Winnipeg, MB – Red River College (RRC) is leading the way on the use of solar energy-conducting technology, providing opportunities for students and local construction firms to grow their skillsets.

Next week, electrical and building envelope crews will begin the installation of approximately 404 Kromatix Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPVs) – the first of its kind in North America – along the exterior façade of the Innovation Centre, currently under construction in Winnipeg’s Exchange District.

We’re proud to be the first institution in North America to welcome this sustainable technology – it’s only fitting that it’s installed on a building designed to cultivate and foster innovative ideas. This is just one example of how RRC puts its values of sustainability into action, and demonstrates to our students that there is always a better way of doing things – so long as you are open to new ideas, and have the courage to ask ‘how can we make this work?’

Fred Meier, President and CEO of RRC

Kromatix, developed by SwissINSO, is an opaque colour-treated glass – without the use of paint or tint – that is layered over the solar, thermal, and electrical components of each panel. The technology provides beautifully aesthetic panels that are optimized for solar energy generation. When combined with the building’s 138 rooftop panels, the College will offset the energy consumption by about 193Mwh/year – or, enough energy to power 18.5 average-sized homes for a year.

Diamond Schmitt Architects and Number TEN Architectural Group, who worked in tandem to design the building, sourced the innovative product used in Denmark. Using a procurement method called design-assist, subcontractors were brought into the project before the design was complete to ensure the vision was functional and achievable.

“It was really important for us to work with local tradespeople for the installation of the panels. Working with local trades to learn and install the panels means we have the technology here in Winnipeg, and it can be passed along and shared for future projects. The teams working on this project are loaded with RRC grads, so it comes full-circle to have been taught in school and then bringing back new technology for an RRC project.” said Frank Koreman, Project Manager at Akman Construction Ltd.

The RRC project team, along with Akman, Flynn Canada Inc. and Wescan Construction Services, worked with SolarLab in Denmark to learn about and test the technology to determine how it could be adapted for Winnipeg’s polarizing weather systems. When crews begin to install the panels next week, SolarLab will be on hand via virtual technology to provide guidance and help resolve any hiccups.

“Construction in Europe is very different compared to construction in North America, there are different standards to meet and with this project we’ve had to meet both standards,” said Tyler Tomlinson, Manitoba Provincial Manager at Flynn Canada Inc. “The panels are unique, in that they provide an architectural finish, but there’s a lot of layers that need to work together.”

Before installation, the panels had meet the standards and be approved by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), the City of Winnipeg and Manitoba Hydro. The panels had to be individually tested at SolarLab, and documentation provided to the construction team, prior to installation.

“BIPVs and PVs are becoming more popular options in North America, and our standards are changing to reflect that. When we started –  because this is one of the first in north America with this type of modules –  there was no other reference points in terms of building codes and electrical codes to go along with installation. We can now look to this building as a reference point for the future,” said Ron Nault, Project Manager at Wescan.

The Kromatix BIPVs are just one of the sustainable features of the new 100,000 square-foot space – other energy efficient technologies, including Power Over Ethernet (POE) lighting, Smart LSI Breakers, WIFI outlets all play a role in helping the building reach near net zero and LEED Gold certified.

Once the building is complete, students in RRC’s trades programs will be able to use the Innovation Centre as a living lab – measuring energy consumption and generation levels for electricity, heating, cooling, lighting and more. RRC will also use the research data to work with its partner institutions in Canadian Colleges for a Resilient Recovery (C2R2) to collaborate on programs that will support a green talent pipeline in Manitoba and across Canada.

RRC is pleased to be able to open its doors this coming fall, and will welcome students in a blended learning capacity until it is safe to return full time.

RRC Named Greenest Employer for Eleventh Straight Year

Sustainable features included in the Innovation Centre are just one of the reasons RRC has been named one of Canada’s Greenest Employers for the eleventh straight year. For more information, visit:

SAIT’s Green Building Technologies, Woodpecker European Timber Framing and an Alberta family have partnered to construct a one-of-a-kind home in the foothills of southern Alberta — one that produces more energy than it uses, captures water on site and creates a positive impact on its people and environment. Together, they hope “The Confluence” will be the fourth home in the world to achieve the highest possible certification through the Living Building Challenge, the world’s most rigorous green building rating program and sustainable design framework.

To learn more on the project visit 

Project video:

Canada’s buildings are a leading contributor to climate change. To meet our climate goals, nearly every existing building in Canada will have to undergo retrofits to reduce carbon emissions, and new buildings will need to be extremely energy efficient. 

On June 10, 2021 Mohawk College, along with experts from the National Research Council of Canada and EllisDon, explored how we can train our workforce to build better and support tremendous growth in construction, skilled trades and engineering.

With the circular economy principle there are many opportunities for training and new sector growth. The opportunity here in Canada is within the end-of-life stage of building and how we can use materials and develop a sector with new training, new business and new skills.

Dr. Alexandra Thompson
High Performance Buildings Program Lead, National Research Council of Canada

The panel featured Dr. Alexandra (Lexi) Thompson, leader of the High Performance Buildings Program at the National Research Council of Canada’s Construction Research Centre. Lexi was join by Témo Cruz, an Assistant Program Manager within the prefabrication and modular department at EllisDon, and Dr. Tony Cupido, the Research Chair of Sustainable Building Technologies at Mohawk College. Moderated by C2R2 Sustainability Advisor, Dr. David Wheeler, the group discussed the challenges and opportunities within the Canadian building sector.

Lexi shared some of the work being done by the National Research Council to further examine high performance buildings, embodied carbon, and new sector growth. She emphasized the need to engage and work closely with industry, in a collaborative approach, to quickly impact building related emissions. Multi-disciplinary and coordinated approaches between policy from government policy, innovation from industry, and training from academic institutions was outlined as a vital requirement to ensure Canada can meet its carbon goals.

