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Lafarge Canada creates Environmental Building Declaration for Innovation Hub

Published by
World Cement,

With the help of the Athena Sustainable Materials Institute, Lafarge Canada Inc. has posted its performance data for its new Innovation Hub in Edmonton. Athena measured the building’s footprint using Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and created an Environmental Building Declaration (EBD), the building equivalent of an Environmental Product Declaration or the nutrition label on food packaging.

"Lafarge recently built a LEED® Platinum NetZero Energy Precast Concrete Duplex in conjunction with Habitat for Humanity. For our own Hub we wanted to go even further on sustainability leadership by using LCA to document and share our footprint," said Federico Tonetti, Vice President, Edmonton for Lafarge.

The Edmonton Innovation Hub is constructed of precast concrete, which makes it highly efficient. The precast ‘sandwich’ panels eliminate thermal bridges and, when combined with an intelligent building management system, deliver strong energy performance.

The building houses a world-class laboratory on the ground floor where radiant in-floor heating combined with a south facing design keep Lafarge's materials experts warm and bathed in natural light.

The Hub is also a showplace for other sustainable materials, such as concrete floors incorporating reflective white pigment and concrete walls to engage thermal mass. The polished concrete floors are low maintenance and eliminate the need for floor coverings or paint, keeping VOCs down for a healthy work environment.

Another feature of a precast concrete building is that it contains open architecture with long clear spans; this allows the building to be repurposed or even disassembled and reassembled at another location. Considering the building's full life cycle, at a minimum the concrete could be crushed and reused at end of life.

The Hub was built on a current Lafarge industrial site requiring no further development of the area. Industrial and rain water are managed across the site via a reclamation system. In the Hub's parking lot, Lafarge's decorative concrete has been employed.

"Lafarge is setting a great example for building owners and designers," said Athena President Jennifer O'Connor. "In using LCA to transparently disclose the environmental performance of their new building, they're extending the concrete industry's commitment to sustainability right through the value chain." 

In addition to the laboratory function, the building is slated for use as a construction community hub by post-secondary students as well as associations and local project teams. "Brainstorming about innovative materials application in building and infrastructure construction will occupy the second floor of the Hub, while the ideas can be readily tested downstairs in our lab,” explained Mr. Tonetti.

Lafarge supports the use of LCA to measure the environmental footprint of products and buildings, viewing it as a mechanism to keep the organisation accountable and to find ways to reduce the footprint of the built environment.

Adapted from press release by

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