Final Report:

Roofing and Insulation Recommendations

ERS 285

Sam Brinker, Kelly Loverock, Rebecca Earl, Tuesday Winfield, Kevin Davies and Samantha Lawson





















Table of Contents

1.0 Executive Summary *

2.0 Introduction 5

3.0 Background *

3.1 Actor System 8

4.0 Needs Assesment 9

5.0 Research Question/Problem *

6.0 Goals and Objectives 10

7.0 Research Methods *

7.1 Project Design *

7.2 Green Building Materials 13

7.3 Assesment Criteria 14

7.31 Availability 14

7.32 Feasibility/Cost *

7.33 Health/Social Impacts 15

7.34 Environmental Impacts *

7.35 Building Codes & Standards *

8.0 Anticipated Outcomes *

8.1 Limitations 19

9.0 Project Evaluation *

Figure 1: Building Materials Matrices 20a

9.1 Insulation *

9. 11 Cellulose *

9.12 Air Krete *

9.13 Autocleaved Cellular Concrete *

9.2 Roofing *

9.21 Steven EP 26

9.22 Reflective Covering (Steel/Vinyl) 29

9.23 Vegetated Roof 30

10.0 Validity and Reliability of Research Outcomes 31

11.0 Recommendations 32

12.0 References 34

Appendix A: Systems Diagram *

Appendix B: Draft Introduction Letter *

Appendix C: Draft Interview Questions *

Appendix D: Work Schedule *





























  1. Executive Summary

The growth of the Architecture Program at the University of Waterloo has created the need for a new building to accommodate the faculty and students, provide sufficient space for the necessary equipment and resources and to meet modern health standards. The university has decided to request a 'green' building. The use of ‘green’ materials in the construction of the building will ensure that the university not only improves the quality of the building, but also that faculty and student health is safe protected at the university.

This study will focus on two major areas of 'green' building materials to determine which material will be the most realistic and 'green' to be used in the construction of the building. The first area is 'green' roofing, in which we looked at three leading products; Steel roofing, Ethylene Propylene (EP) roofing tiles and Vegetated roof coverings. The second area that we have selected to study was insulation and we will be looking at three leading products; Air Krete, Autoclaved Aerated Blocks and Cellulose. In order to determine the best 'green' roofing and insulation product we have reviewed a number of case studies, conducted a comprehensive literature review and conducted an in-depth interviews with experts in this field. Finally, we will evaluate the products against five criteria. The criteria were; availability, feasibility, health impacts, environmental impacts and building codes.

By using the method of triangulation to collect our data, we were able to determine which building materials were the best. By setting the different 'green' building material against the criteria developed for the project we were able to determine the best products for roofing and insulation materials.

Through the analysis of the roofing products we found that Steel roofing had a low albedo, therefore meaning that it absorbed a lot of heat. Another, significant factor that deterred us from recommending this roofing product was that the product suffered severe weathering after just a few years. The second roofing product that we analysis was Vegetated roof coverings. This product proved to be unrealistic to be used for the University building. The main reason that our group decided this was because the product was extremely expensive and required a lot of upkeep and maintenance. As a group, we decided that the best type of 'green' roofing available would be EP roof tiles. This product met all the criteria that we used to analysis it with. EP tiles are available in Canada and supplied in Kitchener/Waterloo by Stybeck Roofing. The EP roofing tiles is very durable and only $3/sf. It was also very important to note that this product does not release any chemicals when under stress into the environment that could be harmful to the environment itself and the university population. The value of this product has been noted across the country with companies such as Canadian Tire and Coca Cola Canada. With this information we strongly recommend that this product be used in the construction of the new Architecture building.

Through the analysis of the insulation products we found that Air Krete insulation was very expensive and not available yet in Canada. Our second product tested, Autocleaved Cellular Concrete also has very limited availability. The product that we found that met the criteria the best was Cellulose insulation. This product is available in the Kitchener/Waterloo area by a company called Reitzel Insulation Co. Ltd. The cost for standard Cellulose insulation is .46 cents per square foot. Cellulose insulation with a higher R-value is .56 cents per square foot. The fire retardant that is added to this product are often borates and sulphates which are generally non-toxic (Insulation Types/ Newspaper to Cellulose Insulation, 1998). This product has an increase in fire resistance by 22%-55% compared to normal insulation (National Research Council of Canada, 2000). The materials that are used to develop this insulation are 75% recycled materials, therefore it is considered a non-carcinogenic. Because this product is made mainly of recycled products, it reduces the waste that is streamed to landfill in local areas. Another benefit to this product is that it has low embodied energy. It is 20-40 times less energy intensive than mineral fiber insulation (Insulation Materials: Environmental Comparison, 1996). As a result of our intensive research on the topic of insulation, we strongly recommend that this product, Cellulose is used in the construction of new Architecture building.

Our finally recommendation is that other projects develop more on this topic. There are many more types of 'green' building materials to be analysised that could possible be better than what we have suggested.

2.0 Introduction

The planning of a new architecture building provides an opportunity for WATgreen to evaluate and improve upon various aspects of this development. The WATgreen committee was formed in the fall of 1995 with representatives from each faculty, although the idea for the committee had initially been developed in 1990 (University of Waterloo, 1999). The committee was established to assist the campus community to become more environmentally efficient and aware. This was achieved by implementing the "Greening the Campus" courses. In these courses students study topics that focus on issues of concern that impact on the University's environment. Our group has chosen to address the issue of green building materials for the architecture building. Our goal is to compile a comprehensive and thorough list of recommendations for green building materials. This list is intended to aid our clients in the process of selecting feasible and environmentally sensitive materials for the building. Our project is being undertaken on behalf of the WATgreen committee, Patti Cook and various individuals associated with the design and construction of this building. As well, we recognize that students, faculty, administration, the University of Waterloo as a whole and the greater Kitchener/Waterloo community stand to benefit from the establishment of a building composed of green materials.

