Class of 2008 rulez!

Think Tank 2009 ain't got sh*t on us. :)
If you're reading this, you're nostalgic.


PS: Hi Martha!


Greenwall Proposal "B"

Greenwall Proposal "B"
2. Active Living Walls
by Ashley, Veronica, Amy and David

Our research into the HVAC system of the Sharp Centre showed us how fresh air is brought indoors and that we do not need to open windows (or want them open because air from a window would throw off the HVAC's feedback sensors that monitor room temperature and humidity). So, if the IAQ is excellent, what is the problem?

Heating and Cooling outdoor air burns fossil fuels

In the winter, cold fresh air must be heated before it can go into the building, and in the summer it must be cooled. This levelling of the outdoor air temperature to comfortable room temperature is carbon-intensive as well as costly, especially when one considers that the indoor air is refreshed several times per hour. To do this job the building's heating bill and eco-footprint must be enormous.

Thus! Our problem changed from a concern about IAQ to one of reducing the building's eco-footprint.

Active Living Walls: Let's make our own fresh air!
Greenwalls, or more precisely, "Active Living Walls" as patented by Nedlaw, the company that designed the Koffler Institute wall that I saw (above), are alternative sources of fresh air that replace outdoor air ventilation, and because the air stays indoors the HVAC doesn't need to heat or cool it as much, if at all. A Living Wall is a microcosm of the ecology of the world outside that replicates indoors what happens outdoors, namely those processes that generate the fresh air we breathe. How it works is that the air inside a building is pulled through the living wall where microbes (bacteria) thrive in a continuously moving film of water and as air meets water the microbes breakdown any contaminants like VOC's in the air before the HVAC recirculates the fresh air back into the (closed) loop. So, there you have it, people, fresh air all year long without heating or cooling it to the extent that we do now.

Ideal Location

Where is the most effective location for a living wall at OCAD? Right in your face as you walk through the doors! When you look up, there are walls that go up forever right up to the roof. Putting living walls left, right and centre would not get in anybody's way; and if that weren't enough, these walls face windows that bombard them with natural light all day long.

To prove my point, look at how well this little guy is doing!

Nedlaw told me that the Koffler wall cost about $35K to install. My own quick and rough calculation is that a wall the size of our proposal would be...let us say, several times more than that!
Though I imagine it would pay for itself very quickly, the daunting startup cost is why we finally went with Proposal "A", The Green Screen. However...

Opportunity knocks: The Bandwagon is coming!

Toronto to Host 2009 International Green Roof Congress
1000's of people will attend:
Landscape architects
Roofing Professionals
Policy Makers

And when one looks at who is on the advisory committee, who can doubt that green infrastructure is becoming mainstream:
  • Brian Denney, CAO, Toronto Regional Conservation Authority (TRCA)
  • Marian Fraser, President, Fraser & Company
  • Eva Ligeti, Executive Director, Clean Air Partnership
  • Peter Love, Chief Conservation Officer, Ontario Power Authority
  • Gord Miller, Environmental Commissioner of Ontario
  • Ken Ogilvie, Executive Director Emeritus, Pollution Probe
  • David O'Brien, President & CEO, Toronto Hydro
  • Scott Pegg, Environmental Policy Group, Ontario Ministry of Energy & Infrastructure
  • Anastasios (Tas) Venetsanopoulos, VP Research & Innovation, Ryerson University Toronto
  • Scott Wylie, President, Wytech Building Envelope Solutions / Chair, GRHC Ontario Chapter
It's a no brainer that our Greenwall Proposal "B" while expensive is not far fetched but is in fact very much in touch with the zeitgeist, and as such, if we proposed this next year funding would be thrown at our living wall from all directions. Then OCAD would be renowned not only for the hip Sharp Centre but also for our Living (and breathing) Wall.

I wasn't going to blog this since our group went with Proposal "A", but doing the presentation this morning put a spur into me blogspot.

THE GREEN SCREEN- david, amy, ash and ver

Above image is an example of what the green screen would look like

The problem we chose to address was not having any operable windows on the 5th floor. Causing a somewhat stuffy feeling in the atmosphere as this area becomes crowded with students.

