Lafarge steps to forefront of Environmental Building Declarations

Source: Lafarge Canada Inc., Calgary

Posting embodied resource and energy performance data for public reference, Lafarge Canada’s new Innovation Hub in Edmonton is one of the first North American projects bearing an Environmental Building Declaration (EBD).

The Athena Sustainable Materials Institute applied life cycle assessment (LCA) methods to create a document with environmental footprint data about the building—similar to the nutrition label on food packaging. Lafarge supports the use of LCA to measure the environmental footprint of products and buildings, viewing it as a mechanism to keep the organization accountable and find ways to improve built environment.

“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,” say Lafarge Vice President, Edmonton Federico Tonetti.

“Lafarge is setting a great example for building owners and designers” says 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.”

The Hub is constructed of precast concrete, providing a highly efficient building envelope. The insulated sandwich panels eliminate thermal bridges and, when combined with an intelligent building management system, deliver strong energy performance. The building houses a laboratory on the first level, where radiant in-floor heating combined with a south elevation design keep materials experts warm and working in natural light.

The Hub is a showplace for other sustainable materials, like 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. Consistent with typical precast concrete buildings, the Hub exhibits open architecture with long clear spans, allowing the facility to be repurposed or even disassembled and reassembled at another location.