Three-day Large Building Airtightness Testing Training

January 13, 2017

airtightAlthough the concept was almost unknown in the design and construction industry 25 years ago, is now widely recognized as one of the most critical parameters affecting a building’s performance in terms of energy use, comfort, indoor air quality and durability.

Recognition of the importance of reducing air leakage first occurred in the low-rise housing sector and has since spread to the commercial building sector. The need for airtightness was initially seen only as an energy issue since uncontrolled air leakage can create a significant energy penalty. However, it was soon realized that there are additional benefits including building durability improved comfort, improved indoor air quality and reduced noise transmission.

The large building airtightness testing workshop will educate the students on the

differences between residential and commercial tests; building science and driving forces of air leakage; testing standards and code requirements; test considerations and planning; and required materials and equipment. The final part of the workshop will focus on the setup and use of blower door equipment. It will conclude with a full live test of the CARSI building at Red River College, which will incorporate diagnostic tools and analysis/reporting of the test data.

Course Date and Cost

Dates: February 22-24, 2017
Times: 8:30 am to 4:30 pm (2 pm on Feb.24th to allow for travel)
Cost: $1,495 + GST
Course Code: TRAD-9017
Course cost includes: parking, lunch and morning coffee.

For more information, contact Rob Spewak at 204-632-2357 or

To register, contact Katrina Florendo at 204-632-2195 or

Cancellation Policy

Students who withdraw from a course seven or less days before the start of a course will be charged a $100 cancellation fee.

About the Instructors – Cory Carson, Kevin Knight, Gary Proskiw

Cory Carson, a Mechanical Engineering Technologist, has over 5 years’ experience in applied research related energy efficiency and has tested over 40 large buildings for airtightness. Kevin Knight, a building envelope authority, has over 30 years’ experience in field observation and testing, commissioning, research, education and training. Gary Proskiw is a mechanical engineer with 40 years’ experience; he has conducted hundreds of airtightness tests on houses and commercial buildings and has been active in code and standard development.

Download this form for registration: TechSolutionsRegistration

*Filling out the form: Please make sure that the course name and course code are indicated on the form.



Two-day WUFI Workshop

January 13, 2017

wufiWUFI® is an acronym for Wärme Und Feuchte Instationär—which, translated, means heat and moisture transiency.

Today’s residential and commercial building envelopes in North America are required to be energy efficient, which mainly means the envelope needs to meet R value and air tightness requirements. Practical experience in the last decades all over the world and physical principles show that a higher risk of moisture failures go along with these energy efficiency requirements.

The WUFI® Workshop will educate the students in the principles of building science, based on the latest research as well as train them how to do hygrothermal performance assessments using the WUFI® tool to eventually design a durable building envelope. Effects like material properties, climate regions, indoor moisture generation are shown and their impact on the durability discussed. ASHRAE Standard 160 will be introduced as a basic guideline on how to apply “Criteria for Moisture-Control Design Analysis in Buildings”.

Course Dates and Cost

Dates: February 14 and 15, 2017
Times: 8:30 am to 4:30 pm
Location: Red River College, Notre Dame Campus – 2055 Notre Dame Ave.
Cost: $850 + GST
Course Code: WRKS – 9121
Course cost includes: parking, lunch and morning coffee.

For more information, contact Tammy Harper at 204-632-2942 or

To register, contact Louise Wood at 204-632-3017 or

About the Instructor – Manfred Kehrer

Manfred has been active in the field and heat and moisture analysis in Building Science for more than 25 years. After many years of scientific work at Fraunhofer IBP, Germany, where he was leading the WUFI® software development as well as conducted laboratory measurements, he worked for the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, TN, USA, for five years as a Sr. Researcher in Building Science. Since early 2016, he is president of the start-up company justSmart Solutions LLC in the field of building science consulting and acts as the Official WUFI® Collaboration Partner for USA and Canada. Mr. Kehrer is a voting member of several ASHRAE and ASTM committees and on the editorial board of the “Journal of Building Physics”.

Download this form to register: TechSolutionsRegistration

*Filling out the form: Please make sure that the course name and course code are indicated on the form.