We initially started off the with the idea of incorporating green walls to clean the air, add a more liveable feeling to the environment and natural elements to the busy stressful area.. After doing some research we discovered that it would not be feasable mainly due to cost issues, but we started analyzing the benefits and negatives of the green walls and decided to design a similar approach whereby the students could interact with it, but with similar benefits to the green wall.

We came up with the green screen which is a planter box on wheels with a trellis in it and climbing plants (vines) growing up and on it. This model would be not higher than six feet and is multifunctional, posing as a partition wall which may provide privacy depending on its arrangement. With the student interaction by moving this device we also decided to incorporate other features such as seating and additional desks to create a workspace. Smalll trickling portable fountains can also be incorporated to add a blissful acoustic. This device being modular allows for the air quality to be cleaned not in one, but many areas.

The plants we have chosen that work best with the 'green screens' is called pothos. Which is an evergreen leafy vine, easy to grow, climbing on any surface. It is low maintenance due to the fact that it can receive in-frequent watering. There is no need for fertilizer and it is adaptable to almost any environment, therefore it can be in full light or dark shade. This plant also has minimal to no insects, is odor free and contains no pollen for those who suffer from allergies.

The ' green screen' can be moved to any area of the school, most helpful in environments dealing with harmful materials that release toxins into the air. This inexpensive design would be very effective and will make the overall atmosphere (of where it is placed) a more relaxing, comfortable area.

OCAD Solar PV Project

by: Steven, Leo & Guia (Group #4)

Horse Palace Live Feed
Includes a brief introduction on the Horse Palace Solar PV Project, Live Data Feedback, Webcam & How the system works.

How It's Made : Solar Panels
A Discovery Channel segment on how solar panels are made.

Little Zen Gardens


Group 3---katie lau, katherien chu, joanna ng

The most important thing in the garden is the soil; if without good soil there will be no good products. There are 3 main types of soil: clay, sandy and loam. Clay soils have small particles that hold moisture and nutrients. They warm up and cool down slowly. Sandy soils have larger particles. They change temperature, are light in texture, and drain water and nutrients quickly. Adding compost to sandy soil helps it hold moisture and conserve nutrients. Loam is a soil type that is the combination of sandy and clay soil therefore it is also an organic soil. It holds nutrients and moisture, and yet drains well. Most likely we will want to work with loam soil. We can get this soil in Home depot or wal mart.

There are some plant that is easy to take care of, like Boston ivy and Morning glory. We are planning to put a fence onto the wall and plant them on the ground, and they will grow very healthy. They are both perennial plants, which means they can live more then two years. Then the OCADer can enjoy the beautiful view that ivy and morning glory created.

Organic Fertilizers VS Lab-made Fertilizers
Organic fertilizers are by products or the remains of natural things. These by products range from manure, to animal blood. These products may sound scary or disgusting but they are a part of the cycle of life. Some of these organic fertilizers can be found at home, something we would throw out, one of which is egg shells. We can sprinkle egg shells onto the soil of our plants to help fertilize them. Organic fertilizers can be used as nutrients for the plants and can help them grow. When we use Organic Fertilizers we improve the amount of minerals that are in the soil, making the soil more capable of holding water for the plants. The organic fertilizers provides more places for micro organisms to grow, so they help break down the nutrients in the soil, thus increasing soil quality. The organic fertilizers make for stronger soil structures, resulting in more oxygen getting into the soil. The organic fertilizers also are slow to have their nutrients leached away.
Lab-made fertilizers may have higher concentrations of nutrients, but that’s all they have. They also costly.The Lab-made fertilizers usually cannot provide all the things that Organic fertilizers do. The worst of the things that Lab-made fertilizers do is they do not prevent leaching as much as Organic fertilizers. When nutrients are leached away into the water supply they have many adverse effects on the amphibious creatures. The chemicals in plant fertilizers also help algae grow.. When algae grows uncontrollably it takes up a lot of oxygen in the water, because plants need to breath too. When this happens, the fish in the water end up dying because they don’t have enough oxygen. When there is too much algae it blocks out the sun and other amphibious creatures die too.

Organic Pesticides VS Lab-made Pesticides
When we use pesticides to kill bugs we affect the natural cycle of life. When we use Lab-made pesticides we are killing all the bugs in the area. These pesticides kill all of the bugs all right, but they are killing the bugs that help our plants grow. Insects help stimulate plant growth by drinking nectar or by pollinating the plants. Lab-made pesticides also seep into the soil and cause pollute the drinking water. Pesticides also are harmful to pets and animals so it is not good to use Lab-made pesticides. Organic Pesticides wont affect other organisms and they wont pollute the environment.

