building science Archives - Page 3 of 10 - Morrison Hershfield

CaGBC Building Lasting Change 2019: 4 Presentations


CaGBC’s annual conference brings together three days of opportunities, education and networking with the leaders, change makers and innovators of Canada’s green building industry – and our team is presenting three sessions!  This year’s conference will take place May 28-30 at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

More information and registration here.

Session #1: Healthy Buildings for Everyone

The way buildings are built today has remained relatively unchanged for nearly 200 years. The $9 trillion a year global construction industry is responsible for nearly 60% of climate change emissions, a third of landfill waste and a shocking array of negative health effects. In 2016, the XPRIZE Foundation set out to establish a “moonshot” for construction by creating the XPRIZE for Healthy Buildings.  Learn how one team approached this unique opportunity to develop a way to (literally) grow buildings by fusing synthetic biology, genomics, parametric modeling and 3D printing to create a disruption and paradigm shift that could switch us from a PETRO-chemical world, to a BIO-chemical one.

This session will be presented by Eric Corey Freed, Sustainability Disruptor, and will take place on Wednesday, May 29 at 9:45 am.

Session #2: Walking the Walk – A roadmap for low carbon neutrality in existing buildings 

In response to The Greening Government Strategy and their commitment to achieving a carbon neutral portfolio by 2050, with a stretch goal of carbon neutrality by 2030, Public Service and Procurement Canada (PSPC) have developed guidelines for the evaluation and recommendation of projects which have an impact on the GHG emissions associated with their real-estate portfolio. Through this guideline, PSPC have established that carbon neutrality will be measured and reported at the portfolio level. The intention of this engaging panel discussion is to capture the broad process laid out by BGIS on behalf of PSPC and the challenges and risks inherent to an aggressive carbon reduction target. Furthermore, the aim of this panel is to lay out the competing priorities faced by Morrison Hershfield’s consulting team such as energy/GHG reduction targets, capital and maintenance cost plans, operations and replacement cycles, technical feasibility, impact on schedule as well as short/long-term federal priorities. With the input from various stakeholders in the Carbon Neutral Study (CNS) process, the panel intends to dissect the integrated design process (IDP) implemented by the multi-disciplinary consultant team of specialists in the areas of building envelope design, mechanical, electrical, controls, calibration energy simulation, broader sustainability and resiliency, lifecycle cost assessment (LCCA), and a broad stakeholder engagement process via workshop facilitation. The panel will introduce specific project examples from various geographical regions to facilitation discussion and engage the audience in analyzing various energy efficiency and carbon mitigation measures already implemented through this CNS process.

This session will be co-presented by Kalum Galle, Sustainability Specialist, and will take place on Wednesday, May 29 at 9:45 am.

Session #3: Retrofit to the max – Elite performance is not just for new builds

Achieving certification to Zero Carbon Building Standard or Passive House can seem like a daunting task, particularly on a retrofit project. The relative impact of thermal bridging and envelope transitions is amplified in low energy buildings and particularly challenging to resolve in retrofit conditions. Humber College’s Deep Energy Retrofit Project for the Nx Building surmounted these challenges through careful integration across architectural design, energy modelling, envelope design, and mechanical design. Construction phase challenges were also met by implementing a robust testing protocol to facilitate EnerPhit and Zero Carbon Building certification.

This session will be co-presented by Steve Murray, Senior Building Science Consultant, and will take place on Thursday, May 30 at 9 am.

Session #4: TEDI

TEDI is a new metric that is gaining traction throughout codes and standards across Canada.  However, some argue that a low TEDI design can be in conflict with low-carbon energy supply solutions and/or cost-effective zero-carbon buildings. This presentation will challenge participants to rethink building design in a low-TEDI world using case studies.  The notion that high load buildings are justified by of the availability of large quantities of waste heat or low carbon energy supply is contrary to the foundational principles of low-energy design.  Transformational design opportunities emerge when buildings are designed for low TEDI, which can support and enhance cost-effective and resilient low carbon supply solutions.

This session will be co-presented by Alex Blue, Building Energy Practice Lead, and MH-alum Christian Cianfrone, current Executive Director of Vancouver’s Zero Emissions Building Exchange (ZEBx). The time for this session has not yet been determined.

OAA Conference 2019: 4 Presentations


The Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) Annual Conference is making it’s way to Quebec! This year’s OAA Conference theme is “Empowering Change,” sessions will explore how architecture can help to solve problems from climate change to housing affordability to social cohesion.

Our team will be presenting four sessions at this year’s conference!

More information and registration here.

