Taking the Performance Path with Energy Software
Alison Scott Bull, Vice President Sales - Canada
Are you ready to meet the new energy efficiency requirements that will be proposed by 2012 Code updates? In Ontario, the 2012 Code will require that all new houses reach EnerGuide 80 levels of energy efficiency. Other provinces will also implement code updates in an effort to produce higher performance housing.
Some provincial code updates, such as the 2012 Ontario Building Code, will offer numerous prescriptive paths for builders to select from, but there is also another effective path available. Builders can choose to meet the EnerGuide 80 requirement utilizing the Performance Path.
Choosing the Performance Path allows builders the freedom to select their desired R-value, windows, mechanicals and other components to achieve an EnerGuide 80 or higher on their homes.
New technologies and proven products can easily assist builders in obtaining these performance numbers, without having to implement excessive prescriptive options. By modeling their homes with energy software such as HOT2000 or REM Design, builders are given much more freedom to choose technologies or products that will ensure optimal performance in the homes they build.
Tighter building envelopes along with proper mechanical ventilation and smart choices with high-performance windows will go a long to achieving or exceeding an EnerGuide 80 rating.
Smart Homes: Technological Innovations Make Living Easier
Anita Griffin, Marketing Brand Manager
As an ongoing trend, meaningful integration of technology will continue to be a focus in home design. Homeowners are seeking out the latest innovations to enhance their daily activities at home, from centralized entertainment systems to smart grid enabled appliances to wireless network technology used in home security.
Ideally, technology should complement people’s lifestyles, not complicate them. Instead of flashy displays, think of simple smart innovations with intuitive design to enhance the end user experience with everyday objects such as faucets. Hands-free electronics typically found in public restrooms can now be experienced in the home bathroom; water flow in kitchen faucets can be activated with a simple tap of the finger or arm adding incredible efficiency and water saving possibilities.
With technological advances for products for the home like these, consumers can be eco-conscious without having to sacrificing comfort. In a recent Angus Reid survey, a surprising one in three Canadians admits to leaving the water running when brushing their teeth. By installing an innovative hands-free faucet in the bathroom, homeowners can effortlessly use a smart technology to help save water on a daily basis. We think that’s a trend worth watching.
Meridian Computer Corp.
Ian Broadfoot, owner
When I started working in construction, back in the 1970s, it all looked very simple: excavate and prepare the site, pour the footings and before long the client was moving in. I can remember the site superintendent or lead hand reminding me daily that part of my job was to write everything down in the “job book.” Every couple of days, I’d take all the paperwork to the office to be recorded again in the office systems of the day. Phone calls on pressing matters were made in the evening on landlines. Pagers were used to connect site personnel. The fax was revolutionary.
All that started to change with the introduction and evolution of the mobile phone. Today, every builder or renovator uses the smartphone as a telephone, a basic e-mail solution and text messaging. And more and more are also relying on some form of a tablet, where they can enter project notes, document client meetings, safety meetings, enter time cards and staff expenses, generate RFI’s (request for information) and RFQ’s (request for price), punchlists, review drawings, respond and view alerts and reminders of things to do and much more.
Sure, sometimes technology makes us feel all too accessible, but look on the bright side: at least we don’t have to go home to a mound of paperwork and a stack of faxes.
Value Added Technology
Mark Wallace, Senior Group Marketing Manager - Canada
Technology has brought about a world of innovative products, some of them fantastic, some of them frivolous. Recently, Rogers launched its new Smart Home Monitoring services, allowing you to automate and control everything from lighting levels, to security cameras, to small appliances; all from your computer or smartphone.
Are these initiatives frivolous or fantastic?
Let’s imagine that you’ve just retired upstairs to your bedroom when your wife asks if you’ve locked the doors.You needn’t pull on your robe and slippers to trundle downstairs and secure your home; you simply reach for your smart phone and, with a touch or two, your doors are locked and your home is secure. Imagine watching on camera from your workplace as you remotely unlock your front door to allow a courier to place a package inside your front door. These are just a couple of applications that move beyond gimmickry and add value to your lifestyle, and security to your home.
While innovative products are coming at us at a breakneck pace, we in the building industry must take the long view. It’s not enough that we are quick to adopt new technologies; it’s of paramount importance that we carefully weigh the real value in those innovations to enhance the Canadian lifestyle. When we do that, we create trends that benefit our industry today, and the homeowners of tomorrow.
Creative Clicks: Automation in Design
Dan Hoffmann, Vice President of Marketing
For interior designers, drawing out plans by hand or using a complex drawing solution can take time away from important tasks such as actual design development and meetings with clients. New technologies on the market now include considerably more automation, allowing designers at all technical levels to quickly and easily create and edit drawings on the fly.
Robust software allows a designer to start with a solid template and easily add items or alter them with just a few clicks. It also allows designers to plan out every room in the house, from a home office to a closet, so one unified solution can be used.
As with any tool, it is only worthwhile if it results in more efficiency. Automation in design software is only relevant if it is intelligent and does not require the user to correct too many issues or start a design over from scratch.
For 2012 and beyond, there will be a continued emphasis on automation in design. However, designers and clients should know that more automation does not mean less room for creativity; it simply provides a more streamlined and efficient approach to design drawing and planning.
Computer Dept. Ltd
Bruce Hone, CMA
Over my past 25 years of consulting to the construction industry we have seen an evolution in both software tools and information technologies. However, what has remained the same is the underlying purpose of these tools: to accurately capture data about the project in a timely manner and render it into key management information so that projects can be dealt with proactively. Today’s web-based solutions and mobile technologies bring this data capture and resulting management information right to the job site. At the same time these tools allow the entire team (you, your suppliers and your client) virtual access to the information that they require regardless of where they sit within the cloud.
Industry Leaders Speak 2011