Chief-in-council Tom McDonald, left, of the Aseniwuche Winewak Nation and John Campbell of Finishing Touch Builders hold a recognition plaque listing the groups that played a role in the renovation and energy efficiency projects undertaken by the AWN in Grande Cache. The celebration was held in conjunction with National Indigenous Peoples Day.

Creating energy efficiencies takes teamwork

FT Builders’ expertise can help you save money and make your building more comfortable

If you’re wondering whether it’s worthwhile spending money now to make your commercial building more energy efficient in future, you’re not alone.

With government incentives becoming available for the commercial market, more property owners are looking at building energy efficiencies into new construction, or retrofitting existing structures, says John Campbell, whose Red Deer company Finishing Touch Builders specializes in such projects.

He points to the Aseniwuche Winewak Nation (AWN) in Grande Cache as an organization that recognizes the value of such investments. AWN recently celebrated the grand opening of its Aseniwuche Environmental Corporation (AEC) building, a renovation project overseen by FT Builders. The foundation-up retrofit included a conversion of the building’s heating system to geothermal, thus reducing the dependency on natural gas.

Upgrades available in many areas

FT Builders worked with an engineer to create an optimum slope on the broad, south-facing roof, giving the AEC building a distinctive look and very functional design. “The goal was to have it be available for solar, which is another area of funding from the government,” says Campbell.

Other upgrades included switching to LED lights, installing additional insulation to boost the building’s R-value, and putting in windows and doors that more effectively insulate against cold or heat.

Project truly a team effort

Part of the funding for the project came from Energy Efficiency Alberta, which helps businesses find complex or simple solutions to green up their operations and save money on energy costs. But it didn’t cover it all, Campbell notes. The shortfall was largely made up through generous donations from large Alberta businesses.

At the June 21 grand opening, AWN chair-in-council Tom McDonald described how the previously derelict AEC building sat vacant for years before AWN purchased it in 2012. He said the resulting renovation and retrofit led by FT Builders “reflects human spirit and community involvement” and “is a true testament of what’s possible when we work together.”

Commercial market changing

While residential homeowners have for some time enjoyed the benefits of government legislation dictating energy efficiency on new construction, the commercial market has been slower to respond, Campbell says. Lease tenants – their shops or offices often housed in poorly insulated concrete block buildings – have historically been responsible for their own energy bills. As such, building owners had little incentive to upgrade.

“That is gradually changing, especially with the next generations learning about energy efficiency and green buildings,” he says, pointing to the LEED program (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design) as an example. “Many tenants will pay a little extra to get a more efficient space.”

*****

For a free consultation on your commercial or residential renovation or retrofit project, contact Finishing Touch Builders at 403-347-1900 or email info@ftbuilders.ca. You can also like FT Builders on Facebook.

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As part of the renovation of the Aseniwuche Environmental Corporation building in Grand Cache, Red Deer-based Finishing Touch Builders oversaw a retrofitting of the structure to make it more energy efficient. The dramatic roofline will enable it to have solar panels installed at a later date.

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