Up Front – News
Windsor University brings engineering to life
The University of Windsor officially opened its new Ed Lumley Centre for Engineering Innovation on June 4. Like many of the engineering buildings recently built on Canadian campuses, the centre is a living laboratory to demonstrate to its 1,400+ students how buildings are constructed and how their systems might operate sustainably.
Mehrdad Saif, dean of the Faculty of Engineering, explains: “In the classroom [the students] are learning engineering and construction theory and just a quick walk-through of the building itself puts those theories into real life examples that they can experience and put into context.”
The 80 teaching and research laboratories include a unique “iDesign” studio and “iFactory” manufacturing lab that can be reconfigured, as can the 350-seat auditorium. An “industrial courtyard” provides for joint industry and academic research.
The $112-million, 91,000-sq. m complex is the largest capital investment in the southwestern Ontario university’s history.
Halsall Associates (Fernando Cruz) were the structural engineers, while Smith & Andersen and Crossey Engineering were the mechanical and electrical consultants. Architect is B + H, and PCR is the contractor.
OIQ hopes to restore trust in engineering firms
The Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec, the province’s licensing body for engineers, has launched a new regime to audit companies’ business practices and put ethics front and centre.
The reputation and prestige of engineering companies in Quebec has been battered after several companies have been implicated in illegal activities. Many of the allegations of bid-rigging, etc. surfaced in the Charbonneau Commission of Inquiry, but there have also been actual arrests made by the RCMP.
The audit program is voluntary, but OIQ says: “compliance with the initiative could be a significant factor in the rehabilitation of these firms with those who provide them with work.” It also suggests that complying with the program might help companies that have been disqualified from bidding on public contracts to be reinstated.
OIQ president Daniel Lebel, ing. announced the new program at a meeting on May 28 attended by senior managers from consulting engineering firms. The audits will include examining a company’s business development practices, including their practices for obtaining contracts, for lobbying, and for bidding on tenders.
“The mission of the OIQ is to protect the public interest and to guarantee professionalism among its members,” said Lebel. “We will use our resources in every possible way to ensure that our members, and the firms that employ them, adopt professional practices and conduct that will set a good example and once again render them worthy of public trust.”
Calgary International builds longest runway
At Calgary International Airport a runway 14,000 feet long is being constructed, making it the longest civil aviation runway in Canada and providing the ability for larger aircrafts like the Airbus A380 to take off and land. Currently, the longest runway in North America is in Denver at 16,000 feet.
Prime consultant on the project is Associated Engineering, with CH2M HILL as subconsultant for the design of the runway and its peripherals such as lighting, navigational aids and the electrical systems. As well, CH2M HILL prepared a preliminary design for a central de-icing facility and is providing contract administration and construction inspection services.
CH2M (Josh Bolderheij and Ken McWhinnie) is also designing a new $295-million, 620-m long “Airport Trail” tunnel for the City of Calgary that passes directly below the new runway. On this project Associated Engineering is civil, mechanical and electrical subconsultant, and Thurber is doing geotechnical work.
The runway and tunnel are to be completed by May 2014.
Prophets on the U.S.shale gas boom
Quote: “‘North America has set off a supply shock that is sending ripples throughout the world,’ declared Maria van der Hoeven, executive director of the International Energy Agency (IA), which, in May, issued a prediction that America’s oil and gas boom ‘will be as transformative to the market over the next five years as was the rise of Chinese demand over the last 15.’” — From “The Golden Age of Gas,” by Tamsin McMahon, Maclean’s, June 10, 2013, about how hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and horizontal drilling technologies are unleashing huge sources of shale oil and gas that are enough to power America for nearly a century.
Canada’s own ENERGY STAR
Natural Resources Canada is launching a new ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager in July. The online tool is used for benchmarking buildings’ energy performance against each other.
NRCan has been working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to tailor the U.S. tool for Canadian users, so that they can use data from Canadian buildings for comparison.
SNC-Lavalin invites whistleblowers
On May 27 SNC-Lavalin announced a program to allow its current employees to report any potential corruption matters they know are occurring in the firm without fear of reprisals.
The amnesty lasts for 90 days between June 3 and August 31, 2013. It applies to any current employees, but not to executives in the management committee groups or in the office of the president.
CFCs to blame for global warming?
A report by a University of Waterloo professor claims that chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) conspiring with cosmic rays are responsible for most global warming since the 1970s, not carbon dioxide emissions.
Professor Qing-Bin Lu of the Faculty of Science makes his case in a peer reviewed paper published May 30 in the International Journal of Modern Physics. He argues: “Conventional thinking says that the emission of human-made non-CFC gases such as carbon dioxide has mainly contributed to global warming. But we have observed data going back to the Industrial Revolution that convincingly shows that conventional understanding is wrong. In fact, the data shows that CFCs conspiring with cosmic rays caused both the polar ozone hole and global warming.”
Lu’s paper includes a graph that predicts global temperatures will continue a decline that began in 2002. He says the decline is due to the depletion of CFCs in the atmosphere in recent years.
One commentator, quoted in the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s News in Science, said that Lu’s theory is either a “landmark study” or “completely wrong.”
Nova Scotia Power HQ
In the article about the Nova Scotia Power Headquarters (CCE May 2013, page 20), the last sentence should have said the retrofits will save an estimated $650,000 in utility bills over 10 years, not $650,000 per year.