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Welding building to become among most sustainable

Grant allows one of BCIT’s most energy inefficent buildings to turn over a new leaf

BCIT’s new ventilation system to reduce heating costs by tens of thousands

BCIT’s new ventilation system to reduce heating costs by tens of thousands – Courtesy of Scott McAlpine/BCIT

BCIT’s least sustainable building is likely the welding shop, building NE8 at Burnaby Campus. That will change after the building’s upgrade, set to begin this month.

According to Alexandre Hebert, energy and sustainability manager at BCIT, a proposal was made by BCIT to the ministry last year, resulting in a $2.7 million grant to completely re-do the ventilation systems in the welding shop and BCIT’s Burnaby Campus.

“Welding is such an energy intense process, the more you ventilate, the more you heat and the more you heat, the more green house gas emissions you release,” said Hebert.
Hebert says the building is old and wasteful.

“The building ventilates as soon as someone comes inside in the morning, probably at six or seven in the morning,” said Hebert, “and the ventilation is going full speed until the last person leaves which is typically around 11 o’clock at night.”

The proposed new ventilation system will know when someone is welding at one of the approximately 100 welding booths.

Ventilation will start right above where someone is working, so only that space is ventilated, instead of ventilating all booths at once.

Hebert says building NE8 is a small building in the grand scheme of things, but costs the institution around $75,000 each year, because of the need for continuous re-heating. The new ventilation upgrades will save the institution both energy and money.

“We’re going to save enough energy in this one building to fully power about 220 houses every year in the lower mainland,” said Hebert.

Hebert says ensuring minimal to no interruption to students is a priority.

With the help of a multi-disciplinary team that includes instructors such as the chief welding instructor Dave Helman, planning has been organized to avoid any disruptions to students who will benefit from the upgrades.

“Students can see what it’s like to be in the real world and what it’s like to be on a real construction site so it works well for everyone,” Hebert continued.

The project is expected to take seven months to complete with an expected start in January 2013 and expected completion by mid-July 2013.[hr]

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