Canadian Consulting Engineer

Residences, cole de Technologie Suprieure

October 1, 2009
By Canadian Consulting Engineer

The new Phase III university residence at the cole de technologie suprieure (ETS) in downtown Montreal combines under one roof two very distinct types of facilities -university residences above a gr...

The new Phase III university residence at the cole de technologie suprieure (ETS) in downtown Montreal combines under one roof two very distinct types of facilities -university residences above a grocery store.

Mechanical and electrical engineers Bouthillette Parizeau together with structural engineers Teknika HBA collaborated with the university and the architects in developing this unusual project and its environmental features.

First, the store recovers 40% of the heat from the refrigeration compressors for its own heating purposes. The remaining 60% is used to preheat domestic water in the residences.

The environmental design also uses geothermal energy, with a system of 18 vertical wells drilled on the urban site. In addition, the building uses energy recovered from the grocery store’s refrigeration processes to help heat the residences above. The centralized building automation system ensures that the shared set-up does not hinder the grocery store’s daily operations.

The coexistence of student residences and a grocery store is not a common occurrence. Because of this, the professionals had to install HVAC ventilation units not traditionally used in a grocery store environment. The units were installed inside the store within a hydronic cooling system, complete with a closed-circuit water cooling tower installed on the roof above the residences.

The total energy savings are $80,000 annually, or approximately 1,327,000 kWh. The usage is 30% less than a reference building compliant with the Model National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings.

Data is being collected on the systems, so that from a mechanical and electrical standpoint the building itself is a living laboratory for the professors and students.

BubbleDeck –new structural system

Based on the structural engineer’s recommendation, the design used a new concrete floor construction method called BubbleDeck® on all floors. Developed in Denmark, the system consists of replacing the concrete sandwich’s central layer — which has no actual load-bearing capacity — with light recycled plastic spheres arranged in a reinforcement grid.

BubbleDeck significantly reduces the amount of concrete necessary — by approximately 30%. More importantly it provides a far superior weight-strength ratio than a traditional slab. Architecturally it enables larger spans and overhangs, fewer support pillars to allow more freedom to develop volumes, and improved thermal and acoustic insulation. Lastly, the structure’s self weight is reduced by almost 50%. The ETS student residence building is the largest project in North America to use the technology.

Since BubbleDeck slabs have to be factory made, the mechanical and electrical engineers had to coordinate openings very early on. The team also had to be creative in positioning mechanical and electrical services and equipment. For example, the electrical room is on two levels.

The project was unlike any other due to the special construction methods used for the BubbleDeck system. From construction site coordination to just-in-time delivery, and from using a tower crane to developing a unique shoring system, the new technology turned every stage of the project into a learning opportunity for all involved. This was the first time BubbleDeck had been used in winter conditions, which required rethinking traditional pouring techniques.

The BubbleDeck technology used in the ETS project is leading local engineers to discover a new way of building higher and less weighty structures that are more environmentally friendly. This discovery could have multiple impacts in the construction market.

The $45 million project was completed on budget and on time before the start of classes in September 2008.

Project: cole de technologie suprieure, Phase III University Residence, Montreal

Award-winning firms. Mechanical-electrical engineer: Bouthillette Parizeau (Nathalie Boulet, Eng., Mario Pouliot, B. Eng., Marc Boileau, Eng.)

Structural engineer: Teknika HBA (Louis Crpeau, Eng., ric Martin, Eng., Elias A. Azar, tech., Jean-Francoise Lepage)

Architects: Cardinal Hardy

General contractor/project management: Pomerleau


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