In order to accomplish our various goals and objectives we composed a research question to help guide us through our research and provide us with a clear focus (Palys 56). As Ted Palys' notes in Research Decisions: Quantitative and Qualitative Perspectives, it is essential that research questions and objectives come first: none of the subsequent decisions you make will be optimal unless you have a clear sense of what you are trying to accomplish (Palys 162). Our group has satisfied this integral element of the research process and has identified the problem; then we proceeded to articulate a relevant research question. Our research question is, what are the most appropriate green building materials that can be utilized in the construction of the proposed architecture building, in particular insulation and roofing materials? Our research question is what subsequently fueled our research, and our methods also followed logically from our question. As Palys' points out, a fatal error in undergraduate research is often a weak link between theory and data (Palys 47). While our methods are not entirely faultless, we do recognize and attempt to connect our theory with our research, methods and collected data.

3.0 Background

The School of Architecture in the University of Waterloo is projected to grow 25% (12-15 people) in the next year (Haldenby, 2000). The school is already under serious duress; inadequate facilities, ventilation, and space are problems that students and faculty members contend with. There is a need for a new building; one that incorporates ‘green,’ sustainable building design and that fosters an interactive, open atmosphere throughout the University community and the external community of Kitchener-Waterloo.

A new building is projected to cost approximately $20 million ($200/sq.ft, total building size 80,000sq.ft. plus maintenance costs of $4 million), none of which will be supplied by the University of Waterloo or the provincial government (Haldenby, 2000). The only source of sponsorship may come from interest generated in the outside community. The buildings placement is an important consideration and there are two locations under consideration: the grassy knoll between South Campus Hall and the Arts Lecture Hall, or a separate location in Cambridge, Ontario (Haldenby, 2000). If the latter alternative is selected, old downtown core buildings will be refurbished and consequently, no new building will be constructed.

Little research has been conducted in the past concerning green building materials. One previous WATgreen study was conducted in 1991. As a result, a committee for Green Campus Buildings was formed and a set of recommendations for incorporating alternative technologies was established. A number of the suggestions have been incorporated into construction and repairs throughout the campus. Examples of the recommendations include low flow toilets and showerheads and use of daylight features as seen in the Student Life Center and the Davis Center (Dubnaow et al., 1991).

On the University of Waterloo campus, an opportunity to set a precedent presents itself in building design. While the existing buildings on campus have been streamlined to maximize energy efficiency, a completely ‘green’ educational building would be the first of its kind in Canada (Cook, 1999).

The University of Waterloo has an international reputation for being a leader in creative and innovative thinking. "As centers for research, teaching and policy development, colleges and universities possess vast resources and influence,…their economic power, through the produccts they buy, the investments they make, and the companies they do business with, can create and sustain major markets for environmentally friendly products and technologies," (Smith, 1993, pg. Xii). As a leading post-secondary institution, the University of Waterloo has an international commitment and obligation to extend environmental initiatives. The University of Waterloo can promote these ideals by providing state of the art training in issues related to natural resource conservation and by building structures that are a showcase of sustainability.

3.1 Actor System

The construction of the architecture building involves many key stakeholders within the University of Waterloo community. This group includes the University of Waterloo administration, Environmental Studies faculty and the Architecture school. In addition, funds for building materials will hopefully be provided by the greater Kitchener-Waterloo area, making this group a considerable link in the decision making process to follow. Two systems diagrams are included to illustrate the various information, capital and material flows that will take place between these individuals and other actors, as well as how they relate to sustainability. Please refer to Appendix A.

4.0 Needs Assessment

A sustainable architecture building must function efficiently within the campus environment. The building itself would ideally be comprised of durable, non-toxic, and environmentally sensitive materials that have been reused or recycled where implementation of such material is feasible. This ideal may be achieved through a decision-making process whereby we provide a comprehensive list of recommendations for green building materials.

Decisions concerning development at the University of Waterloo have traditionally been made with insufficient regard for sustainability and environmentally sensitive or sustainable materials. The primary objective of many developers and associated decision-makers has often been to obtain the greatest amount of material at the lowest available cost. The political bias in this process is that economic factors tend to override environmental considerations. While traditional developments have certainly not created unappealing buildings, there exists room for improvement. Consideration of green building materials in the development process will yield a more holistic approach that will not display this political bias. Inclusion of green building materials in the pending architecture building will lessen the detrimental impact on the environment and at the same time create a more hospitable working and social environment. Such an environment adheres to general ethical and legal standards set by the university. As is stated in the University’s Master Plan, its intention is to "articulate new goals for the campus – particularly in the area of environmental stewardship" (Lewinberg Greenberg Ltd. et al, 1991).

5.0 Research Question/Problem

Our group project is aimed at discovering what are the most realistic, efficient and cost effective green building materials available and which ones could be used in the construction of the University of Waterloo's new Architecture building. Just as many decisions made by University representatives have had political overtones, and focused to a great extent on the economic concerns, our approach is similarly not devoid of bias. We have, however, acknowledged our bias toward more environmentally sustainable materials and development. We do not feel this bias is a large hindrance in regards to our research and it is important to recognize that any research study is going to have both limitations and bias. Science is not as value-independent as was once thought, but the real threat to conducting a high quality study is failing to recognize bias and barriers (Palys 6).

6.0 Goals and Objectives

The objective of this project is to create a comprehensive list of green building material options that best fit the criteria of availability, feasibility/cost, health impacts, environmental impacts and building codes and standards. We fully understand that, "[t]he busy professional has no time to research the origins and composition of the many materials in use in the building process," (Fox and Murrell, 1989, pg.5). Completion of this project will provide our client with a choice in which building material may best suit the University of Waterloo.

