Environment is always in our mind
The entire life cycle of the open joist TRIFORCE® is considered, starting with design, then raw material and natural resources use, right through to end use and disposal.
A green industrial building
The open joist TRIFORCE® is manufactured in the largest industrial building using glue-laminated timber in eastern Canada.
Our new facility is not only the largest industrial building constructed using recovered glue-laminated timber in eastern Canada, it is also a spectacular example of the implementation of a number of principles of sustainable development and environmental protection.
1. Wood, a green choice
Wood is a good ecological choice if one wants to improve the environmental performance of a building, since it can significantly reduce its energy consumption, use of resources, pollution and its ecological footprint in general.
2. Glue-laminated timber
The columns and trusses in wood are made up of small pieces of wood jointed and glued. The manufacturing process is unique, because the wood comes from the unused portion (the head) of black spruce from mature Quebec forests. This process uses four times less energy than that of concrete and 60 times less than that of steel.
Use of the unused portion of the tree leads to reduced greenhouse gas emissions (GHG): if it was to break down, this unused wood would release part of the CO2 that the tree has stored while, if it is transformed, the captive CO2 remains inside the trusses.
This building now stores 925 tons of GHG, equivalent to the annual production of 185 Canadians.
3. Solar walls
In order to maintain optimal air quality in the facility, the air is changed several times each day. Since air is brought in from outside, during colder periods it must be heated prior to being circulated and this requires a lot of energy.
The solar walls are perforated with thousands of holes allowing air heated by the sun to pass through the darkened wall. The air heated in this way is then picked up and circulated by the ventilators. Depending on the season and the amount of sunshine, the air temperature rises several degrees, representing a considerable energy saving.
4. Protection of water resources
An annual check-up examining a number of the physical-chemical parameters of underground water is carried out at seven wells on the company’s grounds in order to evaluate the quality of water circulating in the water table in a precise fashion. All activities likely to have an impact on the quality of ground water in well No. 13 have been located outside the recharge area for the wells, further helping to promote protection of water quality. Seven probes keeping continuous watch on water quality have been installed around the grounds. They are linked by radio waves to a data treatment system that will immediately alert the appropriate personnel in case of any unusual variations in water quality.
With a view to always protecting the environment, we have chosen to implement a water collection and treatment system for the truck parking area, to handle water tainted by hydrocarbons. Few companies have gone this far in protecting the environment in Quebec.
5. Energetic efficiency and insulation
The 440 prefabricated panels making up the outside wall are finished identically on both sides and equipped with Type 1 foam insulation with a high insulating factor (R21).
These panels have been installed on all outer wall surfaces up to six inches (150 mm) from the ground, so as to cover the entire concrete wall. This method of insulating significantly increases the building’s energetic performance.
6. Protecting biodiversity
The Trois-Rivières region is a zone in which residential and industrial construction may have an impact on biodiversity and the local flora. Therefore, in order to guarantee that the biodiversity is not affected by the construction of the new facility, a floristic study was carried out on the land in question.
Two possibly endangered vegetable species were identified, Greene’s rush and the Flax-leaf Ankle-Aster. Although these plant species have no particular status, they are likely to be designated as threatened or vulnerable by the government of Quebec. We have therefore undertaken special precautions to ensure that the impact on these species is reduced.
In addition, prior to construction of the new facility, the tree flora was made up in large part of Jack pine mixed with major forest species like Oak, eastern white pine and maple. A selection of the most vigorous plants was made in order to allow their transplantation onto the company site. Some 100 trees were planted on the site, thereby preserving these majestic trees.
Optimization of use of raw materials
All residual material generated by the production of the open joist TRIFORCE® is fully recovered and used. To this end, we have installed a storage depot for wood substances which will then be transformed into by-products. Not frequently found in the industry, the use of such a storage depot is a major advance in the protection of the environment.
This optimization program for raw materials also includes the recovery of joists with slight imperfections. As they have an adjustable section, it is now no longer necessary to devalue them as mere by-products. We now adjusts the faulty part so that the joist can pass the verification tests. In 2009 and 2010, 3,160.75 tonnes of wood were recycled thanks to this program. The facility has therefore considerably reduced its raw material losses and now has a loss rate of 3%.
Over and above these measures aimed at reclaiming wood, we are constantly aware of the need to reduce its ecological footprint, and is concerned to do this right throughout the joist manufacturing process. That is why in 2010, the company reclaimed 14 tons of plastic bales. Lastly, We have been able to reduce its overall production of residual materials destined for landfills (in proportion to the volume of wood used) by 50% between 2009 and 2010.
The use of 1 m3 of wood allows 0.9 tonnes of CO2 to be removed from the atmosphere.
The use of wood in construction contributes greatly to the fight against climate change, since it has the capacity to trap the carbon present in the atmosphere, via photosynthesis. In addition, wood is an excellent substitute for other far more polluting products such as concrete and steel.
The carbon cycle works as follows: trees absorb CO2 from the atmosphere as they grow, confining carbon (C) in the wood and liberating oxygen (O2) into the air. The carbon remains trapped in the wood even after the tree has been harvested or transformed into various products. This capacity to trap carbon then balances the carbon level present in the atmosphere.
By cutting older trees, companies help keep the forest young and healthy, while trapping the carbon content in buildings. It is in this perspective that it is now possible to say that it is better to harvest a forest before it becomes too old.
Elimination of toxic materials
The elimination process for the glue used to assemble the joists is safe for the environment and presents no health risk for workers. Liquid glue residues are first of all evaporated in a controlled environment, in order to transform them into dry residues. The phenol in a solid state is put into barrels and eliminated off-site by a specialized firm. Thanks to new, more efficient technology, We have not only prevented toxic materials from ending up in our environment, but has also managed to reduce glue runoff by 13%.