Conceptual Design For Seniors Housing Project Construction Essay

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The conceptual design for the senior's housing project in Warden and St. Clair is complete from the site layout to windows details. The designers have manipulated the design to produce a sustainable housing for seniors. The designers considered the site, its surrounding and its local climate to create a design which will work with nature to be efficient in energy and at the same time to have a comfortable living for its future residence. However in order to have an understanding of such facility and its development the design team spend a considerable amount of research in how to provide service for those in needs, also consideration of the growing population of seniors in Canada, amenities that can be usable and practical layout of units. This report details the overall technical consideration that guided the design.

The senior's population in Canada is growing and its life expectancy is growing. Due baby boomers generations, a large numbers of its senior population will be carry on to the future populations. As a result communities need to give more thought and prepare for the growing seniors population. Population aging will have a profound impact on the form and function of communities, particularly suburbs. Communities will have to respond by adopting balanced planning strategies to address the needs and realize the potential benefits of an aging population. An Aging Population should be viewed as a positive force and catalyst for community development and renewal. A full continuum of housing and service choices for seniors is required. Most prefer to age in place. Seniors themselves must be fully engaged in this transformational process. Women continue to outline men, so the ratio of women to men increases with age. As a result, many older women live alone, while a far higher proportion of men are married. The gap is closing slowly.

There are three types of seniors housing, nursing homes, assisted living and active retirement homes. It may be similar in classification but the features of care are unlike. The Senior housing in Warden and St. Clair Ave. is assisted living that also have an access from staff if help is needed, but they don't need full care for their daily routine. Therefore the design of the project should attempt to provide enough care for residents without taking away their independent living.

The sustainable design strategies that was use in the seniors housing was natural ventilation, natural light, and high performance glazing and east west building orientation to maximize solar gain during the winter. These sustainable strategies were use in-order to maximize the efficiencies of the site however designing the shaped of the building according to the site was difficult to achieve. The team achieves this by deciding to go with three modules building. It was important to achieve this strategy because so we can maximize the solar gain during winter times which will greatly reduce the need for electricity. Evergreen trees and overhangs will balance the heating gain for the building. And by having an operable window you can have natural ventilations coming into the building. These concept are optional but there are huge difference if these system where used or not. In case of not implementing these strategies the building will use a significant amount and energy which will add a large amount for the use of electricity. If these system were implemented the building will conserve more energy, and the technology will pay itself off over numbers of years.

In term of materials, all the materials that was use in the complex project contain recycle content. Materials like steel, wood, concrete contain high percentage of recycle content from local manufactures. Other material that brought to site is from local areas. The only none local material that was used is bamboo floors, but bamboo floors are very sustainable because it only take five years to grow.

In term of sustainable technologies, many was implemented such as: Green roof, Living Wall, Light color roof system, Rain water….etc. the main feature that was incorporate was Living wall. Living wall was one of the main features that were introduced to us this semester, and a lot of student also uses it in the complex project. I incorporate Living wall in the main atrium with the combination of skylight of my design. It became the focus of the building, and gather senior toward it. Living wall act as a system ventilation system in the building that will re-ventilate used are. Living wall inhale used air and release fresh air back into space. Skylight allow light to transmit so living roof can grow, creating an indoor garden feature for the senior in the atrium.

With every design there are also deficiencies along with the design. For my design I have few problems with the parking layout. Before I wasn't able to put my parking layout in the design because there are too little space for that, after doing some research I manage to change to parking layout to a one way parking with a 30 degree parking space layout. I design a unique approach toward my design; I have a three story central lounge in the building. There are 2 8-storey modules in the design that is being connected by the 3 storey central lounge. The main entrance is located on the central lounge, as you walk in from the main entrance there are large common space along with living wall. The lounge also has an atrium feature, the space is open to above and the roof is a curved skylight feature creating an indoor garden feature to the building. My main concept for this project is to create a high performance building design and create a comfortable and secure space for the seniors to live in.

2. Seniors population in Canada

The difference in life expectancy between women and men is currently narrowing.

Between 1981 and 2005, the share of persons aged 80 to 84 who were men increased from 37% to 39%.By 2021, men are projected to account for 43%of 80 to 84 year olds.

By 2056men are projected to increase to 46%.