We can make organic pesticides easily many ways. We can use exhausted ground coffee beans by leaving it out in the sun and stirring it everyday for ten days, after that we can use it to kill insects by sprinkling it into the soil. The coffee beans can also be left in the sun for 3 or 4 days, then mixed with soil to produce pest repelling soil. This is because the caffeine in coffee beans destroys the insects nervous systems, so the insects will stay away from it. This is evident in coffee farms, coffee farms have very little insects because of the effect caffeine has on them. Another thing that can be used to kill pests are garlic, pepper, onion, and ginger. One or some of these can be added to a small amount of soap water to kill germs and fungus.

We are also planning to form a club name Green Club. Students in OCAD can join this group. In this group, you will learn some knowledge of environment, how to plant flowers and vegetables, learn how to make organic fertilizer and pesticide. Moreover, we will create some events, for example, in Christmas, students could plant ever-green, Christmas trees, and decorate them. The knowledge that students learn not only apply for OCAD but also their house, or even the community. It is because through the learning process, they might interest in planting stuff, so they would willing to plant stuff maybe in their front yard or backyard.

Get-smart, get a new smart student id now! :) (timothy lee and stephanie yiu)

Ever had an experience that you just ran out of change to buy tokens from the subway station? Or in worst case that you also didn’t have dollar bills in your wallet as well?

Ever thought every time accessing the printing machines, photocopy machines at OCAD are very time consuming in terms of the long process in every stage of the execution to in order to accessing the machines?

To save all the wasted resources and time, yet making OCAD community a more convenience and efficiency place, we are happy to present you the high end technology mini chip sensor combined with the OCAD student ID card. With this combination of high end technology and wisdom, by simply carrying the brand new smart student card, all the issues would be resolved easily.

-Accessing TTC services even if you ran out of money.

-Accessing photocopy and printing machines without having to add money value to student account before hand in order to do so.

- Rechargeable machines are now available at all the TTC stations and OCAD stationeries.

So what are you waiting for? The revolution has just begun.

Solar Panels on OCAD’s Sharp Centre for Design

By: Steven, Leo, & Guia (Group #4)

Like many institutions, OCAD shares the need for energy to power numerous lighting systems, powering laptops, charging cellphones and many more. These are all systems made for the convenience and comfort of OCAD students and staff. After researching about different forms of renewable energy, we have decided that it’s about time OCAD install solar panels on top of the Sharp Centre for Design.

Why Solar Panels?
The roof of the Sharp Centre is the perfect location for installing solar panels. It is not overshadowed by any building and thus, has unblocked access to daylight all year-round. There are a lot of unused space aside from some ventilation and tubing systems that run in different directions.
In addition, the surplus of energy that is harvested through the solar panels could be sold back to Toronto’s energy grid for 42 cents per kW.

What are Solar Panels?
Solar panels consist of interconnected solar cells, arranged on a flat surface, that captures energy from the sun to produce heat and electricity . It is the most popular form of renewable energy and comes in two types: solar thermal and solar photovoltaic. Solar thermal uses sunlight to heat up water, which then produces steam and turns a turbine to produce electricity. Solar photovoltaic collects solar radiation and actively converts this energy to electricity. For this particular solar panel installation, we suggest the use of solar photovoltaic systems.

Technical Specifications:
OCAD's Table Top Dimensions : 31 m wide by 84 m long
Total Surface Area: 2604 square metres
Estimated Usable Surface Area (minus the walk-space, ventilation & tubing systems) : 1302 square metres

We contacted numerous solar energy companies and here are those that were kind enough to take our questions:

1. Eco Alternative Energy
What is the energy capacity generated by one panel?
Each 1.58 by 0.81 m panel will generate approximately 170 W/hour and costs $1100.
Would snow be a problem?
No, this is one of the reasons why the panels are tilted at a 20 to 34 degree angle. The snow should be able to slide off the panels. Although it is recommended that snow be brushed off the panels after a heavy snowfall.
How are they installed?
Each panel weighs 34.1 pounds or 15.5 kg. Crossbars are installed together with support beams all along the roof. Thus, the wright of the panels would be evenly distributed all across the roof.