Session #1: QA, QC, and QF – An Alphabet Soup of Standards is not Enough

Global procurement is often relied upon for curtain wall, window wall and other fenestration systems and components. Global procurement has its opportunities and risks. Opportunities include reduced product cost and fabrication capabilities that are not available, or have only limited availability in North America such as jumbo-size low-emissivity coated glass and insulating glass units. Risks include language and cultural differences and long distance communication across many time zones causing confusion in design, ordering, delays in delivery, and problems with product quality. Nevertheless, the fiscal advantages can be considerable.

Ensuring acceptable quality off-shore products is not just a matter of writing into a specification a requirement to comply with applicable building codes, standards and industry practice documents. These technical documents contain surprising limitations and omissions so that despite best efforts, a Quality Assurance (QA) plan and Quality Control (QC) program may not achieve the desired quality outcome. Even if initial product quality samples and production are correct, quality may diminish over time, an effect known as Quality Fade (QF). Whether or not fenestration systems are globally or locally procured, the building owners, the design team and the construction team should be aware of omissions and limitations of industry practices and standards to avoid unexpected surprises too late in the construction process to make changes.

This session will be presented by George Torok, Senior Facade Specialist, and will take place on Wednesday, May 22 at 2 pm and on Thursday, May 23 at 10:30 am.

Session #2: Change of Use – Application of the Ontario Building Code

This session walks attendees through the fundamentals and requirements of the Ontario Building Code for changes of use to existing buildings. It focuses on three key areas: application (i.e. when is the Code applicable?), requirements (i.e. the process of determining what requirements apply to a change of use) and working through examples and applying tips and tricks to make the process easier.

Learning Objectives

  1. Understand what constitutes a change of use per the OBC.
  2. Know the basis of Code requirements from the Building Code Act.
  3. Be able to assess hazard index and construction index of existing and proposed construction.
  4. Apply the requirements for analyzing early warning and evacuation systems.

This session will be presented by Judy Jeske, Senior Code Specialist, and will take place on Wednesday, May 22 at 2 pm.

Session #3: Building Envelope Commissioning – Plan for Success

This presentation focuses on the importance of the building envelope for new and retrofit projects, and its ability to satisfy not only the expectations of an owner, but also meet the performance requirements for efficiency, resiliency and durability. The session includes discussion on the critical and various stages of the Building Envelope Commissioning (BECx) Process, starting with the overarching Owner’s Project Requirements (OPRs) and finishing with the Building Envelope Retro-Commissioning Plan. Components of the process will be illustrated with examples from various case studies across Ontario and Canada.

Learning Objectives

  1. Understand the importance of the building envelope in new construction and retrofit applications.
  2. Understand Owner’s Project Requirements and Performance Criteria.
  3. Become familiar with the various stages of the BECx process and be able to identify the critical steps for its implementation.
  4. Be able to connect the BECx process to real work applications through case studies, and see first-hand how the process relates to a modern construction process.

This session will be presented by Peter Adams, Senior Building Science Specialist, and will take place on Wednesday, May 22 at 4 pm.

Session #4: Net Zero Carbon and Passive House – Easier Than You Think

Stringent overall performance requirements are compounded by component-specific or assembly-specific criteria. In addition,  design solutions often require careful integration between the architectural design, energy modelling, envelope design and mechanical design.

The relative impact of thermal bridging and envelope transitions is amplified in low energy buildings. Accurately quantifying thermal bridging effects and finding innovative design improvements to key details is an essential part of Passive House certification.

The presentation will discuss the counter-intuitive mechanical design challenges arising from very low heating and cooling loads and the year-round challenge of simultaneous heating and cooling needs within a floor plate. The different control logic and operating schedules of low energy systems must be carefully coordinated with energy modellers to ensure an accurate model.

This session will be co-presented by Steve Murray, Senior Building Science Consultant, and Alejandro Ortega, Senior Mechanical Engineer, and will take place on Friday, May 24 at 8:30 am.

2019 SPLC Summit: From Living Products to Living Buildings


The Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council’s (SPLC) annual Summit brings together 500 purchasing and sustainability professionals, suppliers, and NGO experts from diverse sectors and regions to share and promote sustainable purchasing best practices for organizations! This year’s three-day event will take place May 20-22nd at the Hilton Portland Downtown.

More information and registration here.

Eric Corey Freed, Sustainability Disruptor, will participate in the panel From Living Products to Living Buildings: Transforming the Health & Sustainability of Our Built Environment. This session will begin at 11:35 on Tuesday, May 21st (conference day #2).