Building Envelope Technology Access Centre Open House

September 20, 2016

You are invited to an Open House at Red River College’s Building Envelope Technology Access Centre (BETAC), to be held on:

  • Date: Wed., Sept. 28, 2016
  • Time: 2:30-4-30pm
  • Location: Centre for Applied Research in Sustainable Infrastructure (CARSI), 2055 Notre Dame Ave.

BETAC was developed to help the province’s building industry address the challenges in designing and constructing a durable, energy-efficient building envelope in Manitoba’s unique climate. Its purpose is to support the needs of those involved in the design, construction, renovation, commissioning and maintenance of a building envelope.

We’ll be providing demonstrations of our testing capabilities within both the CARSI facility and our mobile equipment for on-site field tests, including:

  • Recently commissioned air/water/structural test chamber
  • Dual environmental chambers
  • Large building blower door equipment
  • Other building envelope diagnostic tools

BETAC staff will be available to answer any question and to discuss how they may be able to help you and your organization.

Refreshments will be served; please RSVP to Katrina Florendo at or 204.632.2195.

* Please note if you are a BEMM (Building Energy Management Manitoba) member, BEMM will be holding a separate luncheon event in conjunction with BETAC one day earlier on Sept. 27, 2016. For more information, please visit

Innovation Agenda

June 27, 2016

BETAC is a proud member of Tech-Access Canada, a formal network that has been created to harmonize and promote college applied research through the 30 Technology Access Centres (TACs) in Canada. The TACs have been meeting regularly since 2013 to share best practices regarding establishing and operating this type of applied research centre. This will help ensure that industry partners, college stakeholders, and government funders have a shared understanding of the value of TACs as representative of college applied research and their collective value to enhancing Canadian economic development.

Learn about Tech-Access Canada and the federal government’s Innovation Agenda →

The Globe and Mail covers BETAC: Pushing the envelope to make buildings greener

January 12, 2016

BETAC_logo-for_webRed River College’s Building Envelope Technology Access Centre was recently featured in the Globe and Mail’s Property Report.  This NSERC-funded centre is focused on improving large buildings’ energy performance, durability and occupant comfort by conducting applied research, as well as testing, and training related to a building’s envelope.

Pushing the envelop to make buildings greener

Written by Joel Schesinger
Published on Jan. 11, 2015 in the Globe and Mail


At FortWhyte Alive, squirrels are frequent stowaways on its “mother ship.”

“I often jokingly explain we have as many squirrels working in the building as we do staff,” says Bill Elliott, president of the environmental education facility in Winnipeg.

For the most part, the puffy-tailed rodents go unnoticed in FortWhyte’s interpretive centre, referred to affectionately by staff as the mother ship.

Yet recently on an unusually mild afternoon, a team of experts from Red River College in the city, using infrared technology, reveal the squirrels’ negative impact on the building’s energy efficiency.

“That’s the biggest hole we’ve seen today,” says Rob Spewak, manager of the college’s Building Envelope Technology Access Centre (BETAC), aiming a hand-held detector at a corner of the wood-framed ceiling.

Read the full article →

BETAC picks up where SITRG left off

October 26, 2015

Red River College’s (RRC’s) Building Envelope Technology Access Centre (BETAC) is set to pick up where the Sustainable Infrastructure Technology Research Group (SITRG) left off.

The new BETAC was born with a $1.75-million grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada’s Technology Access Centre program, which is intended to enhance the ability of local companies, particularly small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to readily access college expertise, technology, and equipment.

SITRG was also an NSERC-funded initiative, but one that was more broadly focused on enhancing the energy performance of large commercial buildings.

“Through the SITRG initiative, our industry consultations and research partnerships led us to focus much of our research activities on building envelopes,” said Rob Spewak, the Centre’s manager. “This resulted in the development of a research and advisory team with deep technical and commercial understanding in this area, leading us to the creation of BETAC.”

The envelope of a building can significantly impact its construction cost, durability and appearance, maintenance and repair expenses, occupant comfort and health, as well as energy use.

