OCTABLOG

Four Years After Fukushima, Japan Looks For Answers

Posted by Lee Drever on Mar 13, 2015 11:46:00 AM

It has been four years since Japan was hit with the most powerful earthquake in its recorded history.
Tsunami Devastation
 Octaform customers, Hayashi Trout shared this shot of the devastation in Ongawa, Japan


In March of 2011, just 45 miles east of the Oshika Peninsula of Tohoku, a 9.0 magnitude undersea megathrust earthquake triggered a wave of destruction unlike anything in Japan's recorded memory. The quake and subsequent tsunami washed over coastal ports and towns, claiming over 18,000 lives, destroying over one million buildings and triggering a nuclear meltdown.

Four years later, Japan continues to deal with the aftermath of the disaster. The almost 83,000 residents living closest to the Fukushima nuclear plant were evacuated and radiation levels have kept them from returning home. Cleanup continues and researchers and analysts have now ruled local dairy, produce and seafood to be safe. 

Trout Grow-Out Tanks Are Stocked
  Hayashi Trout stocks the Octaform tanks at their park near Fukushima.

However, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, fears persist. As Wired reports, locals are slow to return to locally grown food even in the face of positive data.

Understandably, these fears are also affecting Japan's energy infrastructure. The Fukushima plant and all 48 of the nation's nuclear facilities have remained closed since the events of 2011, leaving utilities scrambling for energy. Forced to rely heavily on fossil fuels, like coal and natural gas, leaders have worked to find cleaner sources like solar. 

Driven by political and popular will, solar use in Japan has grown dramatically in the last two years. Clean and renewable, it represents an about-face from atomic energy but as the New York Times reports, this may be too good to be true. Utilities are now rejecting solar, complaining that it can't reliably support the demands of the country.

Many argue that the solution, to reducing Japan's now high greenhouse gas emissions, is actually a return to atomic power. The long term effects of the world's worst nuclear meltdown since Chernobyl remain to be seen but the reality is that there have been no fatalities directly linked to the Fukushima accident.

Japan's struggle is a microcosm of our global struggle. 'Answers' are few and far between and, as they are learning, 'solutions' are often trade-offs. 

These issues around sustainability, unfortunately, are easily politicized. It seems tough, however, to take issue with the Portland Cement Association's basic sentiment on the topic:

"We believe the most sustainable building is the one still standing.” David Shepherd, PCA

Each year in the United States alone, more than $35 billion in direct property loss is caused by natural disasters.  States and municipalities are seeking to adopt ordinances that require “green” or “sustainable” construction, yet as the PCA points out, they are overlooking disaster-resistance construction. 

There is now a call for making enhanced resilience of a building’s structure to natural and man-made disasters the first consideration of a green building.  Increased longevity and durability, combined with improved disaster resistance, results in the need for less energy and resources. This is not only the case for repair, removal, disposal and replacement of building materials and contents due to disasters, but for routine maintenance and operations as well. 

Concrete Trout Tanks Under Construction
 Formed and protected with Octaform, Hayashi's aquaculture tanks survived the disaster unscathed.

“Integration of durability and functional resilience into sustainability codes, standards and programs is long overdue,” David Shepherd, director of sustainability for the Portland Cement Association (PCA) said. “Some say the most sustainable structure is the one that isn’t built. We believe the most sustainable building is the one still standing.”

Functionally resilient buildings place less demand on resources and allow communities to provide vital services, even after a natural disaster.  For example, resilient construction allows businesses to continue operations, providing municipalities with a consistent tax base. Emergency recovery, the PCA reminds us, costs money. These funds are often reallocated from other community economic, societal and environmental initiative. The ripples can last for generations.

The question of sustainability is complicated and rife with misinformation, trade-offs and unforseen consequences but building better, it seems, will always be the right choice.

 


 

Topics: Aquaculture, Agriculture, Sustainability, Concrete, Concrete Construction, seismic, disaster, energy, Agri-Food, Renewable Energy

Tanked! The Big Reveal... (Video)

Posted by Lee Drever on Oct 28, 2014 11:25:36 AM

Friday's episode of Tanked featured their largest aquarium build yet... a 250,000 gallon shark tank constructed with Octaform!

