Saturday, October 17, 2009

Leaky LEED

A LEED rated Green School in Halifax is suffering from a leaky roof, toxic VOC's and boiler maintenance problems only a year and a half after being built. Green buildings may not be as energy efficient as they claim to be. Using recycled materials and putting sod on the roof is asking for trouble, predominately water seepage. Perhaps more efforts should have been put in to the boiler system instead of making the school a modernist penitentiary.

Security cameras, panic buttons, washrooms without doors and extra-wide halls designed to prevent conflict between jostling individuals: Is this a new Canadian super-max penitentiary?

Far from it. Welcome to Halifax's Citadel High School, likely the safest educational institution in the country.

Too cool for school at Citadel High
Temperature drops to 11 C as repairs are made to heating system pipes

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Citadel High School students were sent home Wednesday after the school board decided it was too cold in the school because repairs to a heating have not yet been completed. (Christian Laforce / Staff)


The Halifax regional school board finally concluded Wednesday that 11 degrees was too cold for studying at central Halifax’s only high school.

A faulty steam pipeline under Summer Street that heats Citadel High School — and has been under repair for months — still wasn’t working in the morning when the temperature dropped in the city.

Parents were first told to bundle up their kids and send them to school anyway, but the board eventually decided to send students home later in the morning.

One parent was upset that the school board had not made a clear decision earlier and that the $31-million school, built in 2007, was having more problems.

"They’re certainly working as quickly as they can," said Cathy MacIsaac, a Transportation Department spokeswoman.

"The delay was related to receiving the pipe and the pipe is on its way."

Her department is overseeing the work.

Heating issues have closed the school before. Earlier this summer, workers tried to find out what was wrong with the pipeline.

The province found that a high water table in the area was creating problems for the pipes that heat the school.

Cold water in the soil was making it difficult for the pipes in the heating system to work properly.

Repairs were needed. They included waterproofing manhole covers, replacing valves and replacing the piping itself.

Ms. MacIsaac said that the repairs are almost done and that the specialized piping should arrive today.

Installation work should take about three to four days.

"Our staff are working with (the school board) to try and put in some temporary heating so the teachers and students can get back in, in a comfortable environment," she said.

School board spokesman Doug Hadley said an external boiler will be temporarily connected to the building’s hot water and in-floor heating systems. Six heating units with fans will also be brought in.

Mr. Hadley said the school board would be in contact with parents Wednesday night, but the plan was to have the school open Thursday morning.

Citadel High School replaced St. Patrick’s and Queen Elizabeth high schools as part of a $400-million provincial program to build and renovate schools around Nova Scotia.

The school has experienced a number of problems since its completion, including poor air quality and leaky roofs.

The repairs on the steam pipe will cost about $200,000.

Ms. MacIsaac said that at least a portion of the cost is likely to be covered by a contractor’s warranty.

Heating fails at new Halifax school

Last Updated: Tuesday, September 29, 2009 | 12:52 AM AT

The underground piping system that heats Citadel High School in Halifax is out of commission for the second time in less than a year.

Officials with Nova Scotia's Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal said ground water is leaking into nearby manholes and causing the pipes to leak steam.

"They don't work as efficiently as they should," Lindsay Mills said Monday.

The $25-million high school, which opened in September 2007, is designed to be heated with steam generated at a nearby hospital and directed to the school using underground pipes.

The same underground system, running from the QEII Health Sciences Centre, also heats the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History.

Neither building, however, is getting heat from the steam transfer system.

"We are looking into that to figure out the origins and what really went wrong," Mills said.

Crews have dug three pits in the area as they try to make the piping waterproof and replace manholes and steam fittings.

Mills said the problem, which will cost an estimated $225,000 to fix, first surfaced last year when a leaking pipe sent steam billowing out of a manhole for several weeks.

She said the repairs should be complete by late October, and consultants will determine who will pay for those repairs.

Halifax's 16-month-old Citadel High School has a leaky roof.

School officials used buckets to catch the water as it dripped through the ceiling above the gymnasium on Thursday.

"At that point it was dripping not in any great amounts but coming in in more than one area," said Shaune MacKinlay, spokeswoman for the Halifax regional school board.

MacKinlay said the building is still under warranty so the board won't have to pay for repairs.

Contractors were expected to go to the $30-million school on Friday to fix the roof.

Citadel High opened in September 2007.

One of the highlights of the school is that it adheres to the international Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards for sustainable, green benefits.

Some of its environmental features include:

-- Rainwater collected to flush its toilets
-- Reused building features from the two schools it replaces and the one that was demolished to make way for it
-- Retained as much green space on site as possible
-- Waterless urinals
-- A reflective roof with part of the roof covered with grass
-- Exceeding the energy code requirement for insulation R value
-- Steam from Infirmary boiler plant is used to heat the building and water

What is LEED?
The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™ encourages and accelerates global adoption of sustainable green building and development practices through the creation and implementation of universally understood and accepted tools and performance criteria.

CASE STUDY ON STEEL RE-USE PERFORMANCE BASED SOLUTION FOR CITADEL HIGH SCHOOL

“We really wanted to not have a traditional ceiling in the classrooms,”
says Cotaras. “The exposed beams and deck make the
classrooms feel taller. Plus, there’s a three foot savings from floorto-
floor adding a cost savings to the envelope of the building.”
Fowler Bauld & Mitchell’s design also eliminates the need for
horizontal ventilation ducting at each floor. Instead, vertical ducts
drop into each classroom from a ventilation distribution system
located in a spine running along the building’s rooftop. This also
reduces the cost of the construction.
Citadel High School is the second project where Fowler Bauld &
Mitchell has used exposed beams. The Nova Scotia Community
College in Stellarton that they designed in 2004 was a 5,575 m2
renovation and expansion project (see Advantage Steel No. 23,
Summer 2005). Similar to Citadel High School, exposed steel
beams/steel decking were painted and lit with suspended lighting.
“Although Citadel High School uses some of the same structural
design elements such as exposed beams, it is a much bigger project
than the Community College,” says Cotaras. “Not only is it threestoreys
instead of two, its also all new construction and not a renovation/
addition. This is the first time exposed steel has been used
in this way for a new building in Nova Scotia.”
Fowler Bauld & Mitchell’s design for the school uses steel beams
instead of joists. These will not only be stiffer, but will allow for a
clean open-ceiling approach and a reduction in the overall height.
According to the company, this will save cladding costs and helps
justify the more costly beam approach.





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