2. Carmanah (Richard Wayte)
What is the energy capacity generated by one panel?
Each 1.5 m by 2.5 m panel will generate up to 250 W/hour and costs $1000 without installation.
Would snow be a problem?
Light snowfalls can easily slide off the angled panels while heavy snowfalls would require a brush off. Nevertheless, the issue is not as big as it seems since the amount of energy generated during winter time is at its lowest. Hence the loss is not as great.
Would OCAD be able to support the weight of the panels?
Richard Wayte from Carmanah stated that during his entire career, he has never encountered such a problem. Each panel weighs from 30-50 pounds. The issue however might be about how the panels are fastened to the building. One way would be to use a weight to support the panels. The other way is to use an anchor and penetrate the roof. This, says Wayte, might not be feasible everywhere, and not every client has agreed to that.

3. Solera
What is the energy capacity generated by one panel?
A panel generating 200W is usually 1.319 by 0.894 metres, with a thickness of 35 millimeters. For a grid type setup, which includes insulation, cables, the panels and the installation, it would cost $12 500 per kW installed. For a panel that is 30 degrees tilted, 3kWhours will be produced per kW installed. This makes approximately 600 Watts hours/day for each 200 Watts panels.
Would snow be a problem?
Snow should not be a problem, at least not for Southern Ontario. They should be sloped to 30-40 degrees and if snow covers the panel, it will usually melt from the heat. Moreover, the panels are built to resist hurricanes in the States. They are covered with a layer of thick glass and hence very resistant and strong.
Would OCAD be able to support the weight of the panels?
Buildings are engineered to be able to support any kinds of weight, so that should not be a problem.

Of all three companies, we decided to go with the Carmanah group due to the extensive size of their panels for a reasonable price. The Carmanah group is also responsible for the solar installation on the Horse Palace building at Exhibition Place.

Total Cost & Break Even Point
Using the Horse Palace Exhibition as a comparison with our proposal, their Solar PV Project costs around $1.1 million for 536 solar modules on 15 368 square feet space. In metres, that'll be roughly 1428 square metres. Approximately 91% of Horse Palace's total space is what we propose to be used for OCAD's own Solar PV Project. Our estimated total cost for OCAD's solar project is $1 000 000 give or take.

According to a CBC Toronto Feature on Solar Revolution by Paul Shervill, it may take about 20 years to recoup investments on solar energy. This is evident in a Horse Palace case study where "The project cost a total of $1.1 million. Annual electricity revenues are expected to be $50,000. The simple payback would be 22 years if the 42 cents per kW hour were paid for 22 years. (source: Ontario's Standard Offer Program)" This is where incentives like the Better Building Partnership of Toronto comes in to help encourage people to use clean energy.

Fundraising & Incentives
OCAD Sustainability Task Force
As of 2008/2009, the task force budget includes $518,000 "allocated to conduct sustainability energy audit and implementation of audit." (source: OCAD Website)

Federation of Canadian Municipalities; Green Municipal Fund
Provides grants related to projects that include sustainable community plans, which includes an energy sector of green buildings (retrofits and new construction. The assessment criteria is specific to each call for application. They can provide loans and loans with grants for up to 80% of total costs with loans of up to $20 million and grants up to $2.5 million. (source: CSCD-GMF Funding)

Toronto Atmospheric Fund
Public institutions such as universities like OCAD are eligible for TAF grants. They have a specific strategic program area called SolarCity that encourages building local solar generation capacity. Their three granting categories are as follows:
* Concept Development (up to $10,000 to fully assess a program concept)
* General (up to $100,000), or
* Incubation (up to $100,000 annually for up to three years to sustain a significant emissions reduction program) (source: TAF Website)

Better Building Partnership of Toronto
BBP is an incentive program that attempts to reduce the city's electricity demand by 70 MW through a conservation. "The incentive is up to $400 per kW of peak demand reduction, or up to $0.05 per kWh of annual energy savings depending on the size of the project. Incentive payments are limited to 40% of total Eligible Costs." (source: BBP-ECI-Program-Guidelines.Feb08.pdf)

Marissa and Lilian's OCAD's Plastactic

OCAD's Plastactic 
Our Big Idea is to raise awareness about the amount of plastics we consume within our soctiey. We are not trying to make people feel bad about the problem, but show how bad the problem is and in turn give them an alternative to better the situation at hand. Hopefully this helps people from buying plastic water bottles. Bottled water is the single largest growth area among all beverages; This includes alcohol, juices and soft drinks. Per Capita consumption has more than doubled over the last decade.