3.0 Building Orientation and Layout

By using passive solar design strategies, windows, walls and floors are made to collect, store and distribute solar energy in form of heat in the winter. The goal is that to have a cost effective solar building and to take advantage of the local climate and by having an east-west building orientation. This idea was taken in the early process of senior's homes design by having the 3 atriums in the south side of the building. The atrium in the building will be the main source of light into the building using a series of mechanically assisted louvers to control solar heat gain where necessary. The placing of windows in the south facing elevation part of modules 1, 2 and 3 will help light and heat the building where appropriate, and by doing this there will be less mechanical lighting, heating required therefore less carbon dioxide will be release into the atmosphere. In order to minimize solar gain during summer times, we put mechanically assisted louvers to control solar heat gain. This was necessary to decrease the use HV/AC system during therefore less carbon dioxide produce. In addition the atrium has been stack ventilated through from exterior walls so there is constantly incoming fresh air to the building.

Figure 1

Figure Seniors Homes Project Site plan

3.1 Space Standards and layout

In this report the designer also researched books about elderly living that include design layouts. The main objective of this was to help the design team to get a better understanding of what an elderly housing looks like, as well as how housing for elderly comes together by means of basic layout. The books is Design of assisted living, 2007 by Victor Regnier, Home Design in an Aging Word, 2008 by Jeffrey Rosenfield and VNR Metric handbook of Architectural Standards, 1979 by Patricia Tutt and David Adler.

Appendix A.1 was the most general layout from Design of assisted living it contain simple rectangular rooms that a space can be easily accessible by seniors and it have enough space for the use of each person.

The common floor plan in A.2 had a simple design and kept the rooms and open spaces to square or rectangular shapes. The design is with a central usage area for the residents including living, dinning and kitchen area, and medical space with staff. This concept was discussed in the early phase of the design of the senior's homes. The design team agreed to use such idea since it was a layout that can be tinker around. The design team learned many units' layouts that were investigated were similar in a point of accessibility of the occupants with in the facility. The floor plan in fig 6 provided a space to accommodate many separate living areas for residents, which is located by a central lounge and amenities

The Seniors Housing Project design was based from the information gathered from the research. The design of the room and sized were base from VNR Metric Handbook of Architectural Standards. This include data about room types and size were taking from the book and placed in order to determine how much area should be allocated for each in room in the preliminary design as shown in fig 1

4.0 Program Requirements

Figure 3

This part of the building illustrates the building code requirements for the preliminary layout and design of the Senior Homes Project and its facility. It also provides an explanation of alteration made to the design for building code compliance. Using the Ontario Building Code 2006, the first things to do was to classify the facility for type of use and occupancy type. Then following the maximum allowable for area and height requirements, then a construction type was chosen for the facility was taken into thought.

4.1 Building Codes and Fire Protection

The Ontario Building Code 2006 is the most recognized building code establishment developed from using the National Building Code of Canada as a model. Since the building code is the law or regulation that sets forth for minimum and maximum requirements for the design and construction of building and structures.

4.2 Use and Occupancy Classification

The design layout of the seniors housing began with determining an overall occupancy classification. Since the design is based on construction of an elderly facility, the classification is considered in section group C, F2, A2, A4, D under 3.1.2.1(1) of the Ontario Building code. This section states that "every building or part of it shall be classified according to its major occupancy as belonging to one of the groups or divisions described in table 3.1.2.1." and according to 9.10.2.4 "in a building containing more than one major occupancy, where aggregate area of all major occupancies in a particular group or division shall not exceed 10% of the total floor area on the storey which they are located, they need not to be considered as major occupancies."

After further research with in OBC part 3 and 9, it was discovered that amenities within the building need to be taken into account. The design team listed that the amenities that would be included in the building to accomplish the rest of important step. This includes multi-use banquet room, library, fitness centre, pharmacy and health care area. The group listed is at A2, A4, D and F2. By definition in section 3.1. of the Ontario Building Code, "Assembly Group A2 occupancy includes the building, or portion thereof, for gathering together or persons for purposes such as civic, social or religious functions, recreations, food or drink consumption or waiting transportation"