Session Overview:

Building products are often made with toxic chemicals, exposure to which has significant occupant health impacts in buildings, as well as throughout the entire building product supply chain. The Living Product Challenge offers a comprehensive framework for the reduction and elimination of the human and environmental impacts of building products. Specifically, the framework offers a clear methodology for reducing the health impact of products through the Living Building Challenge Red List, comprised of 22 of the worst-in-class toxic chemical and material classes pervasive in the building product industry. Today, Red List Free purchasing is possible at scales unimaginable previously. As health and wellness become increasingly critical concerns for building owners, companies are now leveraging the Living Building Framework to protect occupant health and wellbeing. To change the industry at the pace required, we need solutions that can be scaled up from product, to building, to entire purchasing policies. Companies like Google and Salesforce are leading the way by incorporating the Living Building Challenge approach into a comprehensive healthy materials sourcing strategy that can be applied to a real estate portfolio at scale.

Attendees will also get a glimpse into the future with Eric Corey Freed’s inspiring presentation about the XPRIZE for Healthy Buildings. Learn how teams are developing ways to (literally) grow buildings by fusing synthetic biology, genomics, parametric modeling and 3D printing to create a disruption and paradigm shift that could switch us from a PETRO-chemical world, to a BIO-chemical one.

ABECN Luncheon: Building Envelope & NECB


This month’s Alberta Building Envelope Council North (ABECN) monthly Luncheon will focus on updates to the NECB Energy Code and it’s impacts on the Building Envelope. The session will be held at Highlands Golf Club in Edmonton on Thursday, May 16.

Registration here.

Session Overview:

Alberta will soon be moving to an updated version of the National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings (NECB) for energy code requirements. In order to prepare for this next phase in energy codes, the session will bring the knowledge from the City of Edmonton past learning and what need to be addressed in the new energy code.

Julien St. Pierre, Building Science Consultant, will join the program and outline changes of the code with respect to building envelope, and provide insight into methods of compliance with the code.

AGC Utah: Building Envelope Failures & How to Avoid Them


Our team is excited to present this Lunch and Learn session to the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of Utah! This session will take place on Wednesday, May 15 from 11:30 am to 1 pm at AGC Utah in Salt Lake City.

More information and registration here.

Session Overview: Building Envelope Failures & How to Avoid Them

The building envelope is the highest risk element of construction. Often, the contractors are taking on a large portion of this risk. With increased building complexity, stringent owner requirements, vague design documents, and diminishing labor pool, these risks are higher than ever. This presentation will review 3 case studies and identify the cause of the failure. Morrison Hershfield will provide tools for contractors to help improve quality and decrease risk of performance problems in this one-hour presentation.

Learning Objectives:

  • Review 3 building envelope failures through 3 case studies
  • Identify ways to work with the architect to improve clarity of the design intent
  • Understand construction practices to help build quality into the construction
  • Identify useful and cost effective test methods to verify performance during construction

This session will be presented by Rick Ziegler, Department Manager / Sr. Building Science Consultant, and Chris Ball, Building Science Consultant.

Facade Tectonics Forum Toronto: Building Material


Façade Tectonics is in Toronto and our team can’t wait to join! This full-day event will include sessions based on four themes central to façade technology, design, sustainability and resilience. It will take place on Friday, May 3, at the Faculty Club at the University of Toronto.

Registration and more information can be found here.

Yvon Chiasson, Senior Building Science Specialist, will be participating as a panelist for the session Building Material: Performance and Geometry Driving Expansion of the Facade Materials Palette. This panel will take place at 10:45 am.

Session Overview:

Aesthetic, experiential and performative behaviors of building skins are deeply influenced by decisions regarding materials, products and systems. The critical importance of the building skin is gradually being recognized as reflected in the new energy step codes, which increase the demands on materials and products and the integration of the facade and building systems. Façade designs are becoming increasingly complex, partially driven by these enhanced performance demands but even more so by the aesthetically driven amplification of formal diversity in the building skin—the pursuit of the iconic—pushing the limits of tradition materials and products and forcing an expansion of the facade materials palette. This session explores developments ranging from new glazing assemblies to advanced material technologies with the potential to extend the current limits of facade and building design and construction.

Minnesota BEC Annual Meeting: Air Barrier Performance & Pitfalls


We’re excited to join this year’s Minnesota Building Envelope Council’s (BEC) Annual meeting! It will take place on Tuesday, April 23rd at Jax Cafe in Minneapolis.


Morrison Hershfield’s Lee Durston, Principal / Senior Building Science Consultant, will co-present this year’s session Air Barrier Performance & Pitfalls.