Témo explored EllisDon’s newest department focussing on prefabrication and modular construction. He broke the stigma of modular homes, explaining how they have been used through out history to rapidly and efficiently respond to a changing economy. As an emerging sector, Témo noted the employment opportunities and transformation of work that is occurring.

The Joyce Centre for Partnership & Innovation at Mohawk College incorporates leading-edge energy harvesting and conservation technologies and techniques. At 96,000 square feet, the $54-million centre is Hamilton’s first zero-carbon institutional building, and one of the largest in Canada. As the lead on that project, Tony shared his experience of designing, constructing and monitoring a net zero building. Act as a living lab, Tony discussed the innovative technologies within the building and the opportunities for training and upskilling the future workforce.

screen shot of five people on screen smiling

Our Expert Panelists

Lexi Thompson Head shotAlexandra Thompson, Ph.D 

High Performance Buildings Program Leader, National Research Council of Canada

Alexandra (Lexi) Thompson leads the High Performance Buildings Program at the National Research Council Canada’s Construction Research Centre. The Program recently won the 2021 NRC Outstanding Achievement Award for ‘Value for Canada’.  Prior to leading the HPB R&D Program, she was the Team Lead for the Lighting and Ventilation Quality group. Lexi has a PhD in human factors and has published widely on the human response to the built environment.

Temo Cruz Head shotTémo Cruz

Assistant Project Manager, Prefabrication & Modular, EllisDon

Témo Cruz is a Mohawk College 2013 Alumni from the Advanced Architectural Technology Diploma and 2017 Alumni from Conestoga College’s Bachelor of Technology Architecture and Facility Management program. Since his formal education including valuable co-ops, he has several years of industry experience, working along-side renowned architects, engineers, BIM technologists, superintendents, executives and project managers. His current role as an Assistant Project Manager within the prefabrication & modular division at EllisDon allows him to advance his mission. Previously, Témo launched LeafBox Concepts, a clean-tech startup offering up-cycled shipping containers for retail and event applications.

Témo’s career for city-building integrates his passions for sustainable architecture, prefabricated & modular manufacturing and emerging technologies. With a mission to advance solutions that build equitable smart cities of the future. He is committed to applying solutions to help solve the global problems of our generation: climate change, the ‘missing middle’ housing crisis & the COVID-19 pandemic.

His drive is fueled by his Mexican heritage & immigration journey to Canada. With the purpose to apply creativity, hard work and knowledge of city-building to his new home.

Tony Cupido Headshot

Tony Cupido, Ph.D, P. Eng.
Research Chair of Sustainable Building Technologies, Mohawk College

Tony is a professional engineer with 39 years experience in engineering, facilities management and capital development.  He has considerable institutional experience, particularly with McMaster University and Mohawk College where he is the inaugural Research Chair, Sustainability.  He is providing leading-edge research that will contribute to a low-carbon economy, while engaging students to develop a multi-disciplinary focus on finding real world solutions to social, economic and environmental challenges.

In his leadership capacity at Mohawk College, he was responsible for the planning, design, construction and operation of Canada’s largest institutional, zero carbon building – The Joyce Centre for Partnership and Innovation. This award-winning facility became the first to achieve dual certification under the CaGBC’s Zero Carbon Building program.  He has participated, nationally and internationally, in numerous speaking engagements and formal lectures and has been a strong proponent for high performance buildings.  He has a doctorate degree in Civil Engineering with a focus on green buildings and policy and is a former adjunct faculty member at McMaster University.   He was recently appointed to the Board of Directors for the CaGBC as the representative for Academia and Research.

Originally published by gb&d magazine

Doubling as a lab and teaching tool for a sustainable future, The Joyce Centre for Partnership and Innovation at Mohawk College’s Fennell Campus is the largest net zero energy institutional building in the Southern Ontario region, making it the perfect example how to turn net zero buildings into positive teaching tools.

The team at B+H Architects and mcCallumSather went to great lengths to implement green tactics by sticking to a budget to ensure their energy targets would succeed. A few of those green tactics include solar panel “wings” on the roof, geothermal heat sourcing, and a high-performance, triple-glazed curtain wall for the least amount of leaked air exposure.

Originally published by REMI Network 

British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) will more than double its student housing capacity with the construction of a new mass timber student housing project.

The B.C. government is investing $108.8 million and BCIT is contributing $6 million towards the $115 million project. The plan includes a BC Student Housing Loan Program for public post-secondary institutions that provides access to funds to help finance student housing projects over six years.

This project will be the first investment in new student housing beds at BCIT in 38 years.

The 464-bed, 12-storey student housing project will be designed to reflect Indigenous culture in the region, and to support Indigenous learners by providing community spaces on the ground floor.

“This investment will allow BCIT students to access sustainable on-campus housing to support their journey to a new or expanded career through an industry-relevant applied education. This new mass timber housing project is a key component of BCIT’s commitment to support the future social and economic prosperity of the province in a way that respects our spectacular natural environment.”

Kathy Kinloch, President, BCIT

B.C. is a leader in the use of mass timber as an innovative way to reduce the carbon footprint of the building sector. Mass timber is a sustainable product that is cost effective, quicker to build and has a lower carbon footprint compared to traditional concrete construction.

“Mass timber is key to diversifying and creating a more resilient forest sector as we work to transition to high-value over high-volume production,” said Ravi Kahlon, Parliamentary Secretary for Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “It’s great to see the ripple effects from the expanded use of sustainably harvested, low-carbon wood products in B.C. buildings. It helps combat climate change and brings people back to work in forestry-related jobs, while this project creates housing for hundreds of future BCIT students.”

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