The BC Hydro Port Alberni Operations Building is a 23,000 sq. ft. facility that includes both office and industrial spaces. Designed to LEED Gold standards, this building includes a “Green Roof” Zoned Monitoring System where a large area of green roof is used to insulate the building and slow water run-off.
This project encompassed an extensive amount of work in electrical construction as well as Direct Digital Controls (DDC) and Network Systems. Houle demonstrated its strength as a multi-division service provider, integrating a number of skills and disciplines into a single project. Houle’s scope of work consisted of:
- Lighting Design and Control: Houle provided efficient lighting solutions. Many areas of the building include daylight dimming. Local occupancy sensors were installed in most areas of the building including the truck shop. Typically these lights are left on. The truck shop was designed so the lights come on when a truck or person enters the shop and turns off 20 minutes later. Timers and photocells were installed to control the exterior lighting; it is automatically timed to turn on only during occupied hours.
- Post Disaster Design: The building is designed to operate as an emergency operations centre. This meant the design had to include extra bracing and other structural elements to help it withstand a major disaster beyond the building code requirements. The 400KW generator was installed to power all essential systems and operations in the event of a power failure.
- Energy Monitoring: The design required energy monitoring of the mechanical and lighting systems. This allows building operators to monitor electrical energy inputs and analyze and adjust the systems to maximize energy efficiency. The facility includes multiple metering points located throughout the building and networked system metering cabinets. Operators have remote off-site building access which allows them to log in and review the energy usage on any meter point in the building in real-time.
Challenges and Successes
Houle wired the facility despite challenges with high ceilings, cross bracing, and large windows. With the building designed to post disaster standards, additional bracing was required, making wiring difficult in some areas. All seismic bracing had to exceed the typical bracing multiplied by 1.5 times.
The “Green Roof” Zoned Monitoring System was a new system for the team at Houle. Houle had to apply a grid of sensing tape on the roofing substrate. The tape had to be kept dry even in rain. Once the tape was applied, it needed to be marked to prevent the roofers from screwing through it when installing subsequent roofing layers. Zones were metered to confirm they were undamaged by roofing installation. Once connected to the monitoring modules, the green roof membrane zoned monitoring system ensures no leaks occur. In the event leaks do occur, building operators can pinpoint the location of water entry.