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Michael Faustini

Project Director, Pomerleau

Canadian construction industry leader Pomerleau is working in a committed, collaborative, and sustainable way to build the living environments of tomorrow.

What do the circular economy and the Passive House Building Certification have in common? Well, for one, both concepts are heavily ingrained in environmental practices, especially on construction sites. But what’s more, both the circular economy and the Passive House Building Certification lead the transition to the creation of thriving, environmentally responsible communities.

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Pomerleau, one of Canada’s largest construction companies, is on a mission to integrate environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practices into its work. In June, the company released its first integrated report. The report is a combination of the company’s Activity report and its ESG report. Last year, the general contractor outlined its ESG commitments through its platform Perspective. Pomerleau is now demonstrating how its objectives are being achieved.

Several of Pomerleau’s projects are actively contributing to the realization of sustainably conscious communities, including two up-and-coming residences in two of Canada’s major cities

The Student Residence at U of T Scarborough

The University of Toronto’s Scarborough campus just got a bit greener. Pomerleau managed the design and construction of Harmony Commons — one of the most energy-efficient student residence buildings in Canada, which provides an environment tailored to the needs of 746 students.

The Passive House standard is considered one of the most rigorous voluntary energy-based standards in the industry today. Buildings that comply use significantly less heating and cooling energy than their conventional counterparts. The Harmony Commons residence features many low-energy design elements, including high-efficiency insulation and windows, as well as building systems that dramatically reduce energy consumption by 40 to 60 per cent compared to conventional buildings.

In close collaboration with the University of Toronto Scarborough, Pomerleau developed value-engineering solutions to remedy obstacles on-site and improve working methods. Innovative technologies were used to reach goals and track progress, including the use of building information modelling collaboration tools to optimize coordination, avoid rework during construction, and reduce waste.

A conscious and balanced space

Harmony Commons will provide a community-oriented living environment for first-year students that balances academic, social, and sustainable living habits. With its nine floors and 746 rooms, the residence will be at the centre of a vibrant campus life.

“There are so many interesting elements to this building. The mechanical system is designed to recuperate heat and energy. We have a pit in the basement that captures all the hot water from the showers and uses it as a heat source, and the heat from the commercial kitchen in the cafeteria is also captured and reused. The construction of the building envelope had to be so perfect and detail-oriented that an on-site mock-up was built to ensure the process was clear to all parties prior to final installation,” says project director Michael Faustini.

The construction of the building envelope had to be so perfect and detailoriented that an on-site mock-up was built to ensure the process was clear to all parties prior to final installation.

Introducing the Haleco project

Circular economy concepts have heavily influenced Pomerleau’s Haleco project, which is situated in the heart of Old Montreal. The Haleco is not your regular residential building. When completed, the tower will have a public market, an urban farm, an orchard, a lab for making and repairing goods, and spaces for citizen initiatives. With 22 storeys, 327 rental units, 40 community housing units, offices, and commercial spaces, the building is set to revolutionize city living.

As the general contractor on the project, Pomerleau, alongside its partners COGIR Real Estate and Ivanhoé Cambridge, is playing a role in the design and construction of Haleco. To follow the principles of the circular economy and promote environmental integrity on-site, Pomerleau worked with two partners to give materials a new life. Following the deconstruction of buildings on the site, several components, including faucets, hardware, and doors, were given to Architecture sans frontières Quebec, an organization that helps communities around the world affected by natural disasters and social inequalities, and Habitat for Humanity Quebec, an organization that helps families in Quebec with modest incomes who live in precarious housing conditions. Pomerleau also collaborated with arborists and the Centre de valorisation du bois urbain, a social economy enterprise, to ensure the transformation of trees that had been cut into hardwood flooring.

Leading the change

To elevate the level of expertise across all its sites, Pomerleau hired an employee who specializes in the circular economy and who’s developing and implementing initiatives that brings the company closer to its ESG goals. Working closely with Pomerleau’s internal teams and suppliers, the expert develops opportunities to divert materials through the reduction, reuse, recycling, and recovery of residual materials.

The construction industry has a large role to play in the transition toward a netzero world, and things are changing for the better. The investment in sustainable projects and certifications is leading the change, and Pomerleau is at the forefront of the creation of more responsible cities.

To learn more about how Pomerleau is shaping the future, visit pomerleau.ca

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