MAPEI Corporation – January 2017 Feature
A small building has accomplished a monumental goal. The Bill Fisch Forest Stewardship and Education Centre (FSEC), located in the regional municipality of York, Ontario, was built to meet the Living Building Challenge.
The Living Building Challenge is an international sustainable building certification program created in 2006 by the non-profit International Living Future Institute (LFI). LFI describes the Living Building Challenge as “the built environment‘s most rigorous performance standard. It calls for the creation of building projects at all scales that operate as cleanly, beautifully and efficiently as nature‘s architecture. To be certified under the Challenge, projects must meet a series of ambitious performance requirements over a minimum of 12 months of continuous occupancy.”
The Living Building Challenge is comprised of seven performance areas, called ‘Petals.’ The petals are:
- Place – relationship to natural environment
- Water – respecting a natural resource
- Energy – renewable and pollution-free
- Health & Happiness – environments that optimize well-being
- Materials – non-toxic, ecologically restorative, transparent, and socially equitable construction
- Equity – supporting a just, equitable world
- Beauty – design that uplifts the human spirit
Petals are subdivided into a total of twenty Imperatives, each of which focuses on prescriptive or performance-based goals that contribute to the overarching goals of sustainability, equity and regeneration.
Dialog, the architecture and design firm selected to design the Bill Fisch FSEC recognized that “Many common building materials have some toxicity and none can be present in a Full Petal LBC building. As a result of extensive research, huge commitment and exceptional collaboration from the entire team to meet the LBC criteria, the new centre not only looks beautiful, but feels healthier.”
To meet the Materials Petal requirements, Dialog and the regional municipality of York asked for sustainability and transparency in the products that were used to construct the building. According to one
of the engineers on the projects, “…one of the biggest challenges of the project was working with the ‘Red List,’ trying to get particular information from suppliers about the materials’ ingredients and find alternatives to the materials/products that were not permitted under LBC guidelines.”
MAPEI was able to provide Health Product Declarations (HPDs) and/or Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for each of its products that were selected for use in the centre.
MAPEI products at work on the jobsite
MAPEI’s Technical Services Department has been proactive in developing HPDs and EPDs for its flooring installation products and surface preparation materials. Rigorous testing and results analysis have produced reliable results that MAPEI has been able to publish along with its Technical Data Sheets on the MAPEI web site.
For the Bill Fisch FSEC project, MAPEI products were used in a number of areas:
As part of the surface preparation before the installation of tiles in the bathroom areas, Mapelastic, an all-climate, flexible, cementitious membrane was used for waterproofing. The membrane waterproofs and protects concrete and masonry. Mapelastic can also be used for applications on new concrete structures with hairline cracks, as well as any cementitious surface that may be subject to vibrations and subsequent cracking.
MAPEI Ultralite Mortar was then used to install 12” x 24” custom concrete tiles on the walls in the bathrooms. The tiles were manufactured locally by Mondo Pietra Ltd. of Whitchurch-Stouffville, ON. In addition to its HPD pedigree and certification by the Tile Council of North America’s Green Squared program, Ultralite has many qualities that recommend it for use by installers. These include its light-weight technology, excellent vertical application with large-format tiles, and a creamy consistency that promotes ease of use.
Ultracolor Plus grout was used to fill the joints between the concrete tiles. Ultracolor Plus with DropEffect™ technology is a fast-setting, color-consistent, grout that eliminates the efflorescence often seen in Portland cement grouts. DropEffect technology reduces surface absorption to help repel water, dirt and grime from penetrating grout joints. Ultracolor Plus demonstrated that it met the environmental requirements of the designers, and its ease of use was a real benefit to the installers.
In order to accommodate the floor-to-ceiling windows in the center, the contractor poured the floor with a slight depressed area where the windows were installed. This necessarily created a trough between the window area and the rest of the floor. The contractor needed a product to infill that area, and he wanted something that had the look of natural concrete to flow with the rest of the area. MAPEI’s Ultratop was the solution. Plainbond EBA was used as the bonding agent between the concrete and the
Ultratop. Planiseal HG, solvent-free, moisture-tolerant, 100%-solids, clear, high-gloss epoxy sealer was used over the Ultratop. All three products met the environmental requirements for the Living Building Challenge.
The regional municipality of York has made great strides in restoring the York Regional Forest, and the construction of the Bill Fisch FSEC adds that exemplary environmental effort. The building shows the world how construction should be for the future, and MAPEI is proud to have had a part in the project.