For our Idea we plan to set up an area in Butterfield Park where students from the student union or those students who volunteer for the cause will be working on shifts. They will be guarding the large mountain of plastic bottles. They will also be there for people to sign up and tallying how many bottles people bring per day. Posters will be the first thing distributed around the school and community and flyers will be distributed two weeks prior to the event. There will also be a large banner to show people where to sign up for this event. This event is to raise awareness mainly for OCAD students but also to show our local community the amount of waste produced from plastic bottles. At the end of this event there will be a huge mountain of wasted plastic bottles. Hopefully this will leave an impact on the students and show the devastating amount of waste caused  by water bottles. Unfortunately there is no refund for plastic water bottles. So they would be transported to recycling. This idea is not meant to solve the problem entirely but change the way people look at the issue. If we give 50 people free OCAD water bottles that they can keep for years, this will eliminate 50 more people from buying 50 plastic water bottles.

metro passes (caroline, jonah, stephanie)

Metro pass information:
buy a Metro pass from the 24th day of the prior month until the fourth working day of the month .Students: Is only valid with a TTC Student Discount Card Photo ID.
Monthly Metropass regular price: $109.00 ( anyone that does not fit into the student or senior)
Monthly Metropass student/senior price: $91.2 ( for students from the age of 13-19)
Student pass has to have a photo ID card to accompany it at all times.
Post-secondary school students (university or college) may not use the card.
To get the card is a huge process to get it.
Talk to Student Union:
They send out an email to make people aware that you can sign up to get next months metro pass.
Students either:
sign up in the front lobby in the main building for 2 hours students come and bring exact change for their ticket.Students go to student union with exact change.
Another email is sent out when the bus passes arrive for the people that have ordered them may go pick them up and if there is extra then it is first come first serve.
The union orders 118 passes for the entire school, if more is needed then they order more. (not a lot)They offer the card for 98$ instead of 109$. Students save 11$.
Problems with the Metro Pass after talking to the Student Union:
The OCAD solution is the best solution for university students. The TTC is not university student friendly, It offers to younger students in high school.
Younger students that can get the discount card have to go throw a very long process to get the Photo ID discount card. If they have this card they can get the metro pass for 91.50$.
In Montreal there are 2 discount cards offered. For students under 18 years old and then and intermediate for students from 18-25.
The STM comes to your school at the beginning of the year for a few days to take pictures and you get your card right away.
If you miss this day you have to have a letter from your school and go to Berri-uqam metro station and they give you the card right away.
How to improve the Student metro pass at OCAD:
The TTC does not offer university students a reduced bus/metro pass.
OCAD offers a reduced metro pass that students can purchase throw the school for 98$ instead of 109$.
This is the best offer that a university student in Toronto can get.
Make OCAD students more aware of the reduced bus that the school has because most students do not open this email.
Create posters and instead of only selling the pass for 2 hours in the month having the sign up during events that the school is having.
On a large scale if OCAD teamed up with other Toronto universities and try to get the TTC to create an intermediate pass like in Montreal. The metro pass should be the same as high school students. University students pay for the pass themselves.
The process for a student to get the card should be less complicated and improved from what it is now for high school students.
( we also created 2 posters but they blogger is not able to up load them.)

The Beginning of the End

a poster to make you think about what you have learned this year and also what you can learn from a tree and your surroundings. A hand-out will be given in class, do what you want with it, ask yourself the question, What is your tree. Scribble, draw rip it up, all what it wanted here is to think about it. A tree holds a lot of answers.

thanks for the open ears!

Making OCAD and Our Local Community a Better Place by Alfred Wong, Stewart Shum

Last month, OCAD sponsored a program called 'Green Exchange' which provided an opportunity for people to divert end-of-life electronics away from the landfill sites. We were successful at recycling 3000lbs of e-waste. In addition people also had the opportunity to select and re-use some of the electronic equipment. So what happened after that Green Exchange?

