SAJO’s Commitment to Sustainability on Earth Day: Building for the Future

SAJO’s Commitment to Sustainability on Earth Day: Building for the Future

Earth Day, commemorated on April 22nd of each year since 1970, is an apt reminder for all to join in the multinational celebration and universal call to action, in support of sustainability.

Sustainable development aims at the protection of both the physical and social environment to preserve the wellbeing of present and future generations. From the standpoint of the natural world, sustainability refers to the safeguard of our natural resources from the disruptive effects of human activity. It aims to preserve the quality of the air we breathe, the soil we plough and sow, the water we utilize and absorb, and the energy sources we consume. Whether individually or collectively, the human species is bound to preserve the life sources and ecological balance which sustain and replenish our life on earth. 

SAJO is keenly aware of its environmental impact and corporate responsibility. As part of its environmental initiatives, SAJO has worked, in the past, to support the conservation programs of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Canada, sponsoring many of their awareness campaigns, from at‐risk ecosystems to elementary school programs.

Through its association with WWF, SAJO began to support the work of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) in Canada’s boreal forest and encouraged the use of FSC certified wood in the construction industry. To promote the sanctity and beauty of the boreal forest, SAJO undertook to sponsor, in part, a photo exhibit of this vast territorial expanse, which came to be entitled «RESPECT». Aerial photos of Canada’s boreal forest culminated in a cross-Canada outdoor exhibit and compilation of large-scale portraits capturing the natural splendor of the landscape.

Throughout the years, SAJO has remained deeply committed to promoting, developing, and implementing best practices in sustainable development across its design/build and construction projects. To this end, SAJO ensures in-depth analyses of architectural plans and designs, responsible selection and use of materials, installation of optimal performing systems and equipment, compliance with LEED standards in accordance with client or project demands, as well as state-of-the-art technology in its operational procedures.

Where architecture and interior design are concerned, simplicity of form and timeless design are at the forefront of the conceptual phase. Guided by SAJO’s pragmatic, long-term outlook, the building phase is characterized by structural elements which are flexible, inter-changeable, reversible, recyclable, renewable, or plainly durable, and above all, cost-effective in their maintenance over time.

In its sponsorship role of the 2020 edition of ArchMarathon, an international competition in architecture and interior design, SAJO was proud to introduce the award category of Sustainability. The latter was bestowed on the architectural studio whose structural design best safeguarded the physical and human environment, while highlighting wellness and community living.

SAJO’s sustainability practices also extend to the sourcing, storage, fabrication, transportation, and waste disposal of building materials-be it wood, metal, glass, stone, plastic or concrete-along with the use of non-toxic products and procedures. In addition, SAJO promotes the use of recycled materials throughout the design-build and procurement phases and incorporates these in the design and manufacture of fixtures and furnishings. MDF board, for instance, may be recommended in lieu of wood paneling, and recycled steel may be used whenever practicable.

For builders, like SAJO, it is standard procedure to install mechanical and electrical systems which preserve the quality of air and are energy, water, and waste efficient. Its LEED certified project managers adhere to green building principles which call for optimal functioning equipment and operating systems. To reduce the costs of energy consumption of both private and public buildings, SAJO conducts, upon request, computer-based energy simulations to optimize electro-mechanical equipment and insulation. Following construction, the building’s actual consumption is measured to validate and perfect the hypotheses which will be retained for future simulations. 

In its quest for innovation, SAJO integrates and implements state-of-the-art software and hardware technology from the conception of projects to their management and execution. SAJO uses Cloud Based Construction Management Software as a central platform for communication and coordination among stakeholders, from client to sub-trades. Users, both off and on site, are thus able to manage their interaction with the project through any web connected mobile device, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer where they can have instant access to documents, drawings, submittals, RFI contracts, schedules, quality reporting and manpower logs.

In recent years, SAJO’s internal Revit and BIM (Building Information Modeling) experts have been implementing BIM modeling on small and large projects. Leveraging its experience in design and building, SAJO is able to create immersive and interactive experiences from 360 renderings to extended reality (virtual, augmented, and mixed reality) applications.  

This technology helps to reduce interpretation of drawings and to resolve issues effectively. The use of interactive 3D models in immersive digital environments enables different users across the globe to interact in real time and make changes to specific finishes, MEP (mechanical, electrical, and plumbing) coordination and clash detection as well as guide complex or challenging installations.

SAJO’s most recent technological implementations include the incorporation of holographic devices to enhance workforce safety and capabilities as well as LIDAR technology and robotics, for scanning and surveying spaces. SAJO was, in fact, first in Canada to deploy an automated indoor scanning operation with SPOT, the robot. SPOT accurately captures, collects, and processes 3D data on job sites, creating a digital twin of the space, in addition to documenting and managing site progress. It has proven to be an indispensable adjunct for worker safety and operational efficiency. Overall, such technological applications obviate the need for travel to sites, thereby reducing the carbon footprint of each project and furthering sustainability objectives.

In planning and managing a project from conception to handover, SAJO is uniquely positioned to exercise its overarching competency of delivering a sustainable, efficient, and environmentally friendly building to its clients. Technological advances in the fields of extended reality, and artificial intelligence will accelerate the development of innovative sustainable designs and products, to the benefit of mankind and the planet’s ecological systems.  

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