4.3 Building Construction Material Type

The design team had agreed upon using a non-combustible construction would be an effective choice with a fire protection point of view for and elderly facility. Type II construction would provide some amount of protection when it came to the safety of the elderly residents inside the building with regards to fire protection. However, unprotected steel could pose a risk to life safety if it is not part of a structure with other fire-rated properties. Type IV construction offers another option; however, the minimal use of this construction type in the area and expensive cost to create and obtain timbers for adequate sizing directed us away from the use of heavy timber construction. Type V construction did not seem to have the necessary qualities to be used in the design and construction of the elderly facility since all areas would have to be framed in, whereas partitioning certain spaces would be much easier and more efficient. Finally the Type I is made up of concrete construction. The design team found this to have the most unrestricted allowance for height and area. The group had decided that, due to the nature of the elderly facility and its use, the Concrete construction would be sufficient for the design with regards to structural stability and fire protection purposes and concrete is less expensive building materials, the structural design surpasses the extent of our knowledge thus far for a facility design of this magnitude.

4.4 Conclusions

The use of the facility and the occupancy classification was found to be a vital part of the development. All the information from the Ontario Building Code was determined due to the classification group of each type of building. Together, the building classification and material type requirements led to to the establishment of construction type. All of these aspects is integrated in design of the Seniors Housing Project.

5.0 Sustainable Technology

The sustainable design strategies that was use in the seniors housing was natural ventilation, natural light, and high performance glazing and east west building orientation to maximize solar gain during the winter, furthermore Green roof, Living Wall, Light color roof system, and Rain water. The seniors housing building design will be aimed at conserving energy by retaining and reusing heat and lowering the carbon footprint by natural lights, ventilations and heat. The building has to be successful in this approach as it will be used as a seniors housing and inspired future sustainable senior's homes to be develop in such ways.

5.1 Natural Ventilation

All three modules has been designed shallow in plans so it can be naturally stack ventilated through from the exterior walls to pass out through the top of the atrium. And with opening windows to the streets and vents in the glazed partition walls to the atrium spaces, which spaces by the atrium will remain fresh and comfortable for the residence. Furthermore the heated air that passes to the atrium will rise through the roof vents. The cycle will be constantly bringing fresh air to internal space of the building without the use of duct work or large amounts of carbon dioxide production.

5.2 Natural Light

The atrium in the building will be the main source of light into the building using a series of mechanically assisted louvers to control solar heat gain where necessary. The placing of windows in the south facing elevation part of modules 1, 2 and 3 will help light and heat the building where appropriate, and by doing this there will be less mechanical lighting, heating required therefore less carbon dioxide will be release into the atmosphere.

5.3 High Performance Glazing

The external envelope of the senior's homes building along with the high performance glazing systems that will be used to preserve heat and naturally control at a constant temperature which aims to decrease energy consumption. In addition the central lounges in each floor will be connected to a module atrium space that will be partitioned using glazed system so it allows sunlight to pass through the atrium and into the space. Furthermore alternative heat required will be supplied through a biomass boiler system which will run some of the building waste products. In order to minimize solar gain during summer times, we put mechanically assisted louvers to control solar heat gain. This was necessary to decrease the use HV/AC system during therefore less carbon dioxide produce. In addition the atrium has been stack ventilated through from exterior walls so there is constantly incoming fresh air to the building.

5.4 Intensive Green Roof

Green roofs, also known as vegetated roof covers or eco-roofs, are thin layers of living vegetation installed on top of conventional flat or sloping roofs. Green roofs protect conventional roof waterproofing systems while adding a wide range of ecological and aesthetic benefits. They are a powerful tool in combating the adverse impacts of land development and the loss of open space. The challenge in designing extensive green roofs is to replicate many of the benefits of green open space.

Green Roofs have been widely recognized as providing significant private and public benefits to urban environments. These benefits include improved storm water control, better air quality, lower energy use, moderated summer air temperatures, increased biodiversity, and healthier, more beautiful cityscapes.

As results of the research it showed that green roofs provide significant environmental benefits in terms of flow control, water quality improvement and the creation of healthy green spaces. By retaining flow, reducing peak flows, and creating habitat for plants and animals, the roof mimics many of the life sustaining features of the natural environment.

The following recommendations for green roof design, maintenance, and research needs are based on the research of York University for green roofs.

Design

On buildings with sufficient structural support, flow restrictors should be used in conjunction with green roofs to help attenuate runoff peaks in the winter and early spring, when the garden is not retaining as much runoff.

As green roof substrates can be a significant source of phosphorus, growing media containing phosphorus-rich fertilizers or excessive nutrient levels should be avoided.

