Every business aspires to be excellent, but by definition, only a few can ever achieve that status. Even fewer can sustain it. A business that is excellent today can be overtaken tomorrow if it does not commit to continuous improvement. As others improve, standing still means moving backwards.
Graham Design Builders Ltd. JANUARY 10 www. bus- ex. com 113 The UBC clinical academic campus building will be heated using geothermal energy and will include a high- albedo roof ( highly reflective material) to minimize unwanted solar heat gains. A rainwater retention system will enable that water to be stored in large tanks that will be used for irrigation so that no potable water will be required. The energy savings a few years down the road will more than compensate for the additional capital costs of construction of this project. Corcoran explains that the availability of environmentally friendly building materials has increased considerably over the past several years. " It's mainstream now, whereas five years ago it was difficult to find low- VOC [ volatile organic compounds] paints or glues, for example. Now these materials are very common, and recycled content has increased considerably in almost every building material we use, to the point where reinforcing steel, as an example, typically has up to 98 percent recycled content." That means accomplishing most aspects of LEED is becoming less expensive each year. " We still have to pay a premium for some items," Corcoran says, " particularly energy and water conservation components, but the payback is nowhere near as long as it used to be. Previously, given that material costs were much higher, the payback time was a lot longer." Corcoran attributes being employee- owned as an important aspect of Graham's success over the last few decades. " It certainly makes a big difference in terms of our employees' attitude and performance, as well as their input into the company. As a company we're very proud to be part of this project, and we're thrilled that it's going to provide some long- overdue services for these communities." is being completed, so construction is just one step behind design at every stage of the process. That makes it very taxing on our people, and it takes a high level of dedication and expertise to really be able to manage a project of this size in that manner." Corcoran points out that it's on the leading edge of LEED Gold- certified hospital projects in North America; there are less than a handful in the US and Canada. This level of certification is a challenging task in constructing a hospital, because a major component is energy efficiency and conservation, and it's difficult to capture the amount of energy savings that could be easily achieved in a non- medical building, since the air cannot be recycled for obvious reasons relating to infection control requirements. " In a normal building you could recycle some of the air," he says, " which would mean lower heating and cooling costs, but in a medical building you need to have 100 percent outside air, which makes achieving the maximum LEED energy credits- which are especially important for LEED Gold- that much more difficult. So in a hospital, where those energy points are a challenge to get, you have to be quite innovative and find the credits elsewhere." Other methods of driving down energy consumption are employed, for example, by using more efficient boilers and heat exchange units. " We are using equipment that consumes less energy across the board," says Corcoran. " While we have to heat 100 percent outside air, since we have to take into account the reality of a hospital, the bigger challenge is the cooling process, oddly enough. In Kelowna the load that drives the size of your equipment is the cooling load, even in winter. It may be cold outside, but in the hospital there are lots of bodies and equipment that give off heat. But in summer, when you have to bring in hot air and cool it drastically, that's where the challenge is. On the Kelowna ACC building we are supplementing our cooling capacity by using lake water to assist in the cooling. We've also utilized high-efficiency windows that incorporate high shading coefficients on the glazing on the sides of the building that face south, west and east, as well as highly thermally efficient materials for the remainder of the building's envelope. So there are plenty of measures we can take to minimize energy consumption, but it certainly is more challenging in a hospital."