Building Efficiency TAC


Thermally Broken Concrete Balconies Project

August 14, 2017

This project focuses on developing cost-effective systems for the implementation of thermally broken concrete slabs for residential mid/high-rise construction.


Traditionally, concrete balconies in mid/high-rise residential buildings are designed as an extension to the floor slab, constructed as a one or two-way reinforced concrete slab cantilevered out past the building’s exterior wall.

Without a thermal break, the balcony easily conducts heat, causing a significant amount of heat loss in the winter, leaving the floor slab and window-wall assembly considerably cooler than the interior temperature, and resulting in condensation.

If not properly controlled, materials eventually start to degrade, reducing the integrity and safety of the structure, and even compromising the indoor air quality from mold growth.

Our Research

  • This project includes experimentally investigating different forms of thermal insulation materials and different types of rebar and then performing thermal testing and analysis, and structural testing on these materials. BETAC is providing the laboratory space for casting samples and the environmental chambers needed for the thermal testing.
  • The main project team includes the College, the University of Manitoba, Crosier Kilgour & Partners and SMT Research.


The first phase of this project started in June, 2016, and is due to complete in August, 2017. The completion of phase two is to be determined.

Energy Efficiency Technology Assessment: Drain Water Heat Recovery Evaluation

July 14, 2017

The objective of this project is to investigate and assess the energy efficiency, effectiveness, and performance of vertical, sloped and horizontal DWHR systems for MURB applications. BETAC will be working with Gary Proskiw, Manitoba Hydro, and Manitoba Housing on this project.


Drain-water heat recovery (DWHR) systems recover heat from a building’s wastewater and use it to preheat the fresh incoming water, thereby reducing the overall domestic hot water (DHW) load.

All new Part 9 (residential) construction in Manitoba, as part of the province’s review of Section 9.36 of the National Building Code (other than for houses with slab-on-grade or crawl space foundations), now require a DWHR system. Their introduction into mid/high-rise multi-unit residential buildings (MURBs) has been extremely limited.

Our Research

The majority of information and testing available for DWHR performance was developed for vertical installations. However, the accessible portions of the drain lines in MURBs are predominately horizontal or sloped at 45°.

  • Therefore, BETAC will conduct a series of laboratory trials to evaluate the heat recovery performance of typical DWHR units installed in vertical, horizontal and sloped (45°) configurations with the use of Red River College’s plumbing workshop.
  • Surface temperatures and in-line temperatures will be monitored to permit better correction between the two variables for use in future field screening applications.

Twin Building Case Studies

July 14, 2017

For this project, BETAC is working with Manitoba Housing on three case studies for three sets of “twin MURBs” (pairs of multi-unit residential buildings that have identical size, floor area and floor plans) located in Winnipeg, Manitoba.


One building from each pairing has undergone an extensive building retrofit and the other building pairing remains in its original condition.

Our Research

These case studies will document the pre- and post- retrofit energy performance of the buildings, as well as review each set of buildings to identify the extent of the renovations to each building, and their associated timelines.

Whole Building Energy Performance Assessment of Deep Energy Retrofit

July 14, 2017

This project involves BETAC working alongside Manitoba Hydro and Manitoba Housing to monitor the energy usage of Donwood Manor – a 119-unit personal care home located in North Kildonan that recently completed major upgrades to its building envelope and mechanical systems (heating, cooling and ventilation).

Our Research

  • Energy models for both the pre-retrofit and post-retrofit design were developed to determine how the new building changes would contribute to the overall building energy profile.
  • Sensors, meters, and gauges will be installed this summer to monitor, measure, and verify the energy and water performance of the building for at least one continuous year.
  • Finally, a comparative analysis of the modelled energy usage and the actual energy usage of the building will be performed.


Findings from this project will be of benefit to others in the building industry; therefore, a presentation of these results will be developed to share at industry association meetings, seminars, and speaking engagements (e.g. Manitoba Building Envelope Council, Building Energy Management Manitoba, Manitoba Chapter of the Canada Green Building Council, ASHRAE Manitoba Chapter), and events such as the annual Better Buildings Conference in Winnipeg.