The chemical and leachate properties of growing media should be considered in the selection of green roof substrates. Potential constituents of concern may include phosphorus, nitrogen compounds, copper and other heavy metals.

Construction materials surrounding the garden should be selected to minimize leaching of chemicals (e.g. metals, wood preservatives) into runoff.

In order to maximize green roof biodiversity, a range of different substrate types and depths as well as irrigation regimes should be used. Planting should focus on species that are less likely to arrive on their own and that are adaptable to drought, wind, low nutrients, and sometimes alkaline soils. Fertilization of green roof soils should be avoided since the low-nutrient status on green roofs is beneficial to biodiversity because it favours stress-tolerant, specialized native flora over aggressive opportunistic species.

Minimizing garden runoff temperatures may require the use of more shading plants or another method that minimizes the exposure of the garden substrate to direct solar radiation.

5.4.1 Energy Efficiency

Green roofs have the potential to reduce energy used both in the heating and cooling of buildings. In the winter, a green roof acts as insulation on the roof and helps to maintain a comfortable ambient air temperature. Energy use for heating of the building is decreased as less heat escapes through the roof. During hot and sunny summer days, a green roof can remain cooler than a traditional roof surface due to the effects of evapotranspiration and shading. A cooler roof results in reduced heat flow into the building, and subsequently a decreased energy demand for air conditioning. Bass and Mizra (2002) found that, in southwestern Ontario, the demand for electricity increases by 3% for every 1°C above a threshold value of 18°C, which is when people turn on their air conditioners.

5.5 Living Walls

Due to heath related epidemics in the past 10 years, studies of indoor air quality are increasingly important in determining the possibility for alternative ventilation systems. One prospect is the implementation of a living wall to act as a natural filter for indoor air. The design team is to determine the feasibility for the implementation of a living wall in the Seniors Housing Project. As part of the design team investigation, we addressed living walls as a potentially effective method for improving air quality, and lowering energy costs. To this end, the new technology bio filtration can be applied. To clarify, living walls can be composed of plants on their own, serving to filter the air through their leaves and surface area. However, living walls with bio filters increase the capacity of air filtration. Bio filtration is defined as the process of drawing air in through organic material (such as moss, soil, and plants) resulting in the removal of organic gases (volatile organic compounds) and contaminants. Microorganisms inherent within the bio filter absorb, minimize, separate, break-down and transform dangerous compounds so as to re-circulate clean air. Up to 80% of dangerous compounds in indoor environments can be eliminated through the use of a biofilter (University of Guelph, 2002). The schematic diagram (Figure 4) below shows air being drawn into the plants and porous organic matter lining the bio filtration wall. As it filters through this organic matter, microbes break down harmful compounds and fresh air is drawn into a ventilation system and re-circulated into the room. This is where the cost savings are derived from. Besides cost savings, there are other numerous benefits to be had.

Figure 4

When our group decided to have a living wall in atrium so indoor air quality can be improve in the Seniors Housing Project, we decided to look at three different factors. Between the design group members, we had a limited amount of knowledge, but each of us had an idea of the structure and purpose of each of our research topics. The two components we decided to study were a living wall, and HVAC system. The objective of this research was to use these three systems in co-operation in an attempt to discover the best way to improve the air quality for the Seniors Housing project. We had very little knowledge of the structure of the living wall. We decided that we needed to research many different types of structures with the purpose of finding the structure that would be most feasible for our particular area for the senior housing.

Indoor air quality is an important issue from both a social and economic point of view. There are several design strategies that can be used to deliver good IAQ. Controlled ventilation, proper design, and the use of appropriate healthy building materials can provide good indoor air quality if used in as part of a holistic design approach. As part of a complete IAQ design strategy, so-called breathing walls can moderate indoor humidity and practically eliminate the potential for fungal growth on building surfaces.

As we began doing more research we came across many more things that we needed to decide on. We needed to decide what type of watering system we were going to implement and we also realized that we had to decide how to construct a living wall in an area which is not optimal for plant growth. When discussing the HVAC system, we discovered that it was crucial to understand what kinds of systems are currently being used in the building, realizing that we needed floor plans and air duct drawings so that we could properly assess the improvements that could be made, if any were required. As with the living wall, we needed to research the cost, maintenance and adjustments, if any, or initial requirements that would be required to improve the system. The research also needed to address the relationship that would occur between the HVAC system and the living wall. These two components are closely linked and we needed to research what systems would work best together and how they would interact. The building's HVAC system is important to understand because it allows us to be aware of what type of indoor air pollutants are emitted and therefore the plants in the living wall may need to be decided on based on their ability to absorb the specific emissions.

