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Research Partnerships & Innovation

RRC receives grant to support building performance project for long-term care housing

September 14, 2021

Red River College (RRC) has received a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) College and Community Social Innovation Fund (CCSIF) grant.

The grant supports a three-year project led by RRC’s Building Efficiency Technology Access Centre (BETAC) to provide building performance evaluations (BPE) and post-occupancy evaluations (POE) for existing and new long-term care homes (LTCHs) in Manitoba.

The built environment is a contributing factor for health outcomes, for example, poor air quality can be detrimental for people living with respiratory conditions. Additionally, poor air circulation can be connected to the spread of COVID-19.

The pandemic’s disproportionate impact on long-term care residents, highlights underlying issues and the need to re-think the design, construction, and operation of LTCHs.

With approximately 10,000 residents currently living in LTCHs in the province – and the number of long-term care beds required in Manitoba projected to drastically increase by 2035 – the building performance project is an important initiative that will help inform critical improvements, impacting lives of long-term care residents.

“Students from RRC’s Nursing, Architectural Engineering Technology and Construction Management programs are working in tandem with industry partners, which gives them a unique opportunity to develop their skillsets as they relate to industry and other program areas,” says Arnold Boldt, Executive Director, Academic, Red River College.

“The project not only provides students with applied knowledge for their future careers, but students are also getting the opportunity to help improve the lives of older adults in the community.”

The project has a strong interdisciplinary approach, engaging local industry partners – Efficiency MB, fT3 Architecture, MMP Architects Inc., and the University of Manitoba – alongside BETAC and RRC students. The interdisciplinary team is undertaking BPE, POE as well as using qualitative measures, including resident surveys, to determine perceived quality of life in the built environment.

The project brings to light the challenges of a global aging population, and how it relates directly to residents in LTCHs in Manitoba.

“The College and Community Innovation program provides innovative solutions for local and regional challenges through the expertise of Canadian colleges. On behalf of the Tri-agency, I would like to congratulate all college recipients and their industry and community partners who provide social, economic and environmental benefits to communities of all sizes across the country,” says Alejandro Adem, President, Natural Sciences and Research Council of Canada.

BETAC staff, industry partners, and RRC students are currently working on the first phase of the building performance project. In addition to BPE, the project also uses POE, an area where there’s currently a lack of data for LTCHs, helping generate benchmarks.

The project’s reach will extend beyond provincial borders, through building awareness and sharing findings at national conferences and online webinars.