Large Building Airtightness Testing (September 27-29, 2017)

July 10, 2017


• Differences between residential and commercial tests
• Building science and driving forces of air leakage
• Testing standards and code requirements
• Test considerations and planning
• Required materials and equipment
• First-hand experience with setup and use of blower door equipment
• Trouble-shooting common problems encountered during testing

This workshop concludes with a full live test at the Centre for Applied Research in Sustainable Infrastructure (CARSI) at Red River College, which will incorporate diagnostic tools and data analysis.


Cory Carson
Cory is a Mechanical Engineering Technologist with over five years of experience in applied research related to energy efficiency, who has tested over 40 large buildings for airtightness.

Kevin Knight
Kevin is a building envelope authority with over 30 years of experience in field observation and testing, commissioning, research, education and training.

Gary Proskiw
Gary is a mechanical engineer with 40 years of experience; he has conducted hundreds of airtightness tests on houses and commercial buildings and has been active in code and standard development.


Location: Red River College, 2055 Notre Dame Avenue, Winnipeg, MB CA
Dates: September 27-29, 2017
Times: 8:30am-4:30pm (will end at 2pm on Sept. 29 to allow travel time)
Cost: $1,495 + GST (Cost includes parking, lunch and morning coffee)


Registration FormTechSolutionsRegistration

Call or Email:
Cory Carson (204-631-3325 |
Louise Wood (204-632-3017 |

Rob Spewak, TAC Manager
204-632-2357 | |

York Landing Nursing Station

June 14, 2017

York Factory First Nation is collaborating with BETAC to perform an air leakage test on a nursing station built in 2000 that has since encountered some roof damage due to ice damming.


Based on site visits performed by Tower Engineering Group, GW Architecture Inc., and QCA Building Envelope Ltd. in November, 2016, it was discovered that significant amounts of insulation had been missing, moved, or become detached in the attic space, causing substantial amounts of heat to travel into the attic and melt the snow on the roof – resulting in ice damming.

In order to rectify this issue, the nursing station will be undergoing an envelope upgrade that is projected to begin in July, 2017.

Services provided

The objective of this applied research project is to capitalize on BETAC’s abundance of knowledge and recent experiences in conducting air leakage tests on larger buildings, and conduct testing of the existing building prior to any renovations.

  • The pre-renovation test will use smoke machines and infrared thermography to identify the major leakage paths and air barrier deficiencies, particularly focusing on the leakage paths to the unconditioned attic space; however, diagnostic testing will identify other problem areas throughout the entire building as well.
  • While there, BETAC staff will provide one training session for any interested persons from York Factory on the basics of building science, with an emphasis on the impact of air leakage and its testing.
  • Afterwards, any training session attendees from York Factory are encouraged to witness and assist with the building test, with specific engagement during the diagnostic testing of the building.
  • A post-renovation test is recommended after the work has been completed, to ensure a reduction in air leakage has been realized, especially for major leak paths.

Saskatoon Provincial Correctional Centre

June 14, 2017

The Saskatoon Provincial Correctional Centre in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, was built in 1981. One of the Centre’s buildings recently underwent renovations in 2016, upgrading its building envelope and mechanical systems. This upgrade included installing insulated metal roof panels and insulated metal wall paneling as the new exterior shell to the building.

Services Provided

  • BETAC’s involvement with the project was to perform a whole building airtightness test so the owner could see how efficient the retrofit has been, to then document the results of the test, and to provide a comparison of the results to Red River College’s database of large building air leakage rates for reference.
  • BETAC will also offer a strategy for any future additional remedial work on the building to ensure it meets the requirements.

Thermal Testing of Polycarbonate Windows for Local Manufacturer

May 14, 2017

The objective of this project was to compare and evaluate the thermal performance of two samples of a polycarbonate glazing, which behave similarly to Insulated Glass Units (IGU), provided by a local window manufacturer to the Building Envelope Technology Access Centre (BETAC) at Red River College.

Research and Services Provided

  • BETAC used the Red River College’s dual environmental chambers in the Centre for Applied Research in Sustainable Infrastructure lab (CARSI) to compare the thermal performance of the two samples using a benchmark from a material with a known thermal resistance.
  • The polycarbonate samples each had different thicknesses, and heat flux sensors were used to measure the thermal transfer across the samples under a set temperature differential, which followed a specific ASTM Standard.