The ultimate goal for this project team is to see any number of our recommendations be utilized in the construction of a new architecture building. If the recommendations should be ignored at this time, it is hoped that our client requests a more extensive evaluation of a particular building material be conducted to ensure its overall feasibility for use by the University of Waterloo. Time constraints experienced during this project foresee this latter request to be probable.

7.0 Research Methods

As a group we have decided to collect our research using three different methods. These methods involve a review of three case studies, seven key-actor interviews and an extensive literature review using printed and electronic sources. These research tools are indicative of a qualitative approach to research. In order to accurately categorize the type of research conducted we referred to Research Decisions, which revealed our approach to be primarily qualitative (Palys 144). This approach is one in which research methods are characterized by an inductive perspective, where one begins with observation and allows grounded theory to emerge (Palys 22). Such an approach also tends to be cautious about numbers or a quantitative approach. Despite our hesitancy towards our inclusion of mathematical data, some quantitative data is also encompassed within our report. We felt that the stakeholders with an interest in our research would benefit from some numerical analysis of the proposed products. As Sarah Hammond Creighton accurately states, "In order to invest capital, most university decision-makers will need data about costs and savings" (Koester 78). Accordingly, we have listed the general prices of the various materials we examined. Exploratory research is also an element of both the qualitative and inductive approach. For inductivists, "exploratory research is an integral and focal part of the research process" (Palys 78). For instance, our choice of key informants were influenced by our exploratory approach. As noted in Research Decisions, this approach favours a more strategic sampling of insightful informants – the ideal informant is someone who is very familiar with the situation (Palys 79). Although we had a clear focus in regards to our research, largely due to the aid of the text, it was also important that we remain open to various perspectives as "Flexibility and breadth of coverage are both paramount" (Palys 79). We attempted to adhere to this principle and believe our research methods were effective and accurate.

7.1 Project Design

A thorough assessment of materials used has been be conducted using the above research tools. We have selected the following areas of emphasis: insulation, and roofing. With regards to data collection, three methods have been chosen to gather information. First, three case studies are examined in order to gain background information and context. This method will further our understanding of common issues. Also, it will allow us to judge what aspects determined the relative success of these studies. This understanding will help us shape our study and will add to its effectiveness. We recognize that the qualitative approach we have taken typically involves beginning with case studies in an attempt to understand each situation on its own terms (Palys 19). These studies include Green on the Grand located in Kitchener-Waterloo, The Environmental Learning Center at Paradise Lake and the Institute for Asian Studies and the University of British Columbia.

Interviews were held with experts in the field of building materials. Seven individuals were identified as valuable sources of information on internal and external building materials. Designer of the Environmental Learning Center at Paradise Lake, David Churchill; designer of Green on the Grand in Kitchener-Waterloo, John Kokko; Department of Architecture professor, Terry Boake; Geography Department professor, Paul Parker; Conestoga College professor, Jim McCabe; City of Waterloo Building Department member, Mike McKeen and ROOFmeadow CEO, Charlie Miller was interviewed separately. The majority of interviews were conducted face-to face, and this interaction between interviewer and respondent offered benefits that enhances the quality of data gathered (Palys 145). The introductory letter and a draft of the questions used in the interviews can be located in Appendix B and C. In regards to the questions asked, our group attempted to use a method referred to as funneling. This method combines open-ended questions with more structured questions and facilitates a more effective interview process (Palys 414).

We have conducted a number of literature reviews in order to analyze and collect more data on building materials and the inputs and outputs of our system. Using exploratory research and qualitative data gathering methods we did strive for results that are accurate. The method of triangulation was also incorporated. This proved to us whether our data is trustworthy or not – if three distinct methods pointed to one answer, the data has credibility. In addition, a strict schedule of project work was followed due to time constraints. A work outline is included in Appendix E to illustrate the division of work according to time.

7.2 Green Building Materials

When defining what makes a product green, there are various aspects to consider. Essentially, the ‘greenness’ of a product can be categorized in three ways.

      1. Products that are made from environmentally attractive materials;
      2. Products that are green because of what isn’t there;
      3. Products that reduce environmental impacts during construction, renovation, or demolition (Environmental Building News, January 2000).

The roofing and insulation materials that have been selected incorporate components of all three categories.

  1. Assessment Criteria

To enable the group members to appropriately evaluate the two major areas of green building material that are of concern to the University of Waterloo (green roofing and insulation), we have identified five categories that will be used to complete this evaluation. Concerns of cost, quality and performance guarantees have become the main focus of building construction (Fox and Murrell, 1989). The criteria we have chosen incorporates a wider range of interests including social, political and environmental factors. Each of the six products were analyzed against five categories and assigned a rating on its overall performance. The products that have the highest values were the ones recommended to the client for roofing and insulation. In reference to our research question, the term appropriate was used; essentially the fulfillment of the following criteria constitute appropriate materials.

‘Green’ materials used for the roofing and exterior insulating components of the new architecture building were assessed according to the following criteria.

7.31 Availability

The availability of a product was assessed on four criteria.

      1. Whether the material(s) are manufactured locally;
      2. Whether the technology is experimental or ‘off the shelf’;
      3. Length of time the product has been on the market (proven self-worth);
      4. Existence of a local company with knowledge of installation and maintenance.

7.32 Feasibility/Cost

The cost of the roofing and insulation materials was assessed on four criteria.

      1. The material costs must fall within the allocated budget (when such a budget exists);
  1. The materials must be such that maintenance and operation costs are kept at a minimum
  1. The performance of the product must be cost-effective and accepted as a viable alternative in the construction industry;
  1. Building materials must be in keeping with the specific design objectives (4) of the roofing and insulation components (reduced energy consumption, human occupancy comfort, reduced operating costs and reduced emissions of pollutants).

7.33 Health/Social Impacts

Relevant health and social impacts were assessed on the following five criteria.