And with Manitoba’s climatic extreme’s many of these challenges become amplified and more difficult to navigate.

“Increased building complexity, new standards and code requirements, and increased pressure to reduce energy use are just a few of the other challenges faced by Manitoba’s construction sector,” said Spewak. “With BETAC, our goal is to support the sector’s building envelope related productivity and innovation needs.”

More specifically, BETAC will support the needs of those involved in the design, construction, renovation, commissioning, and maintenance of a building’s envelope.

BETAC’s support will come in the form of the following:

  • Technical Services, including facilities and related advisory services for testing performance of mock-ups and assemblies during the design phase and prior to their construction, as well as pre-certification testing of product prototypes.
  • Applied Research, to accelerate innovation in new building materials, products and assemblies, and diagnostic tools, as well as monitoring and assessment of the performance of individual building envelope components and complete assemblies.
  • Specialized Education and Training related to testing methods, protocols and standards to address building materials assemblies and whole building performance.

BETAC, like SITRG, will be based out of the Centre for Applied Research in Sustainable Infrastructure (CARSI), RRC’s first applied research lab established in 2007.

While still ramping up, BETAC is open for business and welcomes calls for interest, proposals, and partnerships.

Note: BETAC was formerly known as CBEP (the Centre for Building Envelope Performance). Check out the CBEP video to see what BETAC is all about.

For more information:

Rob Spewak, Centre Manager
Building Envelope Technology Access Centre
Red River College

Phone: 204-632-2357

Peter Van Loan and Lawrence Toet celebrate investment to build new technology access centre for construction sector at Red River College

July 8, 2015
(L-R): Rick Marshall, Bird Construction; David Stones, CBEP Advisory Board Chair; Lawrence Toet, MP for Elmwood-Transona; David Rew, interim President of Red River College; Hon. Peter Van Loan, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons.

(L-R): Rick Marshall, Bird Construction; David Stones, CBEP Advisory Board Chair; Lawrence Toet, MP for Elmwood-Transona; David Rew, interim President of Red River College; Hon. Peter Van Loan, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons.

Lawrence Toet, Member of Parliament for Elmwood–Transcona and the Honourable Peter Van Loan, Leader of Government in the House of Commons, and on behalf of Ed Holder, Minister of State (Science and Technology), were at Red River College on July 7, 2015 to highlight a new investment to build a construction research centre that will spark partnerships with Winnipeg’s construction industry.

Red River College is receiving a Technology Access Centres Grant of $1.75 million—allocated over five years under the College and Community Innovation (CCI) Program—to build the Building Envelope Technology Access Centre. Red River College will work with the local construction industry to support innovation in building envelope design and construction, conduct applied research, and provide specialized education and training.

The CCI Program is managed by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), in collaboration with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Read More →

Building for the Future

April 22, 2015

CARSI is a leader in the testing of building construction materials

By Joel Schlesinger
Originally published in a Special Report by Research Manitoba

Few places can compare to Winnipeg for dramatic changes in weather.

Over the course of a typical year, this city’s temperatures will swing from a frigid -30 C in winter to a blazing hot 30 C in summer.

Those wild swings from icy cold to sizzling heat combined with heavy rain and snow loads can take a toll, especially on the materials used in the construction of roads and buildings.

Which brings us to Ray Hoemsen and his colleagues at the Centre for Applied Research in Sustainable Development, also known as CARSI. The centre was conceived as a grass roots idea by the School of Construction and Engineering Technologies at Red River College.

Located on the Notre Dame Campus of Red River College, CARSI is one of places in Canada where builders can test materials for building envelopes – the outer walls of a building – to see how they hold up to the forces of Mother Nature.

To that end, the facility features a huge walk-in environmental testing chamber. Large enough for a car, the chamber has a barn-style door and is divided into two compartments, each of which can be independently controlled. On any given day, Hoemsen and his crew can turn the thermostat in either compartment down to – 40 C or up to 40 C; wall assemblies can be placed in a common wall opening and tested against temperature and humidity differentials.

Read More →