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Wednesday, May 28, 2003

  • BMH addition priced at $4.25 million
  • Solar panel coming on Fed Hall
  • They're doing something about spam
Chris Redmond

Oh, to be in the Annapolis Valley

BMH addition priced at $4.25 million

Another addition to B. C. Matthews Hall will start late this year, if UW's board of governors gives its approval on Tuesday.

[BMH panorama] Diagrams attached to the board agenda show a wing jutting out on the north (ring road) side of BMH, which was built in three stages so far: a 1971 core, a 1984 addition and the 1999 Lyle Hallman Institute. The photo at left shows BMH from the south side.

BMH -- originally the "Administrative Services Building", renamed twenty years ago to honour former president Burt Matthews -- is now the home of the faculty of applied health sciences. The new wing will provide more research and office space for AHS.

The Kitchener firm Rieder, Hymmen & Lobban Inc. did the design for the new wing, which, UW architect Dan Parent explains, "is a two storey addition at the north end of Burt Matthews Hall and the structure will accommodate a future third floor. The exterior elevations and fenestration are designed to complement the existing building. The finishes will match or enhance the present building envelope."

The board is being told that a three-storey design will also be drawn up, and if enough funding is available by the time the work starts, all three storeys can be built at the same time.

Says Parent: "A prominent entrance will provide easy access to the Applied Health Sciences Complex from the Ring Road and the junction of the buildings will create an interesting and relaxing outdoor courtyard. The interior will consist of research and office space. Elevator access will be from the adjoining BMH building.

"The project will cost approximately $4.25 million and will have a gross floor area of approximately 14,500 sq.ft." That would make it a bit smaller than Federation Hall. Occupancy is planned for the fall of 2004.

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  • Solar panel coming on Fed Hall -- from the Solar Technology Education Project

    STEP is pushing ahead to achieve its goal of installing a photovoltaic solar array on campus. "Our goal is to use this solar array as a full scale demonstration project to raise awareness about renewable energies and climate change," says Jeff DeLoyde, a fourth-year environmental engineering student and STEP's director. "We're proof that anyone with a dream and passion to see that dream come to life can make it happen."

    The STEP team is only one small step away from realizing its dreams. Members have already spent over a year successfully fundraising their target of $25,000. These funds were donated by 17 sponsors, including the City of Waterloo, the City of Cambridge, ARISE Technologies Corporation, Ontario Power Generation, Toyota, Stantec Consulting Ltd., Union Gas, Conestoga Rovers and Associates, JKL Microdistribution, and other UW groups.

    The team, made up of over 20 volunteer students and professors, has now launched its design phase. "We're pursuing an aggressive schedule to design this 36-panel solar array and get it up on the roof of Fed Hall by late June," explains Chris Hadlock, a fourth-year mechanical engineering student and leader of STEP's design team.

    The photovoltaic panels, provided by local solar energy company ARISE Technologies Corporation, will be mounted on Federation Hall. "This will be the first student-designed solar array on a university campus in Canada," Hadlock says.

    The solar array will be 2 kilowatts in size and produce about 2,500 kilowatt hours a year of clean, free electricity. "This is enough power to meet two-thirds of the electricity needs of an energy efficient home," says David Elzinga of ARISE.

    The electricity produced will be tied to the university's utility grid using a cutting-edge process called net-metering. Instead of storing power in batteries, as would be done in a remote cottage application for example, the electricity produced by the solar array will be continuously fed into the university's utility grid and used where it is needed. In this way, the energy is always being used to its full capacity.

    Annually, the solar array will prevent over 1,200 kg of carbon dioxide from polluting the air by eliminating the need to produce that energy using traditional methods such as fossil fuels. This emission-free electricity is important in Waterloo Region, since this area has been dubiously recognized as having some of the poorest air quality in Canada, according to the Citizens' Advisory Committee on Air Quality.

    STEP hopes that its community-based approach to cleaner air and climate change awareness will inspire others to take action. Indeed, Community Renewable Energy Works, a local non-profit organization, has already taken the lead in exploring the potential for solar, wind, and micro-hydro projects in Waterloo Region. And the City of Waterloo has committed $30,000 to the development and installation of a PV solar array on City Hall. "This innovative pilot project will show that the municipal government is taking a lead role in providing clean air solutions," says Ron Ormson, environmental co-ordinator for the City of Waterloo.

    Another local initiative is the partnership between Cook Homes and ARISE to build Canada's first solar neighbourhood. This neighbourhood of 10 to 15 homes will be located in the Eastbridge area of Waterloo. The model home, at the corner of Woolwich Place and University Avenue East, is already open. These homes are equipped with a 3.2 kW PV solar array and are built to energy efficient R2000 standards. This will cost the homeowner a premium of about $20,000, which is less than half the cost of the solar array, thanks to federal government support of this project.

    "As photovoltaics become mainstream and the demand for this elegant technology increases, prices will continue to drop and homeowners will benefit," says Elzinga.

    What's happening today

    It's the first day of employer interviews for fall term co-op jobs. Interviews will continue through June 13.

    The career development seminar series today presents "Thinking About Graduate Studies" at 2:30 and "Career Decision-Making" at 3;30. Registration is through the career services web site.

    Ming Li of the school of computer science will speak at 3:30 (Davis Centre room 1304) about his research on the "evolutionary history" of chain letters (or genomes, or student assignments).

    They're doing something about spam

    A new piece of software is going to change my life tomorrow.

    Information systems and technology says they'll be installing SpamAssasin, an open source filtering program for e-mail, tomorrow on watserv1.uwaterloo.ca, the machine where I get most of my mail. It's been in use on some other UW machines for several months -- first on IST's own mail server, more recently on watarts and admmail, and perhaps others.

    [Spam animation] A faculty member who's been making use of the new tool on watarts tells me that friends who don't have it available to them are "green with envy. . . . The new filtering system removes 90% of spam and that represents more than 60% of my email."

    If you use e-mail, you're likely familiar with the spam genre: uninvited messages that urge you to check out sexy web sites, help launder vast sums of money from Nigeria, enjoy low mortgage interest rates or enlarge selected body parts. "I have noticed in the last three months that spam on campus has increased remarkably," the aforesaid faculty member says, adding, "I don't know a single professor or staff person who doesn't complain about the increase."

    Me either. So I will look forward to the installation of SpamAssassin, which will label each piece of suspected spam with the word SPAM in the subject line, and make it easy for me to siphon all those items off to a separate folder where they can be looked over and junked at leisure. A feature to protect against computer viruses, which sometimes arrive as e-mail attachments, is also part of the package.

    "We're sure that many of you will be pleased with these changes," Pat Lafranier of IST said in a notification to watserv1 users yesterday. At the same time, IST continues to warn that it's waging an "ongoing struggle" to stop spam, and no one tool is the whole answer.


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