      1. Toxic materials contained within the roofing and insulation materials should be eliminated or at the lowest concentrations possible;
      2. Materials must not be vulnerable to fungal or bacterial growth which could aggravate any allergies or cause any sicknesses for the inhabitants of the buildings;
      3. Materials must be fire retardant and fall within acceptable safety standards;
      4. Optimal human occupancy comfort (with regards to ventilation, heating and cooling, temperature ranges) was a factor ;
      5. The appearance of any exterior or discernible materials should appeal to the eye (where applicable) to provide an atmosphere conducive to education and learning.

7.34 Environmental Impacts

There are seven criteria to consider when addressing environmental impacts. This component largely determines the ‘greenness’ of a product.

      1. Building materials selected must promote energy conservation and condensation reduction;
      2. Materials must reduce emission of pollutants;
      3. The amount of embodied energy in the building materials must be kept to a minimum;
      4. Waste by-products of the materials (during manufacturing – end use) should be minimal and the material should be easily recycled or reused;
      5. Building materials should be resistant to UV Radiation;
      6. Building materials should be resistant to fungal and bacterial growth;
      7. Roofing and insulation materials must be sustainable (i.e. the materials are produced sustainably, exacting minimal environmental damage).
  1. Building Codes & Standards

There are several standards imposed by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) that the roofing and insulation materials must meet.

      1. Temperature limits; materials must be able to endure a set temperature range (typically -75 C - 815 C);
      2. Thermal conductance "C": the amount of heat transfer between two materials (expressed in BTU) that is transmitted in one hour through one square foot of material;
      3. Thermal conductivity "K": the amount of heat expressed in BTUs transmitted in one hour through one square foot of a homogeneous material 25mm thick;
      4. Emissivity "E": this standard is significant for materials when surface temperature must be regulated for;
      5. Thermal Resistance "R": the overall (roof, wall and floor) resistance of the system to the flow of heat;
      6. Thermal Transmittance "U": the overall conductance of heat flow through the system (Thermal Insulation Association of Canada, 1992, MP-2,3);
      7. Performance Requirements: flame spread permanency, moisture absorption, fungal resistance (National Research Council Canada, 1999).

8.0 Anticipated Outcomes

In an age of advancing technology, one realm that has evaded development is building construction. Traditional building processes including fabrication and energy exhaust large amounts of energy. The information compiled in this project will begin to supply future builders with a database of "green" techniques and practices. Contractors will be able to erect efficient structures that utilize renewable products and that do not deplete the planet's irreplaceable natural capital. We hope to introduce guidelines for building retrofits and new construction – ensuring efficiency on campus and slowly transforming the University of Waterloo into a showcase for sustainable development. If nothing else, the project will establish a "jump off" point; a place from which future researchers may begin their research and continue the quest for a sustainable civilization. Moreover, assuming the University does become a showcase for "Sustainable Building Technologies", and sustainable development in general, many communities are poised to benefit.

Improvements in building efficiencies will free up funds once allocated to heating/cooling and will also decrease the strain put on student tuition. Furthermore, as Waterloo's lore spreads new students and support will begin to approach the school and the increased aid will continue to benefit the University of Waterloo. On a larger scale, this project's information (coupled with future research) is directly related to sustainability in general. The knowledge will be useful for all structures, and will add to the sustainability and capability of future generations.

However, it should be noted that this project is not the seal to an extensive and exhaustive body of work. It is the group's first research project, and so, all understanding and acceptance should be extended. A completely comprehensive study would call for substantial time, funding and resources; none of which was available to the group. This is not the end of a pilgrimage, it is the initial step in a long journey; it’s progress, and it’s steering humanity (and research) in the right direction.

8.1 Limitations

There are some very obvious limitations with this project. The first limitation was that this is the first study of this complexity that has been completed by the members of the group. Our inexperience likely effected the data collection process and resulted in a less precise interpretation of the data collected.

A second major limitation of this study was the duration of the project. The need to complete the research within a very limited amount of time (four months) imposed a number of significant restrictions. These restrictions included a time limit on extensive literature review, limitations on the comprehensive interviewing of all of those who are involved in the processes resulting from this project and restrictions on the time spent in analyzing the results of the project.

The final limitation was the budget provided for the project. Limited to the amount that the students were able to contribute, the group had scant funds from which to draw. This most likely did not hinder this project – but should always be considered as a possible detriment.

9.0 Project Evaluation

Investigation has determined the three top building materials for both roofing and insulation. Many products offered wonderful benefits in a particular area – however, it was the entire package that was investigated in this report. The result was a good overall product that appealed to all aspects of the criteria, not just one. (e.g. A relatively cheap material would not be used if it was very difficult to find). Located in figure 1: Building Materials Matrices is the matrix that was produced evaluating the various green products against our criteria.

9.1 Insulation

The use of insulation is a means of conserving energy (Fox and Murrell, 1989). Numerous forms of insulation exist, each possessing unique qualities that allow them to be used for specific applications. Traditionally the best insulation to use, due to its non-flammable property, is glass fiber (Fox and Murrell, 1989).

Three top choices for insulation were determined and presented as options for use in the construction of a new architecture building. We concluded that cellulose insulation, Air Krete and Autoclaved Aerated Blocks were the ideal products for this project.

It should be noted that as Environment and Resource Study students, our suggestions might be biased despite our efforts to determine overall sustainability of the products. This concern is minor considering that the intention of the University’s Master Plan is to "articulate new goals for the campus-particularly in the area of environmental stewardship" (Lewinberg Greenberg Ltd. et al, 1991).

  1. 11 Cellulose


Companies in the Kitchener/Waterloo area readily supply cellulose insulation. For instance, Reitzel Insulation Co. Ltd. indicated that they supply cellulose insulation and that it is appropriate for use in an institution such as the University of Waterloo.


The standard cellulose insulation is available at a cost of .46 cents per square foot. Cellulose insulation with a higher R-value is also supplied for a slightly higher cost of .56 cents per square foot. An employee of Reitzel Insulation Co. Ltd. Indicated that cellulose insulation is actually less costly than the traditionally used fiberglass insulation.

