We spent a bit of time in the wizard’s lair known as CARSI (Centre for Applied Research in Sustainable Infrastructure) on the campus of Red River Community College toiling and tinkering with the glazing system that envelopes the Glasshouse Skylofts. The quest was to see how the system holds up to Winnipeg’s intense seasonal challenges and identify any possible areas of improvement in both the product itself and the installation methods.
Sitting within a wall that separates two environmental control chambers, a mockup of the glazing and floor assemblies underwent a series of simulations on indoor/outdoor temperature differentials, pressure differentials to simulate the impact of wind, and humidity differentials between the indoors and outdoor environments that are separated by our glazed envelope. The wizard of CARSI would use a smoke pencil to trace around each window edge in order to trace the air movement around the frames, and numerous temperature sensors were placed on the glazing, the floor assembly (to track if there was any cooling of the floor slab under simulated winter conditions) and the wall surface adjacent to the exterior glazing assembly. There was no chance that any problems would go unidentified.
In the end, the report told us that the building envelope should perform very well under Winnipeg’s very specific environmental conditions, and also provided direction on installation techniques to ensure the best possible performance. This information has been provided to the design team and trades to ensure that what we’ve learned in school gets applied on site. Smart!