News: Finding Harmony at Buildex Vancouver

Finding Harmony at BUILDEX Vancouver
BUILDEX Vancouver, February 13th to February 14th 2013
Judy Kwok
As a follow up to the Harmony House Project and HarmonyHouse.TV Series, the Sustainability Television team attended to the 2013 BUILDEX Vancouver show at the Vancouver Convention Centre West.  The show welcomed over 13,500 industry professionals and more than 600 exhibitors with 60 plus seminars, making this the largest BUILDEX ever. Those delegates that attended the two-day show had nothing but good things to say, “I had heard from others that it's one show you shouldn’t miss, and they were right! I’ll definitely be attending next year " said one delegate.
This year’s conference incorporated three distinct professional markets including; Interior design and architecture, Property and Real Estate management, and Construction and renovation.  In addition to building industry professionals receiving continuing education credits and keeping up with advancements in the industry, the public was also able to attend and find learning opportunities on just about almost every topic current in the building industry today.
Day one - seminars highlighted diverse subject matter from; Indoor Air Quality and LEED for Existing Buildings, Incorporating Solar Into New Builds within the City Of Vancouver and Lower Mainland, The from Transparency, Product Disclosures, and Reducing Embodied Carbon, and the keynote “Workplace 20/20, an insider’s look at Tomorrow’s Workplace Today” looking at the designs, technology, branding and recruitment trends that are forecasted to shape the workplace of tomorrow.
Day two – I found three seminars that were a must attend including; How to Profit through Green Home Certification, Creating Bridges between Green Building Theory and Practical Application, and the keynote panel on “Living Affordably in Greater Vancouver” – the topic on everyone’s mind.
At the Quad-Lock Building Systems trade show booth attendees were able to see, and feel the Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) building system similar to the one used in the foundation of the Harmony House. Essentially, the Quad-Lock system can be used very much like children’s building blocks to assemble the foundation formwork for a home or building. 
Quad-Lock representative Anthony Vermulen said, “We are leading the change in the direction of more energy efficient housing.”  Sustainable aspects of using this system over traditional wooden foundation formwork may include; the cost and environmental savings of not having to use additional wood, increasing the R-Value of the foundation walls - which may save the homeowners energy costs over time, reducing the actual construction time for the foundation phase of a building, and when used with other technologies like the Fab-Form footing system like the one used in the Harmony House Episode 4 its easy to see how this system could be used to create what is referred to in the building industry as a monopour system, where the concrete footing and walls are one contiguous unit.
One of the most innovative products at the show was the Solatube marketed though local distributors Thermal Systems - often referred to as a “Tubular Daylighting Device.” This impressive piece of engineering takes the concept of a skylight to a whole new level. How this impressive piece of engineering works is much like a miniature skylight on the roof of the building.  However, the similarities end there as this unit captures light at the roof level and thought ductwork can actually deliver that light up to 50 feet within the home.
The system is made up of three main components; the dome, the transfer tube, and the delivery zone – what we would normally see and refer to as the “light”.
The technology employed in the dome utilizes Raybender 3000 Technology of fresnel lenses based on the incidence angles which attempts to maximize the amount of captured daylight and ensures it’s consistency.
The second part – “the transfer tube” is very much like the ductwork that is found in the forced air delivery systems in most homes in North America today.  The advancements in the technology used on the inside of this ductwork or “transfer tube” is composed of a material that has the reflectivity of 99.7% allowing the light to be bounced for greater distances without quality or intensity degradation.
The third component – “the delivery zone” is where natural daylight is projected very much like any other home lighting appliance with the exception – that this is natural daylight”.  The light may be dimmed or brightened with a switch and provides a surprisingly good amount of light even on cloudy days. To learn more, take a look at our interview with Ian Gruber from Thermal Systems.
Another innovative product showcased at Buildex was the HELIX’s Micro-Rebar.  Replacing Rebar, the Helix 5-25 Micro-Rebar is mixed in with concrete as a mechanism of cement reinforcement. The shape and the twist maximize both the frictional and mechanical bonds between Helix and the cement.
In addition, to cutting edge building technology, worker safety was also well represented by WorkSafeBC that was onsite sharing information about the Carex Canada Program.
…”developed by the Finnish Institute for Occupational Health (FIOH) as part of a European Union effort to estimate the burden of occupational cancer. Its purpose was to produce estimates of the number of people with potential workplace exposure to definite, probable, and selected possible workplace carcinogens, as classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in 1995. Initially, CAREX was only used to develop and store exposure estimates… More recently, it has been used to estimate the number of workers exposed to carcinogens… and to aid in estimating the global burden of exposure to occupational carcinogens.”  –
According to WorksafeBC website, CAREX Canada is currently supported as part of the partnership between WorkSafeBC and the Centre for Health Services and Policy Research (at UBC).   The importance of worker’s safety has always been a concern and it is critical for workers in the building industry to realize they encounter toxic agents - wood dust, asbestos, etc., that can contribute to cancer long after their initial exposure.  This website estimates the number of Canadians that are exposed to carcinogenic substance in the workplace and community.
With the help of this website workers today can easily access data and learn more on potential carcinogens in their workplace, and report exposure incidents – a terrific tool for promoting worker health and safety education.
Exterior wall insulation is a big part of building an energy efficient home and it was interesting to hear from companies like Knauf EcoBatt Insulation, who produce their fiberglass insulation from a majority of recycled materials. Other insulation specialists on hand included spray foam manufacturers like BASF, which is featured on Mike Holmes Home on Homes and ICYNENE, that is featured in Episode 10 of the Harmony House series.  Using spray foam insulation is an incredibly innovative way to install insulation, and can readily see it’s suitability for use especially in older homes that may have improperly installed or nonexistent insulation.
Another company that captured a lot of attention at the show was Eco-Paving. This innovative company provides what they refer to as “sustainable paving” as an alternate to cement or asphalt surfaces. Utilizing 100% recycled rubber crumb (tires) and other additive’s they’re able to resurface any existing paved surfaces such as brick, concrete, earth, pavers and tile.  In addition to being a green alternative is that due to rubber’s natural resistant property it increases the safety for homeowner, and businesses. This is a great plus to Vancouver’s rainy weather! Eco-Paving offers paving for driveways, patios, playgrounds and pool decks. Many companies offered impressive features for the safe and Sustainable homes of tomorrow, one company in particular (Giacomini) that includes a snow melting system in the driveway…
All in all a very important event and opportunity for building industry professionals to showcase their latest technology and meet like-minded individuals. Paul Maryschak, Show Director described BUILDEX Vancouver as “a successful event for 2013! We had a very good response from the industry on all levels from exhibitors to sponsors to association partners to attendees and to professionals wanting to share their knowledge in the seminars. We are already looking forward to the planning of 2014.”
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For more information on next year’s BUILDEX Vancouver and for other Canadian show dates please visit the links below:
BUILDEX Vancouver
BUILDEX Edmonton: March 19 & 20, 2013.
BUILDEX Calgary: Nov. 5 & 6, 2013.