Health Impacts

Insulation may perform well in many respects, however, flammability is of significant concern. Cellulose insulation does not pose a threat to health in this respect. If a fire does occur, the dense structure of cellulose and its fire retardant qualities slow the spread of fire through the building by blocking flames and hot gases and restricting the availability of oxygen in insulated walls and ceilings (Insulation Fact Sheet, 2000). Scientists at the National Research Council in Canada report that cellulose actually, "provided an increase in the fire resistance performance of 22% to 55%," (Insulation Fact Sheet, 2000). In regards to chemical additives and toxicity, cellulose is comprised primarily of 75% or more recycled content, and is non-carcinogenic (Insulation Fact Sheet, 2000). The fire retardant added to the material after it has been manufactured is often borates and sulfates which are "generally non-toxic" (Insulation Types/Newspaper to Cellulose Insulation, 1998).

Environmental Impacts

Cellulose insulation has a variety of environmental advantages. Perhaps the most apparent "green" aspect of this product is that it has a high recycled content which decreases a major component of waste stream to landfills – discarded newsprint (Insulation Types/Newspaper to Cellulose Insulation, 1998). Approximately 75% or more of this insulation is composed of recycled material (Insulation Fact Sheet, 2000). As well, cellulose insulation has a significantly lower embodied energy rating in comparison to mineral fiber insulation (Insulation Materials: Environmental Comparisons, 1996). Cellulose insulation is calculated to be 20 to 40 times less energy intensive than mineral fiber insulation that requires large quantities of fuel to fabricate (Insulation Materials: Environmental Comparisons, 1996). In regards to R-value (an expression of heat transfer resistance and is the standard for measuring insulation performance), cellulose insulation is considerably better than fiberglass, with an R-value of 3.6 to 3.8 per inch, in comparison to fiberglass’s R-value of approximately 2.2 to 2.6 (Insulation Fact Sheet, 2000).

Building Standards

Although no official building standards have been identified for cellulose insulation, it is readily used by a variety of companies. Similarly, An employee of Reitzel Insulation Co. Ltd. Indicated that cellulose insulation is an approved product and is suitable for a structure such as a University building. The conceptual nature of the building limits the ability to accurately complete a building code assessment as dimensions and other specifics are yet to be determined. This should be considered when reviewing this report and when beginning future studies.

10.12 Air Krete


The extent to which Air Krete is manufactured and made available in Canada limited. Our research has not indicated that Air Krete is available locally. Further investigation is intended to reveal whether or not importation of Air Krete is feasible in this instance.


American prices of this product are available, however, no Canadian prices are indicated anywhere in the material we have gathered at this stage of our research study. American prices vary although as one source indicates, prices are around $2.00 per 2 by 6 walls (Sustainable building source box, 1998). Of the local insulation companies contacted, none recognize or supply Air Krete insulation and were therefore unable to list Canadian prices. Assuming that no Canadian suppliers of Air Krete are located, the cost of importing the product from the United States will have to be considered. As well, Air Krete requires trained installers, which raises the cost of implementing the product on the University campus (Air Krete: Cementitious Foam Insulation).

Health Impacts & Environmental Impacts

Air Krete is an inorganic foam produced from magnesium oxide (derived from seawater). The product is foamed under pressure with a microscopic cell generator and compressed air; no CFC’s or HCFC’s are used in the process (Air Krete: Foam Without Plastics, 1997). Due to its inorganic composition, Air Krete has very low VOC emissions, is totally inert and non-combustible (Air Krete: Foam Without Plastics, 1997).

The extent to which the Air Krete has been researched indicates that it has a number of environmental benefits. This insulation was implemented in the Audubon House largely because of its environmental sensitivity (Audubon: Audubon House, 1999). Further research into Air Krete is needed with a focus on a number of American companies.

Building Standards

The extent to which Air Krete adheres to Canadian building standards is unknown and further research in this area is required. The conceptual nature of the building limits the ability to accurately complete a building code assessment as dimensions and other specifics are yet to be determined. This should be considered when reviewing this report and when beginning future studies.


10.13 Autocleaved Cellular Concrete (ACC)


Attempts of finding a Canadian manufacturing company were fruitless as one was not located. 200 plants in 35 countries are operating currently with plants in Atlanta and Florida (Environmental Building News, 1996). Several companies in the United States are planning to expand throughout North America, which could potentially bring this product closer to the Kitchener-Waterloo area.


Feasibility and Cost

Sierra Pacific has been contacted for cost estimates and any other information they may be able to provide us with. The company claims that ACC are indeed cost effective with the added benefits of reduction in time, effort and energy consumption; however, this does not account for import expenses.

In comparison to the instillation of conventional concrete, the ACC does not have handholds and must be handled using both hands (Environmental Building News, 1996). Counteracting this problem is the weight of the blocks. ACC are lightweight, comprising only 25% of the weight of conventional concrete blocks (Sierra Pacific, 1999). This reduced weight reduces labour time and workload – lowering the total cost of installation.

ACC blocks are designed to be strong and act as load bearing walls in low-rise buildings and as partition and curtain walls in high-rise buildings (Environmental Building News, 1996). It is insect and rot resistant and has an R factor of up to 1.26 per inch with the benefits of sound absorption (Sierra Pacific, 1999). Sound protection would prove to be beneficial in a learning environment where distractions due to noise are frequent.

Health Impacts

ACC is an inert material (Environmental Building News, 1996) that possesses few risks to human occupants. Off gassing is near zero and allergen problems are virtually eradicated. It is a healthy alternative.

Environmental Impacts

The manufacturing process of ACC involves the use of fly ash. Fly ash is a by-product of coal combustion and using it provides an alternative to disposing of it in landfills; (Sierra Pacific, 1999) ergo, it reduces the one way waste stream that is so detrimental to the health of earth systems. The final product is fire resistant and does not emit environmentally damaging gases (Sierra Pacific, 1999).

