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The Ontario Construction Report – February 2009 – PAGE OCR A7
Guided by
Lapointe’s northern roots show in sustainable green designs
STAFF WRITER – The OCR Construction Report Special Feature
Since 2001 Lapointe Architects has been using green
technologies, materials and construction methods to match
building design with locally available skills and resources.
The Fifth Town Artisan Cheese Factory in Prince Edward
County is one of those unique projects. Not only did Fran-
cis Lapointe and his team develop a specialty manufactur-
ing facility, the award-winning design offers a thoughtful
transformation of space.
The biggest hurdle was budget. “I had developed a rela-
tionship with the owners when I built their home so when
we discussed the factory, the idea was to make it green from
the inside out,” Lapointe said. “But the concept was for
more than just the building; we also wanted to make sure
the entire cheese-making process was energy-efficient, and
that materials used were recyclable, right down to the type
of wrapping.”
Like most challenging projects there were pitfalls. Cost
estimates were high because of the complexity of the build-
ing. “We wanted to make it both architecturally green and
mechanically green.”
That meant Lapointe had to learn how to make cheese
and especially how to manage temperature and humidity.
Then find the right processes to make it all work and still
design a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental
Design) building. “We had to do our research,” Lapointe
said. “I traveled to other cheese factories in the United
States, gathered a lot of data until I finally ‘got’ it.”
The result is a 4,600 sq.-ft. facility that opened in the
summer of 2008 and is expected to achieve Platinum certi-
fication under LEED in February. The multipurpose build-
ing combines manufacturing, retail and educational spaces
that integrates the methods of traditional cheese making
with a contemporary approach. A series of rectangular vol-
umes clad in wood, steel and concrete block are spectacu-
lar, set off by the hilly agrarian landscape of the surrounding
area. “It was a rewarding project and the awards that it has
garnered have been great.”
The factory has won four awards. Since the Fifth Town
Artisan Cheese Factory makes substantial use of wood in
its various forms, it won the 2008 Wood WORKS! Green
Building Wood Design Award. Lapointe used Durisol’s
stay-in-place wall form system made from waste wood
chips; reclaimed wood from local barns and more than 55
per cent FSC certified lumber and sheet goods. Wood chips
were used to promote natural cultivation in the herb gar-
dens and constructed wetlands.
The second was the Award of Excellence from the Cana-
dian GeoExchange Coalition for its innovative use of geot-
hermal technology. The technology recognized by this
award was a 12 ton Ice Kube water-to-water heat geother-
mal pump which works by transferring heat from areas re-
quiring cooling (i.e. the refrigerators) to areas requiring heat
(i.e. the hot water tanks). When there is an excess or defi-
ciency in heat, the heat pump draws a glycol-water mixture
from the 1,600-meter (5,250 feet) long underground slinky
loop, thereby making use of the earth’s thermal mass.
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