6.0 Site

The site is located at 684 Warden Avenue. It's just right above the main intersection of St. Claire and Warden (North-West). The site has a ravine and natural feature protection by-law on its south west part of the site. The site is approximately 12,845 square metres. The site has a beautiful view on its whole south west part of the lot. In my perspective I believe it will be viable to build a senior home on 684 Warden Avenue because of its accessibility to cable, phone, gas lines and such places as mall, transit system and some local retail/commercial places. Furthermore in order for the senior's homes project to achieve sustainable design for the site LEED design strategies were implemented.

SScr 4.1: Alternative transportation: public transportation, this requirement is achieve by have frequent bus terminal with the design site. The main concept behind this is to reduce carbon fuels.

SScr 4.2: Bicycle storage and Changing Room, this credit is achieve by providing a number is bicycle storage and change room to the building resident. Bicycle storage must exceed over 15% of the building resident, which encourage resident to travel the site by bicycle.

SScr 4.4: Alternative transportation: parking capacity, which provide the exact number of parking that requires on the site and having 10% of the parking used for carpooling.

SScr Credits from LEED are used as strategies designing the site of the Senior Housing Project.

7.0 Conclusions

The Main purpose of this project was to design a sustainable housing facility for elderly people that would meet the needs of the older community and to also provide the team with design experience.in order to achieve this goal a group of two person was formed as a series of objective that include research and design that consider the main aspects of the design.

The beginning of the research regarding the layout design and design of the facility, information was accumulated to help the team formulate a basis layout for the Seniors Homes Project. It was then determined independent living seniors housing would be me a more beneficial layout due to a centralized assisted living facility within the building. Independent living would provide residents with a sense of ownership and home-like experience while assisted living would attend to any short-term care taking services.

After building group has been establish we believe that the design of the facility should cover 410 residents rather the value of 450 on the project description. Ontario Building Code and Design of assisted living were used to direct our project through a building code analysis in order to understand the process in getting the facility built for comply in safety and efficiency. The analysis from the Ontario Building Code are, occupancy information, fire rating and construction type.

Finally research of sustainable elements was research and organized to be used in the building design. The design that was used are natural ventilation, natural light, and high performance glazing and east west building orientation to maximize solar gain during the winter, furthermore Green roof, Living Wall, Light color roof system, and Rain water systems.

All three modules has been designed shallow in plans so it can be naturally stack ventilated through from the exterior walls to pass out through the top of the atrium. Furthermore the heated air that passes to the atrium will rise through the roof vents. The placing of windows in the south facing elevation part of modules 1, 2 and 3 will help light and heat the building where appropriate. The external envelope of the senior's homes building along with the high performance glazing systems that will be used to preserve heat and naturally control at a constant temperature which aims to decrease energy consumption the atrium has been stack ventilated through from exterior walls so there is constantly incoming fresh air to the building. Green roofs, also known as vegetated roof covers or eco-roofs, are thin layers of living vegetation installed on top of conventional flat Green Roofs have been widely recognized as providing significant private and public benefits to urban environments. As results of the research it showed that green roofs provide significant environmental benefits in terms of flow control, water quality improvement and the creation of healthy green spaces. By retaining flow, reducing peak flows, and creating habitat for plants and animals, the roof mimics many of the life sustaining features of the natural environment. Green roofs have the potential to reduce energy used both in the heating and cooling of buildings. In the winter, a green roof acts as insulation on the roof and helps to maintain a comfortable ambient air temperature. Energy use for heating of the building is decreased as less heat escapes through the roof. During hot and sunny summer days, a green roof can remain cooler than a traditional roof surface due to the effects of evapotranspiration and shading.

The site is located at 684 Warden Avenue. It's just right above the main intersection of St. Claire and Warden (North-West). The site has a ravine and natural feature protection by-law on its south west part of the site. The site is approximately 12,845 square metres the site has accessibility to cable, phone, gas lines and such places as mall, transit system and some local retail/commercial places. Furthermore in order for the senior's homes project to achieve sustainable design for the site LEED design strategies were implemented.

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