Building Standards

AAC blocks has and R factor of 1.26 –1.5 per inch (Sierra Pacific, 1999). This translates to an overall R-value of 10. The minimum thermal resistance of foundation walls for the Waterloo region is 8 (Ontario Building Code Standards, 1997). AAC blocks are thusly suitable for foundation walls. Again, due to the conceptual nature of the building, there are limits to the ability to accurately complete a building code assessment because dimensions and other specifics are yet to be determined. This should be considered when reviewing this report and when beginning future studies.

9.2 Roofing

One of the most extensive areas with regards to "green" development is the area that keeps us all dry. Roofing is an area that saw little evolution during the middle part of the twentieth century – but since the 1970’s roofs the world over have been improved and redesigned to be more sustainable. This project has chosen to focus on three (3) major directions that roof development has taken. Reflective roof coverings are devoted to minimizing energy use and urban heat sinks. Vegetated roof coverings shelter the roof’s surface with a layer of succulent plant material that insulates.

9.21 Stevens EP

Stevens EP is a single ply commercial roofing membrane based on ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM). EP is a similar product and both and EPDM are products categorized under thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO). These products encounter some restrictions in their use (Stevens, 1999). EPDM uses tape adhesives to bring the sheets together, while Stevens EP used a hot-air welded systems (Stevens, 2000). The United States EPA has suggested that PVC roofing may release chlorine over time when in contact with certain types of insulation and contaminants (Carriere, 2000). Stevens Limited has taken the advantages of PVC and EPDM and manufactured a single product. EP has been installed at a number of major companies including Home Depot, Wal-Mart and IBM (Stevens, 2000).


Stevens EP is supplied by Lexcan Limited of Etobicoke and distributed locally by Stybek Roofing Limited of Waterloo. Sheet sizes can be manufactured up to 10,000 ft2 for faster installation (Lexcan, N/D). Faster installation translates into decreased labour costs and an overall decrease in roofing expenses. Stevens EP can be installed year-round compared to EPDM where conventional adhesives are prone to contamination and degradation by weather conditions (Stevens, 2000).

Feasibility and Cost

Low maintenance costs and labour requirements are associated with EP. "Buildings roofed over thirty years ago continue to perform maintenance free." (Lexcan, N/D, pg.3) Among the benefits of EP roofing systems are its tear strength, breaking strength, resistance to puncturing and reliability of its hot air-welded seams (Stevens, 2000). The cost of EP is $3.00/ft2 (Carriere, 2000). The exact dimensions of the architecture roof itself are not known, therefore an estimated cost can not be calculated. Compared to other roofing systems, categories of TPO, including EP are fairly labour intensive and additional costs for the membrane and fasteners should be noted (Carriere, 2000). One particular cost advantage of EP is its reflective properties. EP reflects the suns’ heat and thus helps to reduce cooling costs (Stevens, 2000).

Health Impacts

Another advantage of EP is that it is, "non-reactive to environmental contaminants," (Carriere, 2000). Also, Stevens EP is both fire and chemical resistant (Stevens, 2000).

Environmental Impacts

By avoiding traditional heavy roofing methods, there is a significant decrease in environmental impacts. Noxious fumes from roofing kettles and fires hazards from propane torches are avoided (Lexcan, N/D). EP is UV resistant and maintains flexibility past weather conditions of –60 o C. These characteristics make EP a reliable and safe choice for the extremes of the Canadian climate (Lexcan, N/D). Also, EP’s durability reduces landfill waste streams as dilapidated roofs deteriorate and are disposed of. EP will last a long time, resulting in fewer virgin resource drains.

Building Codes and Standards

The Underwriters’ Laboratories of Canada has approved EPDM for Class A and B roof construction for both new construction and re-roofing and meets and exceeds 37-GP-52M (Lexcan, N/D). As Lexcan Limited is a supplier of both EPDM and EP, we believe that the same building codes and standards apply to EP as well.


9.22 Reflective Coverings (Steel/Vinyl)

The most established technique to "Green" a roofs is to create a surface that does not absorb the heat and energy received from the sun. Incoming solar radiation results in tremendous A/C expenditures in terms of both capital and energy. Available technology endeavours to reflect this radiation – saving the cost of cooling the buildings. The product is manufactured by the Canadian based Lenta Enterprises and is endorsed by leading reflective roof researcher Dr. Jeff Luvall. However, an interview with Leonard LeBlanc of Lenta Enterprises was completed on Wednesday March 15 and the information gathered determined that this was a not viable product. The resin based coating is readily available, but the device to apply the coating is not yet available.

The second option considered was the use of highly reflective tiles used in house construction. The tiles are made from recycled aluminum soda cans or vinyl products and reflect sun away from the roof surface. Many local companies deal this type of product and they are relatively inexpensive. The tile system has a very valuable advantage in its fire retardant qualities – both aluminum and vinyl resist combustion and offer a virtually fireproof surface. The most important difference was in the albedo rating (reflective capabilities) of each system, the relative price, the advantages of using recycled products and the requirements for coating a large institution-type roof that may not allow for the use of standard housing tiles. This product was ultimately ruled out because it is quite expensive – designed for personal residences, the product is not suitable for the size of an institution building such as University of Waterloo’s Architecture Building.