Check it out...

Learn more about this project...

Topics: Aquaculture, aquarium, Aquaculture Tanks, Concrete Construction, Tanked, Animal Planet, Dynasty Marine, Concrete Tanks

TV Tank Builders Go Big With Octaform

Posted by Lee Drever on Oct 22, 2014 2:44:00 PM

Tanked Builders

Largest Tank Yet For Animal Planet Show

On a weekly basis, the folks at Acrylic Tank Manufacturing build some of the strangest and most extravagant custom aquariums in the world. Their work can be seen in zoos, casinos, theme parks and for four seasons now, on their own television show, 'Tanked'. 

Tracy Morgan On Tanked
Comedian, Tracy Morgan reacts to his custom tank on a previous episode. 
Airing in the United States & Canada on Animal Planet, 'Tanked' follows brothers-in-law, Wayde King and Brett Raymer as they tackle some of the most unique and challenging tank projects in the world. 

When faced with the challenge of building a 250,000 gallon set of connecting shark tanks for a new Florida aquarium, they turned to Octaform to form and protect the concrete walls.

Featuring this week on the show (The episode, 'Pipe Dreams' airs Friday, October 24 on Animal Planet), this set of tanks is the centerpiece for the brand new Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters.

A truly immersive experience, these tanks let visitors get right in the water with with exotic marine creatures to 'experience the thriving ecosystem in the aquarium environment'. Oh, and one more thing... YOU CAN FEED THE SHARKS. 

Take a look...

 

 

Building this 'experience' called for two watertight concrete tanks separated by an acrylic divider. The tanks needed to be durable and but they also needed to accomodate the unique design and openings that were crucial to the experience of the visitors brave enough to enter the tanks and the ones that prefer to stay dry. For this they chose Octaform Finished Concrete Forms (FCF).

Read: Aquarium Creates An Immersive Experience With New Octaform Tanks

Octaform FCFs form and protect concrete in one step. The smooth, food-safe panels assemble on site and are filled with concrete. The forms then remain in place protecting the concrete with a built-in PVC membrane that is watertight and fish friendly. 

Watertight Concrete Tanks
The two Octaform tanks are assembled on site. Concrete is poured into the PVC forms that stay in place protecting the walls and the marine life. 

 

Octaform formwork is particularly suited for aquaculture tanks but it is also used to form and protect concrete in many of the most challenging environments in the world from applications in agriculture and biogas to food processing and car washes

 

'Tanked' featuring Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters 
airs Friday, October 24 on Animal Planet


Learn More About Octaform Aquaculture

 

Topics: Aquaculture, tanks, aquarium, finished concrete forms, Aquaculture Tanks, Concrete Construction, Tanked, Animal Planet

Car Wash Builders Choose Octaform

Posted by Lee Drever on Feb 6, 2013 6:00:00 AM

New Project

On the heels of a just-completed vehicle wash in Denver (seen here in Concrete Construction Magazine), a Tennessee contractor is also preparing to build something better with Octaform.

Octaform Wash WallaBeginning next week, Wild Building Contractors will be using Octaform to form and protect the concrete walls of a new 4,000 square-foot car wash in Johnson City, Tennessee.

Specialists in military and commercial construction, the team at WBC knows what it takes to build a durable facility. Vehicle wash walls are assaulted daily by moisture, heat and chemicals so when it came time to choose a wall system for the new Ultimate Shine in Johnson City, they looked at  Octaform stay-in-place concrete forms

cover01

"We compared the costs of going conventional CMU-plus-cladding with the built-in Octaform finish," said Lance Wild, Project Manager at WBC, "and it ended up being close enough to justify going with the tougher Octaform wall."

Assembled on site, Octaform walls are formed and finished in one step, leaving a built-in PVC lining that is watertight and corrosion-resistant.

