The Chronicle Herald
Published January 28, 2016
New bigs will be first 'big building' in Canada with CarbonCure walls
Halifax’s Ambassatours is trading its bus depot home for a new, greener building being put up near Fairview Cove to house its head office and entire fleet of vehicles.
The 32,000-square-foot building, a $4.5-million investment for the company, is under construction on Bayne Street. MacKay Bridge commuters may have seen the start of the green project recently when four carbon-infused walls were lifted into place.
“This is pretty exciting for us. When our contractor, B.D. Stevens, presented us with an idea for CarbonCure walls, we thought it was a neat opportunity,” said Ambassatours CEO Dennis Campbell.
“We were told we’d be the first big building around here, and while normally we prefer not being guinea pigs, we did our research, and there have been various other projects with this infused concrete. We'll just be the first big building in Canada with the product.”
The company has been using the 50-year-old former Acadian Lines depot on Almon Street and a garage and office space on Bayne and Mackintosh years. Campbell says he`s looking forward to the move.
“We’re pretty excited about it. It's essentially taking our inefficient facilities used for maintenance, office space and garage space and creating one state-of-the-art facility. This will be the first time our fleet, service centre and head office will all be together,” he said.
“For years, we've been buying and leasing various maintenance facilities in northeast Halifax for double deckers, trolleys and more. Given the layout and the fact we're on the peninsula, it can create operational challenges with getting 80 buses, double deckers, and Harbour Hoppers into the downtown core when we need them.”
“Trying to get through these areas of town with our vehicles can be problematic for us, our clients and other residents, and there’s no need to plug up the arteries of these streets on busy days.”
Campbell said the logistical reasons for moving were apparent for a long time, but when general contractor B.D. Stevens Ltd. pitched them on using CarbonCure Technologies, they got onboard quickly.
CarbonCure, a Dartmouth company, captures carbon dioxide and stores it until they introduce it into the concrete when it's poured. The concrete hardens and the carbon is locked in permanently.
"It makes the walls both stronger and greener," said CarbonCure CEO Robert Niven.
"The idea of capturing carbon has been around for decades, but it's the idea of permanently using it to make better products that's novel. We are the furthest ahead in the world in commercializing this technology, and we can make a real difference," he said.
"We can commercialize and export this CarbonCure technology to the entire world, and we need to capitalize on our branding so companies can work with us in global and green technology markets."
The first tilt lift for the walls of the office were done in mid-January, and Niven is happy with the results.
"It's just such a powerful thing. People won't notice a difference in the concrete. We don't want to disrupt how things are made, but we want to have a better impact," he said.
"This local work has sparked a wave of similar progress across North America, and this is more than just a science project. This is real technology being done in a group environment."
Luke Eliot, General Manager at B.D. Stevens, said combining the office and fleet space while building green has been rewarding.
"It's very exciting. We have been designing it from the get-go," Eliot said.
"We like trying anything innovative, and they were active in trying to find green technology and a new initiative. We approached them with this idea, and they were keen."
Work is coming along for the contractors, with the 12,800- square-foot office portion's walls up.
"The 17,000-square-foot service space is being worked on now. We are in the winter months now, so it's a bit more challenging. We're on schedule for May," he said.