9.23 Vegetated Roof

The final method available to "Green" the roof of the future architecture building involves a system of succulent vegetation planted on the roof surface. The growing cover acts as a terrific insulator keeping warm air in during cold winters and keeping expensive solar radiation from absorbing in the summer. The living roof offers extreme durability and improved water drainage. In addition, the living meadow ecosystem is the only roof system that can improve student comfort, a lofty task for a traditionally barren domain. In comparison, the living roof is not available locally. ROOFmeadow Inc. has been consulted regarding this product and the system is a viable option for Waterloo’s cooler climate. However, increased labor and maintenance is required for this surface as is the possible risk of fire – although if kept watered and weeded the threat of fire is virtually eradicated. Another factor reducing the viability of this method is the weight associated with such a system. Buildings in Ontario must account for a snow load of approximately 30 lbs./in.2 – the same weight as this system wet. A functional roof would need to withstand both loads come winter, requiring approximately 65 lbs./in.2 of load capacity engineered into the roof. Since the building is presently only a concept these numbers have been difficult to generate and assumptions have been necessary. This is an inevitable difficulty associated with the project and one that must be considered in any findings. An interview with Charlie Miller, CEO of ROOFmeadow has been conducted and a valuable case study in Philadelphia PA has been studied. The largest impediment to this project is its foreign source and the substantial cost (both in dollars and maintenance time) required.


10.0 Validity and Reliability of Research Outcomes

In regards to validity, research is often judged on two aspects; external and ecological validity, both of which are relevant in this instance. External validity refers to the ability to generalize the results beyond the specifics of our study, particularly to other people, situations, and times (Palys 258). Assessment of our research indicates a relatively high external validity. It is likely that others conducting research of the same nature would find the products we did to be of green quality. They would likely discover the same results as we simply because the mediums we employed to acquire information are highly accessible to the general public. As well, the building materials found to be appropriate for the architecture building at the University of Waterloo would likely be suitable for a variety of other buildings, institutions and otherwise. The extent to which our results may vary over time is limited but does exist. Insulation and roofing products are continually being enhanced and new products enter the market often. In an undetermined amount of time from now, products that would have ranked high on our list may be available where they currently are not.

Similarly, the ecological validity of our research is also relatively high. Ecological validity refers to the measures you use in relation to the particular milieu to which you wish to generalize (Palys 258). In addressing the question of how well our research represents the ecology of the situation of interest we find that it is well represented because we researched real, tangible products intended for instillation in an actual building to be constructed on the UW campus.

Lastly, our research was scrutinized on the basis of its reliability. Our assessment in this respect reveals a high reliability as well. Reliability is the degree to which repeated observation of a phenomenon - the same phenomena at different times, or the same instance of the phenomena by two different observers - yields similar results (Palys 425). As previously noted, those conducting research on the same matter would likely find the products we found to be appropriate green building materials. Once again, the unknown variable of time – how long before new products will be created and established products upgraded.

11.0 Recommendations

First we recommend that the University of Waterloo commit itself to erecting a ‘Green’ building on campus. This goal is a lofty position and is one that places the University of Waterloo in a terrific position in terms of acting as an example for other institutions.

Also, we would like to suggest a further report be completed that will focus on both of our final recommended products: EP reflective roofing and cellulose insulation. This study was the beginning of a long journey – not the end of a pilgrimage.

The objectives reached in this study focused on developing a list of green building materials via qualitative research. Through our research we have assessed what are the most feasible options for both roofing and insulating materials. There are, however, several areas where more in depth research should be conducted; And as Ted Palys' states in his book on Research Decisions, "one role of theory is to generate research possibilities" (Palys 49). After initial research and recommendations, the next progression is to ‘take action’. According to Campus Ecology there are seven steps in moving from study to action. The first step in creating change is to document the findings of the research. This step has been accomplished through the completion of this project. The remainder of the ten steps is listed to provide guidance for anyone who wishes to continue research in this area.

Step 2. Get commitments from the top: Get a pledge by the president of the University and focuses on potential savings, public image and risk opportunities

Step 3: Creating the planning process: Develop an environmental steering committee that works to develop long and short term goals.

Step 4: Fiscal Planning: Conduct surveys to determine acceptance of such ideas looking at estimate, project costs and benefits.

Step 5: Work with Campus Administrators: Suggest alternatives

Step 6: Invest in campus outreach programs: Involve student government, student groups and labour unions to achieve support

Step 7: Use the media: Get to know your campus newspaper

Step 8: Get a student appointed to a decision-making position

Step 9: Monitor progress: Evaluate the effectiveness of the project

Step 10: Get the word out: Communicate

We suggest that future projects might utilize the steps for action to create new research problem opportunities.

12.0 References


*Aberley, Doug: Editor. 1994. Futures by Design: The Practice of Ecological Planning.

New Society Publishers.

*Croxton Collaborative, Architects. 1994. Audubon House: Building the

Environmentally Responsible, Energy Efficient Office. John Wiley and Sons, USA.

Fox, A. and Murrell, R. 1989. Green Design. Architecture Design and Technology Press,


Ontario Building Code Standards. 1997

*Roseland, Mark. 1998. Toward Sustainable Communities: Resources for Citizens and

Their Governments. New Society Publishers.

*Palys, Ted. 1997. Research Decisions: Quantitative and Qualitative Perspectives.

Harcourt Brace, Canada.

Smith, April A. 1993. Campus Ecology: A Guide To Assessing Environmental Quality and

Creating Strategies for Change. Living Planet Press, USA.

Internet Sites

ACCO Aerated Concrete Systems Inc. ACCO ACC. Last Updated: N/A. Last Reviewed:

March 12/2000.

AirKrete. Cementous Foam Insulation. Last Updated: N/A.

Audubon House. Audubon: Audubon House. Last Updated: December 7, 1999.

*Brown University. Campus Environmental Stewardship Programs. Last Updated:

November 22, 1999. Last Reviewed: February 4, 2000.

Brachfeld, Dennis. Wall Insulation. Last Update: N/A.

Cellulose Insulation Manufacturers Association (CIMA). Insulation Fact Sheet. Last

Updated: March 9, 2000.

*City of Austin. Green Builder News. Last Updated: July, 1998. Last Reviewed: February

4, 2000.


Environmental Building News. Air Krete: Foam Plastics. Last Updated: October 14, 1997.