OCAD will continue to collect used batteries, cell phones and printer cartridges for proper recycling. Collection boxes are located outside of the Service Bureau (Level 2 and Level 6 of 100 McCaul Street) and outside 317e, the Store for Computers and Books (Level 3, 100 McCaul Street).

Ongoing Challenges: E-waste occurs on an ongoing basis and it tends to clutter our basements, storage areas and other parts of our offices and homes until we find a way to dispose of it. There are a number of recycling depots that will accept E-Waste throughout the GTA but if it is not convenient for people, the E-Waste likely sits and gathers dust. What else can be done? Here's our proposal: OCAD to sponsor, and coordinate an ongoing 'Green Exchange' program 2-4x per year. Our model is based upon a three-prong approach:
  • Partnerships
  • Communication
  • Planning & Organization

We are looking for partners to assist us in the development, execution and maintenance of the E-Waste Recycling program. The partners that we are focusing on are:
  • E-Waste Recyclers
  • Community
  • OCAD

We are seeking to help the community understand the damage to the environment by not disposing of E-Waste in a responsible manner.
  • Education
  • Identity
  • Awareness
Planning & Organization:

Planning & organization is critical to the sustainability and ongoing maintenance of the program. Our three areas of focus are:
  • Volunteers
  • E-Waste Program Development
  • Information Systems


Sustainability task force at OCAD

Some of you have taken your proposals to Lewis Nicholson, a faculty member who leads the OCAD Sustainability Task Force. Well done. We need student members -- LIKE YOU -- on the task force. Let me know if you are interested in real action - and committing some of your time, talent, and energy to create change at OCAD!


AGO favourite

MARK PRENT born in Montreal 1947
Titled: Summer of '71, Fishing with Jimmy John and Fraser 1972

This is the most memorable piece at the AGO for me. Its grotesque form stimulates my memories of fishing in the Ontario wilderness a few summers back. It captures and resurrects the tension of hopelessly being attached by mosquitoes (bees in his case). You can't run, or hide.


solar energy follow up, images + website

This is the follow up blog post from aleks, haomin, kaylyn and sarah

Here is an image of the solar panels currently in place at the horse palace, you can view their performance here: http://view2.fatspaniel.net/FST/Portal/TorontoHorsePalace/


Main Facade Retrofit

A comprehensive and detailed proposal is nearly finished.

Vicenta, Alex, and Maxim


OCAD's Existing HVAC System

Greenwall Proposal
1. Preliminary Research
by Ashley, Veronica, Amy and David

How does our existing HVAC system circulate indoor air?

Air enters and exits the 5th and 6th floors through vents. In the common area the vents are hanging overhead. The vents in the foreground are drawing in stale air, the vents in the background are supplying fresh air. They go through separate pipes connected to the.....

The workhorses of the HVAC system are the rooftop units which circulate the air.

The manufacturer of the Sharp Centre's HVAC system is Trane. This computerized equipment maintains precise control of the variables of Indoor Air Quality (IAQ):
  • temperature
  • humidity
  • particulate count
  • fresh air volume and circulation

The system is timed to shut down at 1am daily when the building is closed.
This is RTU 6-8 (Rooftop Unit, 6th floor, unit 8). Each floor requires 8 units to circulate the air, each RTU services about 3 rooms.

The RTU's exhaust, where the stale air exits.

And the RTU's supply, where fresh air is drawn in.
This particular RTU has a special job. It only handles the air along the perimeter of the building's interior.

Natural gas line. Used by the RTU's for heating the air.
RTU. Panel open. Yellow gas line. Air filter.


Air filter made by American Air Filter. These are changed every 1-4 months by an outside company that inspects and maintains the HVAC system.

I did not see the filter part #...however, air filters are rated according to MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value), from MERV 1 to MERV 16. Hospitals will have MERV 14 and up. However, as stated above, IAQ is not just about filters. There is a multiply of variables.

According to the EPA poor IAQ can affect mental functioning and "sick building syndrome" is a major cause of illnesses leading to absenteeism.

Noise Pollution

This cylindrical housing is a baffle that soundproofs the unit because its operating noise levels can sometimes exceed city limits and such noise pollution would be unbearable for people who live in the building directly across the street.


Solar energy model!

This shows how the solar panels would look on the roof of OCAD, facing south (to get the most sunlight) at a 45 degree angle.

Made by me, Sarah. :)