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April 01, 2009

Going green, saving green

Kanas offers an affordable earth-friendly condominium lifestyle

Roy Heale

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After the recent meeting between U.S. President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, it became apparent that the environment is now a high priority for the governments of both countries.

This probably means that suddenly everyone has to start thinking ‘green’ both at the office and in their homes. Energy conservation, renewable energy, recycling and many other environmental issues will be front and centre in the very near future.

However, for the past decade one company in Calgary—Kanas Corporation—has been developing energy efficient and smart technology for green buildings and at the same time providing affordable housing. Their experiences to date, plus their research into new technology, ensures that we have a leader for the greening of our lifestyles right here in our own backyard.

Kanas Corporation began in 1997 with the concept of  developing buildings with Insulated Concrete Form Construction (ICFC) and locally produced recycled steel joists and interior wall studs to create a superior building envelope to which smart technology could easily be incorporated. “We had a passion to develop a better building with a green emphasis but to really focus on efficiency with affordability,” says Robert Sipka, president of Kanas Corporation. “Our pilot project, now completed, was Parkhill Manor with nine rental apartments. Currently under construction is our prototype Lomond apartment building with 15 rental units. This fall we will break ground and commence construction on our major performance project, the Lumino, with 318 units in the Manchester community.”

The Lumino will have both units for rent and for sale. Rentals range from $700 - $985 a month. While units for sale range from $160,000 to $295,000.

Defining a green project encompasses the building construction, the energy efficiency of the structure, the use of smart technology for energy conservation plus its proximity to public transit and green amenities to reduce the resident’s carbon footprint.  A typical Kanas building meets R-2000 criteria and a Platinum Rating by Enervision’s Built Green program that evaluates green construction techniques which reduce the environmental impact of buildings.  These prestigious ratings are achieved by Kanas through the ICFC construction method, the use of recycled steel, the acrylic stucco exterior, hot water solar panel heating systems, triple-glazed Low-E windows, low-VOC paints, concrete counter tops, low-flow fixtures and toilets, plus smart technology applications.

“Our buildings are greater than 50 per cent more energy efficient relative to traditional construction methods. Plus the triple-glazed windows ensure no cold drafts or heat loss in winter and year-round noise reduction for a noticeably improved comfort level for the residents,” says Sipka.

The new Lomond development is located at Centre Street and 32nd Avenue NW with two-bedroom apartments anticipated to be ready for occupancy late this year or early in 2010. Lomond is located close to public transit routes, giving residents a practical  alternative to driving which results in financial savings and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

These homes will encompass some of the latest smart technologies recently discovered and tested by Kanas. Wherever possible Kanas chooses Canadian made products and materials to reduce shipping costs, lower transportation greenhouse gas emissions and support the Canadian economy.

Kanas has worked in conjunction with Alberta Government grants for affordable housing and the Lumino development is in partnership with the City of Calgary affordable housing program. This is an important part of the company’s philosophy to provide an environmentally friendly hand-up but not a hand-out.

“Our buildings are affordable by design and efficiency but the core is a really good building envelope to start with,” says Sipka. “ Although the cost savings may not be realized until several years after the tenants first move in, as the landlord we can afford to wait for these cost efficiencies to be realized.”

With Kanas Corporation as both the building developer and eventual landlord it would seem to indicate that they are fully prepared to stand behind both their construction materials and methods for a truly superior building with a focus on environmental efficiency.

For more information visit http://www.kanas.ca

Environmental Operational Efficiencies

Triple Pane Windows
Windows are the largest source of building heat loss. Lomond will be fitted with Low E, argon-filled triple pane windows that are thermally superior to conventional double pane windows.

Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) Construction
ICF walls represent long-term value for Lomond. This high quality method of construction results in building energy efficiency, durability, safety and maintenance cost savings. Sound proof, fire proof and draft proof, ICF provides long lasting comfort and drastically reduces operating expenses. This, as a stand-alone item, can reduce energy consumption associated with heating and cooling by 40% compared to typical construction practices.

Solar Power
Lomond will generate thermal energy to heat domestic water through a panel system. These Canadian made systems are a passive method of producing energy that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Energy Star Rated Appliances
Energy Star rated products use less energy, save money and help protect the environment. Energy Star appliances include refrigerators, dishwashers, and washing machines.

Water Saving Fixtures/Toilets
With conventional toilets using approximately 13 litres of water per flush, an average family of four will consume more than 3,500 litres of water per week JUST flushing the toilet. The low flow toilets in Lomond will use less than half this amount consuming 3-6 litres of water per flush. Low flow showers and faucets will also be installed in Lomond.

Low Maintenance Exterior
The 100 per cent acrylic stucco exterior is a durable, moisture resistant, maintenance-free product that keeps its good looks and vibrancy for years to come.

Material Selection and Eco-Footprint

Steel Joists and Interior Studs
The locally fabricated, 100 per cent recycled material steel joists and interior wall steel studs used in Lomond mean less waste going to landfills. The locally produced product also increases structural longevity and strength while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Flyash Concrete Component
Flyash, a waste product generated from coal-burning electric power generation, will be used in the concrete construction of Lomond. Flyash, which would otherwise be added to landfills, replaces a portion of the Portland Cement traditionally found in a wall concrete mix. Using flyash reduces the carbon emissions generated in the production of Portland Cement and construction costs while improving the quality of the concrete.

Proximity to Public Transportation
Lomond is located close to public transportation routes, giving residents a practical transportation alternative to driving, saving money and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Healthy Home

Low VOC Paints and Adhesives
Lomond will use low Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) paints
and adhesives, meaning residents will benefit from cleaner air quality and reduced long-term health risks.

Noise Pollution
The triple pane windows, concrete and steel floor systems, and exterior ICF walls will act in harmony to mitigate noise pollution from the surrounding environment. This will ultimately improve living conditions for Lomond occupants.

Canadian Made Products
Kanas chooses Canadian produce supplies and products where possible. Not only does this result in savings on transportation costs, it reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and supports the Canadian economy.

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