Environmental Building News. Autoclaved Aerated Concrete: Is North America Finally

Ready? Last updated: May 20, 1996. Last Reviewed: March 12, 2000.

Environmental Building News. Insulation Materials: Environmental Comparisons. Last

Updated: May 20, 1996.

*Environmental Building News. Newsletter on Environmentally Responsible Design and

Construction. Last Updated: January 27, 2000. Last Reviewed: February 4, 2000.

North American Insulation Manufacturers Association. Insulation. Last Updated: N/A. Last

Reviewed: March 12, 2000.

*Oberlin College. Adam Joseph Lewis Environmental for Studies Center. Last Updated: February 4, 2000. Last Reviewed: February 4, 2000.

Oikos Energy Source Builder. ACC Blocks Cut Labour Costs and Save Energy from Energy

Source Builder #41, October, 1995. Last Updated: N/A. Last Reviewed: March 6, 2000.

*National Audubon Society. Building for an Environmental Future. Last Updated: N/D.

Last Reviewed: February 4, 2000.

Oilcos Energy Source Builder. ACC Blocks Cut Labour Costs and Save Energy. Last

Updated: October, 1995. Last Reviewed: March 6, 2000.

Owens Corning. Insulation. Last Updated: N/A. Last Reviewed: March 12, 2000.

Sierra Pacific. Sierra Pacific Seeking Investors to Construct a Plant and Manufacture

Autoclaved Aerated Cellular Concrete (AAC) Blocks. Last Updated: 1999. Last Reviewed: March12, 2000. Http://

Stybec Roofing Ltd.


*WATgreen. WATgreen Library. Last Updated: December 23, 1999. Last Reviewed:

January 27, 1999.


Personal Correspondence

*Holdenby, Rick, Director of Architecture. Tuesday, February 2, 2000. Personal

Communication. University of Waterloo.

Carriere, Garry. Senior Estimator/Project Coordinator. March 14, 2000. Letter. Stybek Roofing Ltd. Waterloo, Ontario.


Bischoff, A. and Gomber, T. Ten Commandments for Changing the World. Unpublished.

Lexcan Limited. No Date Indicated. "Elastomeric Roofing Systems". Canada.

*QS & P Graduate Services and Publications. Tips for Proposal Writers. QS & P Graduate

Services and Publications, Kansas.

Stevens Roofing Systems. 1999. "Stevens EP". JPS Elastomerics Corporation, USA.

*Van de Ryn Architects. 1999. "Green Building Design: Why? What? How?" Van de Ryn

Architects, Sausalito, California.


Unpublished Works

*Dunbanow, T., Haghighi, T., Nauffs, S., Rupert, S., Van Ooteghem, T., and Wittig, J.

1991. Greening Campus Buildings: Guideline Document.

Lewinberg Greenberg Ltd. 1991. University of Waterloo Campus Master Plan

FrameWork for Development: Draft Final Report. Berridge Lewnberg Greenberg Ltd., Toronto.

*Gibson, Bob. November, 27, 1999. "Draft Memo to Faculty of Environmental Studies"

from Green Buildings Conference Web Board. Posted On: January 24, 1999. Posted By: Anita Walker. Unpublished.



*Body, Sharon. October, 1999. "Mountain Equipment Co-Op on the Move" from Peace

and Environment News.



Resourceful Renovator. "Insulation Types: Newspaper to Cellulose Insulation" Originally

Aired: June 1, 1998. Narrated by Jennifer Corson. LIFE Network, Canada

* Indicates sources that are briefly explained in the Annotated Bibliography (See Appendix D).






























Appendix A: Systems Diagram

Material, Captital Flow, Key Actors and Pollution in Green Building Materials as it Pertains to Sustainability.

Appendix B: Draft Introduction Letter

Dear Interviewee:

We are second year Environment and Resource Study student’s workings on a term project. The topic is green building materials for a new building for the School of Architecture. We are hoping to compile a set of specifications that would have to be met in the building design. The specifications would entail the inclusion of various "green" building technologies.

You have been selected as our resident expert on the matter of "green building materials". On the following page are the questions that we would like to ask you. This project is being supervised by Professor Susan Wismer. Questions and concerns can be directed to her via telephone at (519) 888-4567 ext. 5795 or E-mail at



Sam Brinker

Rebecca Earl

Samantha Lawson

Kelly Loverock

Tuesday Winfield

And Kevin Davies


















Appendix C: Draft Interview Questions

  1. How much further along is the concept for the new school of architecture building?
  2. What is your overall concept of the building?
  3. Why is there a call for the new building?
  4. Where will the building be located?
  5. Could you provide us with statistics on the school of Architecture?
  6. How many students are enrolled?

    Graduate work-reputability-school of Architecture’s profile?

    Meetings, conferences, needs?

  7. How much is the university willing to spend in this project?
  8. Could you provide us with more case studies?
  9. What is it going to take to maintain the kinds of systems we would like to see implemented?
  10. Do you know of any manufacturers/suppliers of green technologies and materials?
  11. What do you envision as the new trends in architectural design?
  12. Has the University of Waterloo considered going forward as the University of Toronto has regarding their Architecture Department?









Appendix D: Work Schedule


  1. Select group members and topic
  2. Establish out-of-class meet time (Friday, 10:00am in ES courtyard)
  3. Establish work share for group proposal and brainstorm ideas
  4. Work on draft of proposal and study design


  1. Group Meetings:

February 4: Put together draft of proposal

February 11: Determine who will be responsible for interviews

February 18: Review and share all literature collected

2. Conduct Interviews:


  1. Group Meetings:
  2. March 3: Discuss results of interview and other data collected and work on progress report.

    March 10: Group draft completed for edit of final report

    March 24: Work on presentation

  3. Progress Report Due: March 8
  4. Draft of Final Report Due: March 14
  5. Presentations: March 28


1. Final Report Due: April 3