RRC awarded $1.75-million grant to establish new Centre for Building Envelope Performance

DSC00391Red River College has been awarded $1.75 million over five years from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), to establish the Centre for Building Envelope Performance (CBEP) at the Notre Dame Campus.

Lawrence Toet, MP for Elmwood-Transcona (shown above, at centre), was on campus yesterday to announce the new funding, which comes in the form of a Technology Access Centres Grant under NSERC's under College and Community Innovation (CCI) program.

Work on the CBEP will see RRC partnering with the local construction industry to conduct applied research, provide specialized education and training, and support innovation in building envelope design and construction.

"Colleges play a key role in supporting innovation and business, and RRC has been a leader in applied research for more than 10 years," says Interim RRC President David Rew (above, second from right).

"This grant will help enhance our ability to serve Manitoba's construction sector with advanced graduates and professional training, as well as foster innovation in a critical component of building design and construction."

The CBEP is expected to significantly increase access to the College’s facilities, equipment and expertise for Manitoba’s building industry, especially small- and medium-sized enterprises whose products and services directly impact a building’s envelope.

The envelope can significantly impact a building’s overall construction and maintenance costs, durability, appearance, occupant comfort and health, and energy performance.

Increased building complexity, new standards and code requirements, and increased pressure to reduce energy use are just a few of the challenges faced by Manitoba’s construction sector.

“Our partners are absolutely thrilled with the news,” says RRC senior research manager Rob Spewak, who'll take on management of the new Centre. “The industry is facing a seemingly perfect storm of challenges, and it consists almost entirely of small businesses which generally lack comprehensive resources to do research, testing, and training in-house.”

The CBEP will be operated under RRC’s School of Construction and Engineering Technologies, and will leverage the Centre for Applied Research in Sustainable Infrastructure (CARSI), as well as a previous $2.3-million, five-year grant to conduct applied research on improving the energy performance of commercial buildings.

RRC is now the only college in Canada to operate two NSERC-funded technology access centres, the first of which is the Technology Access Centre for Aerospace and Manufacturing, which was established in 2012 and has yielded many benefits to the aerospace industry.

“With the addition of this second technology access centre, RRC is able to better meet the innovation, specialized service, and training needs of both the manufacturing and construction sectors – serving 17 per cent of Manitoba’s GDP,” said Ray Hoemsen, director of Applied Research & Commercialization at the College.

Learn more about the CBEP.

Shown above, from left: Rick Marshall, Design Manager, Bird Construction; David Stones, TAC Advisory Chair; Lawrence Toet, MP for Elmwood-Transcona; David Rew, Interim RRC President; Peter Van Loan, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons.