The Currents

The Currents condominium project and Great Canadian Theatre Company is an impressive initiative that links a new theater facility with a high-rise. It is an environmentally sensitive condominium project within minutes of downtown Ottawa.

Windmill Developments set a target during the design stage to be the greenest mixed use building in Canada, and set to achieve a LEED Gold Standard. Windmill Developments selected Aecon Buildings (Ottawa) to complete this dubious task. The building consists of 6531.5 square meters and cost approximately $13.5 million to build.

Construction of the 10 story condo/theater began in January 2006 and was completed in March 2007. The project was unique not only in its green building features, but also in the non-column spans that the theater required, all while supporting a condo building above. The project was featured on an episode of "What's That About" on the Discovery Channel.

While the final certification of the building is still in the completion stages, all progress to date indicates that LEED Gold status will be achieved (the building was very close to achieving Platinum status).

Concrete played many roles and had a significant impact throughout the planning and construction of the building. In calculating energy models and targeting reductions, concrete contributed to thermal lag of the mass, and its contribution to internal space loads over the course of a day. Further to those positive impacts, concrete contributed to achieving Durable Building credit. The owner/design team incorporated a corrosion inhibitor within the parking structure to increase the longevity of the already durable concrete.

Building team member Canada Building Materials (CBM) began research and development and performed trials on concrete mixes the project would require. With LEED Gold status as the goal, it was imperative that recycled contents were maximized. This was going to be especially difficult, as much of the structure was being erected in winter conditions.

Through careful mix selection, constant communication, and excellent construction practices, the team was able to achieve a post-industrial recycled content of 49.55%. This high post-industrial percentage, coupled with other great results from LEED Divisions 2 through 10, qualified the project for an Innovation in Design credit. Significant contributions were also made through the use of regional bulk materials, including aggregates, cement, and slag. In total, not including the design stage, ready mixed concrete significantly contributed to five LEED credits.

One of the dual roles that supplementary cementing material played was controlling heat of hydration on a structural suspended slab that supported the condo above the theater. Elements of the slab were up to 1.5 meters thick.

The ready mix industry truly benefited from this demonstration of its green capabilities and alternate uses of its supplementary cementing material to meet construction requirements.

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