This presentation will cover:


  1. Attributes of the building envelope.
  2. What is required for a successful air barrier installation
  3. What energy can be saved and HVAC equipment downsizing realized on a given project


  1. Things that could go that actually do go wrong on a given project.
    1. Connections
    2. Weather
    3. Compatibility
    4. Etc.
  2. Case studies on the good, bad and the ugly.

More information can be found here.

BC Housing Building Smart Webinar: Key Considerations for High Performance Walls

Our very own Patrick Roppel (Principal / Building Science Specialist), will be co-presenting this 3-hour online webinar for BC Housing, titled Building Smart: Key Considerations for High Performance Walls. It will take place on Thursday, April 4, 2019 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. PST. More information and registration here.

Session Overview:

This session will help broaden the common understanding of how high-rise residential buildings can meet the next generation of net-zero or net-zero ready standards that are applicable to all climate zones in Canada and build upon current design requirements and construction practice. It will illustrate solutions for higher levels of performance in Part 3 buildings, as required by Passive House, BC Energy Step Code, and the City of Vancouver’s Zero Emissions Building Plan.

Half of the session will be dedicated to the review of typical wall assemblies and will explore practical solutions for designing and building to the effective R-values required for higher levels of the BC Energy Step Code. Parapet, clear wall, window, slab and door full size mock-up details will be reviewed step-by-step to emphasize constructability, durability, moisture control and fire protection.

The session will also outline useful guides and tools available to the design and construction community to help meet multiple objectives, including reducing energy consumption, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing resiliency and passive survivability.

This event is presented in collaboration with ZEBx, BCIT and other industry stakeholders.

PM Springfest: WHO’S SUPPOSED TO PAY FOR THAT? Managing Capital Budgets & Projects in Mixed-Use Developments


PM Springfest brings together building owners, operators, developers and property managers for a full day of education sessions! Seminars from leading experts focus on how to reduce operating costs, capital projects and budgets, cost-effective maintenance solutions, and more! We’re excited to be participating in this year’s session! This year’s PM Springfest will take place on Wednesday, March 27 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre’s South Building.

Amy Heppler, Principal / Building Science Engineer, will present Who’s Supposed to Pay for That? Managing Capital Budgets & Projects in Mixed-Use Developments. This session will begin at 8:30 a.m.

More information and registration can be found here.

Presentation Overview:

Mixed-use developments sound great! Condo residents can pop downstairs to the grocery store, office workers have a food court handy for lunch, everyone can access the subway easily through a tunnel, and that parking garage has space for everyone! Property Managers know the reality though – no matter how much thought the Developer put into the documents, you’re always finding new grey areas, and projects no-one budgeted for. This session will examine the special challenges of capital work in mixed-use developments where ownership boundaries are unclear, responsibilities are shared, and access sometimes requires easements. The presentation will examine typical areas of overlapping use and benefit and different ways of budgeting for and managing shared repair and replacement projects.

WABO Annual Education Institute: Air & Moisture Barriers


The Washington Association of Building Officials (WABO) annual Education Institute training sessions will take place March 25-28, 2019 in Lynnwood, Washington. Our team is excited to take part in training the state’s Building Code Officials on the building envelope!

More information and registration can be found here.

Medgar Marceau, Principal / Senior Building Science Engineer, will present Air & Moisture Barriers: What to Look for in Drawings and On Site.

Presentation Overview:

The presentation will review the purpose of the building envelope and describe the concept of continuous control layers to protect the building envelope. We will describe the building envelope control layers for controlling water penetration, air leakage, heat flow, and water vapor diffusion. Emphasis will be on “continuity” of the control layers, what to look for in the drawings and in the field to verify that continuity of the control layers has been maintained. Numerous construction details, material samples, and construction photos, will be used to show examples of the concepts. This presentation will explain the difference between air barriers, water barriers, and vapor barriers and show how the design of the envelope can incorporate some or all of these functions into a single material. We’ll also discuss implication of improper placement of control layers or consequences of improper material selection.

This session will take place during the afternoon session on Tuesday, March 26.

About our Presenter:

Medgar Marceau, P.E., CDT
Principal / Senior Building Science Engineer

Medgar has a unique mix of building envelope, energy modeling and life-cycle assessment (LCA) experience. In addition to Medgar’s building science expertise, he has extensive knowledge in whole building energy simulation and material science including infrared thermographic analysis, modeling of air and moisture transfer through envelope systems, air leakage, and mass transfer. Medgar’s sustainability goal is to help designers increase building durability and reduce building energy consumption.