Results of this test can be used for further research and development of the manufacturer’s products.

Three-day Large Building Airtightness Testing Training

January 13, 2017

airtightAlthough the concept was almost unknown in the design and construction industry 25 years ago, is now widely recognized as one of the most critical parameters affecting a building’s performance in terms of energy use, comfort, indoor air quality and durability.

Recognition of the importance of reducing air leakage first occurred in the low-rise housing sector and has since spread to the commercial building sector. The need for airtightness was initially seen only as an energy issue since uncontrolled air leakage can create a significant energy penalty. However, it was soon realized that there are additional benefits including building durability improved comfort, improved indoor air quality and reduced noise transmission.

The large building airtightness testing workshop will educate the students on the

differences between residential and commercial tests; building science and driving forces of air leakage; testing standards and code requirements; test considerations and planning; and required materials and equipment. The final part of the workshop will focus on the setup and use of blower door equipment. It will conclude with a full live test of the CARSI building at Red River College, which will incorporate diagnostic tools and analysis/reporting of the test data.

Course Date and Cost

Dates: February 22-24, 2017
Times: 8:30 am to 4:30 pm (2 pm on Feb.24th to allow for travel)
Cost: $1,495 + GST
Course Code: TRAD-9017
Course cost includes: parking, lunch and morning coffee.

For more information, contact Rob Spewak at 204-632-2357 or

To register, contact Katrina Florendo at 204-632-2195 or

Cancellation Policy

Students who withdraw from a course seven or less days before the start of a course will be charged a $100 cancellation fee.

About the Instructors – Cory Carson, Kevin Knight, Gary Proskiw

Cory Carson, a Mechanical Engineering Technologist, has over 5 years’ experience in applied research related energy efficiency and has tested over 40 large buildings for airtightness. Kevin Knight, a building envelope authority, has over 30 years’ experience in field observation and testing, commissioning, research, education and training. Gary Proskiw is a mechanical engineer with 40 years’ experience; he has conducted hundreds of airtightness tests on houses and commercial buildings and has been active in code and standard development.

Download this form for registration: TechSolutionsRegistration

*Filling out the form: Please make sure that the course name and course code are indicated on the form.

Two-day WUFI Workshop

January 13, 2017

wufiWUFI® is an acronym for Wärme Und Feuchte Instationär—which, translated, means heat and moisture transiency.

Today’s residential and commercial building envelopes in North America are required to be energy efficient, which mainly means the envelope needs to meet R value and air tightness requirements. Practical experience in the last decades all over the world and physical principles show that a higher risk of moisture failures go along with these energy efficiency requirements.

The WUFI® Workshop will educate the students in the principles of building science, based on the latest research as well as train them how to do hygrothermal performance assessments using the WUFI® tool to eventually design a durable building envelope. Effects like material properties, climate regions, indoor moisture generation are shown and their impact on the durability discussed. ASHRAE Standard 160 will be introduced as a basic guideline on how to apply “Criteria for Moisture-Control Design Analysis in Buildings”.

Course Dates and Cost

Dates: February 14 and 15, 2017
Times: 8:30 am to 4:30 pm
Location: Red River College, Notre Dame Campus – 2055 Notre Dame Ave.
Cost: $850 + GST
Course Code: WRKS – 9121
Course cost includes: parking, lunch and morning coffee.

For more information, contact Tammy Harper at 204-632-2942 or

To register, contact Louise Wood at 204-632-3017 or

About the Instructor – Manfred Kehrer

Manfred has been active in the field and heat and moisture analysis in Building Science for more than 25 years. After many years of scientific work at Fraunhofer IBP, Germany, where he was leading the WUFI® software development as well as conducted laboratory measurements, he worked for the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, TN, USA, for five years as a Sr. Researcher in Building Science. Since early 2016, he is president of the start-up company justSmart Solutions LLC in the field of building science consulting and acts as the Official WUFI® Collaboration Partner for USA and Canada. Mr. Kehrer is a voting member of several ASHRAE and ASTM committees and on the editorial board of the “Journal of Building Physics”.

Download this form to register: TechSolutionsRegistration

*Filling out the form: Please make sure that the course name and course code are indicated on the form.