in four weeks," says Jill Truscott, Lafarge's manager, communications – Western Canada. "Precast also allowed for construction in tight locations like Belgravia Square, which is hemmed in by mature boulevard trees and power lines." Truscott adds, "We've taken steps to minimize contact on all our sites with regards to COVID. Construction has been deemed an essential service in Canada, so in spite of the dangers of transmission on site, we're committed to keeping everyone safe and supporting our communities." Truscott notes that for the past 18 months Lafarge Canada has intensified its focus on promoting and practicing sustainability, and as such it is launching ECOPact in Canada, the industry's broadest range of "green" concrete for high-performing, sustainable, and circular construction. ECOPact is sold at a range of low-carbon levels, from 30 to 100 percent less carbon emissions compared to standard concrete. Where regulatory conditions allow, ECOPact prod- ucts integrate upcycled construction and demolition materials, further closing the resource loop. Increasingly, Ultra-High Performance Concrete (UHPC) is regarded as a green material that improves building performance: Lafarge's product, Ductal, is used in a wide range of applications, from bridges and roads to the most creative architectural projects and cost-effective public and private build- ings (via its facade rainscreen cladding solution). Matt Delange, general manager at Surespan Structures Ltd., says of UHPC, "It's a big focus for our company, because although architects love its capabilities, we still need more substantial projects on the west coast that they can cite in order for the material to be widely accepted by developers as win- dow wall solutions. "I think it's a remarkable material. A typical con- crete panel is six-inches thick, but UHPC panels can be less than an inch thick, meaning the core of the window wall doesn't need to be redesigned. Plus, when combined with insulation, the resulting R-20 value blows conventional window wall systems out of the water for energy efficiency." Surespan is invested in the concrete sector due to Surespan Ready-Mix's BCRMCA certified batch plant in Duncan, which has a daily production capacity of over 1,200 cubic metres. It can provide winter heat, summer cooling, a variety of industry leading admix- tures, and coloured concrete. Surespan also has two remote batch plants: the first is designed for smaller projects in very remote locations, has a capacity of 600 cubic metres per day, and is configured for cold weather concrete. The second is configured to larger volumes in remote locations and has a cold weather concrete capacity of 1,200 cubic metres per day. Surespan recently finished work on a hospital in Nanaimo and is currently focusing on a stor- age parade in Victoria. Another project, located in North Vancouver, has even allowed Surespan crews to get creative. Delange explains, "For the new North Shore Pump Station we made a reverse mold from a really nice piece of First Nations cedar artwork and then cast repeatedly in concrete, putting the panels together in different configurations to give the exte- rior of the station a distinct appearance." South of the border, in South Carolina, John Carson, executive director at AltusGroup Inc., reports that "in general the precast market here Ductal Ultra-High Performance Concrete shows its versatility in creative architectural applications. Belgravia Square, Edmonton, AB.

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