Founders Block South

Anthem’s Journey to Achieving the Illustrious LEED® Gold Certification Using Insulspan® SIPs

The Goal

It has always been the intent of internationally known construction giant, Anthem Properties Group, to build a LEED® Gold Certified multi-family residential complex. And just like any great journey, the hero must overcome obstacles one step at a time. In Anthem’s case, to overcome the challenge of obtaining the LEED® Gold Certification, the company had to be willing to embrace the BC Energy Step Code.

Exposition

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If you live or work in British Columbia, you may already know about the BC Energy Step Code. For those not familiar with these leading edge building code steps, the incremental approach has a simple end-goal. By the year 2032, every new building in the province should be constructed net zero energy ready.

Some in the province’s building industry aren’t waiting quite so long before meeting these energy efficiency targets. Anthem Properties, a true pioneer, has embraced the process from almost the very beginning. Insulspan’s Sales Manager, Dave Stevenson explains why, “If you’re building now, and it works with your budget, you might as well do all five steps as opposed to waiting.”

Rising Action

To complete all the steps, Anthem Properties had to do a few important things to ensure the success of the project. The company had to begin with a plan of action. They trusted Integra Architects to design and engineer the eight-building complex to the specifications of LEED® Gold Certification. With their heading set, Anthem placed the project in the capable hands of their Director of Construction, Kevin Beck.

With the challenge of a LEED® certification before him, Kevin enlisted the help of Insulspan® Structural Insulated Panels. He chose to use Insulspan SIPs for a few important reasons. Having used Insulspan SIPs in the past, Beck already had a good relationship with Insulspan’s Sales Manager, Dave Stevenson. He knew that he was going to get a great service with high quality panels. In addition, having the SIPs locally available was another very important part of the project. Overall, Beck was confident in the ability of Insulspan SIPs to aid Anthem’s contemporary townhome project, Founders Block South, in achieving LEED® certification.

Beck shares the reason why they chose to build with SIPs in particular was, “the airtightness of the system. We are building Founders Block to the highest level of the BC Energy Step Code. Our goal is to build an Air Change per Hour (ACH) under 1.0, and we know that SIPs can do that.”

Climax

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With eight buildings comprising 56 family-sized townhomes, the Anthem project contains a lot of SIPs. Specifically, a lot of Insulspan ready-to-assemble (RTA) 8.25” R-30 wall panels. Stevenson, who, acted as both the sales representative and an Insulspan technical advisor on-site for two days says the Anthem-selected subcontractor “did really well” learning how to install the Insulspan wall panels packages quickly.

“As the project progressed,” says Stevenson, “The crews got into a rhythm. Pretty soon, they were one step ahead because they knew what was coming next.” Beck confirms this saying, “The process was very straight-forward and simple. For our regular crew who is used to stick framing, it was easy for them.”

Making the construction simple and easy for the crew was an important part of the journey to LEED® for a few reasons. With approximately 100 people on the job site on some days, SIPs provided another benefit besides energy conservation: faster, more efficient construction. Beck shares that using SIPs really helped to increase the speed of construction and framing, boosting production rates, all the while making the exterior of the building airtight. SIPs made the process simpler for the crews. Stevenson adds that the crew received the relatively short learning curve well no matter what the project type.

Falling Action

By trusting Insulspan SIPs to help meet the BC Step Code, both Anthem and potential homeowners gain from the decision. Founders Block South condominiums offer prospective buyers high-end, beautiful, highly energy efficient residences. In fact, the blower door test result showed the ACH is .64 ACH, well below the ACH of 1.0 that Anthem set out as a goal. Using the standard pressure difference of 50 pascals, Anthem’s project is essentially a Passive House. [i]

Resolution

With the help of Insulspan SIPs, Anthem Properties has made it to the end of their journey. By fully embracing the BC Step Code, they have constructed luxurious, highly energy efficient residences that homeowners will love. Having achieved their ACH goal, all they have left to do is complete the project before they complete the journey with their LEED® Certification in hand.

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Read more about the BC Energy Step Code here. Interested in learning more about blower door tests? Read Blower Door Basics on the Green Building Advisor website.

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[i] Air Leakage Requirements Under the NECB 2011, a Blower Door test is required under the performance path method. The required minimum passing value is less than or equal to 0.25 L/(s-m2) @ 50Pa. However, wall systems that are considered an air barrier, such as LOGIX, do not require the Blower Door test. 2012


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