This finish eliminates the need for liners, cladding or sealants. For WBC this means faster and simpler construction. For their customer? A car wash that will look and perform like the day it was built for many years to come.

Octaform will be on-site in Tennessee all next week (Feb. 11-15). 
If you would like to visit or if you have any questions, give us a call (toll free) at (888) 786-OCTA (6282).

Topics: vehicle wash, Concrete Construction, Durability, Tennessee

Durability Drives Denver Builder

Posted by Lee Drever on Jan 25, 2013 2:21:00 PM

With the construction of a state-of-the-art vehicle wash in Stapleton, a Colorado company is bringing a new way to build to the Mountain States.
Car Wash Walls

Denver builder, ASLAN Companies is using Octaform, a PVC stay-in-place concrete forming system, to build and finish the walls of a Stapleton vehicle wash.

Not content to rely only on traditional construction methods, it was ASLAN’s spirit of innovation and sustainability that led them to this unique concrete forming technology. “Octaform,“ explained Aaron Voorhees, President of ASLAN, “offers us a way to build better, faster and stronger for our clients.”

With Octaform, ASLAN assembles PVC walls on site and fills them with concrete. The built-in finish eliminates the need for further cladding, protection, or paint and protects the concrete from the corrosive chemicals, moisture and heat of a modern car wash.

“The watertight finish,” says Voorhees, “gives an unprecedented level of protection to the walls.”

Project Participants

Design Manager and General Contractor:
ASLAN Companies, Littleton,Colo. 
Excavation, Concrete, and Walls
ASLAN Companies, Littleton,Colo. 
Wash Equipment:
ComTec Systems, Arvada,Colo. 
Metal and Roofing:
Project 6, Aurora,Colo. 
Plumbing:
Michael T’s Plumbing and Heating, Centennial,Colo. 
Electric:
Carry the Light Electric, Englewood,Colo. 
Heating:
Marxaire, Inc., Denver, Colo.

By protecting the integrity of the walls, Octaform also extends the life of the structure, reducing its long-term carbon footprint.

“Durability might not scream ‘green design’ like solar panels or reclaimed lumber but for us, it is huge,” explains Voorhees, “The most sustainable building, after all, is the one still standing.”

Octaform’s ‘green’ benefits don’t stop there. Concrete walls are already known to be very energy-efficient. Octaform reduces the usual carbon footprint of building them by shipping efficiently and eliminating the need for heavy equipment or steel forms.

Add to this a bright finish that reduces lighting requirements and LEED points start to add up. The bright finish of the Octaform wall system appealed to Voorhees on a business level too.

“A dark, dingy wash bay is just not going to attract customers,” he explains, “With Octaform, those bays will look great for a long time.”

"AutoWash@Stapleton" is expected to be open first quarter 2013.

ASLAN Companies, Inc. is a Colorado general contractor / design builder. ASLAN brings special expertise using alternative wall systems to Car Washes, Hardened Homes, Bomb Shelters, General Commercial Buildings, and Thermally Efficient Residential “Green” Homes. 

Topics: Truck Wash, vehicle wash, Sustainability, Concrete Construction

Considering Long-Term Maintenance Costs for Vehicle Washes: Part I

Posted by Christina Florencio on Feb 21, 2012 3:25:00 PM

Harsh chemicals, constant heat, dirt and grime—not many commercial structures must be built to withstand the challenges a vehicle wash endures each and every operating hour. And that’s just what’s affecting the inside of the wash bay. There are usually external elements to contend with as well; which, depending on your location, could include harsh sun, extreme temperatures, salt, city pollution, or all of the above.

That’s why one of the most important considerations for new vehicle wash buildings is the type of materials that will be used for construction. And like so many aspects of design, choosing the right materials is about walking the fine line between aesthetics and functionality.

Here's the first chapter of a three part series where we share insights on how to select the right construction material for your vehicle wash. 

Octaform Systems Vehicle Wash
Photo: Vehicle Wash built with Octaform, Bozeman, MT

LOCATION AFFECTS CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS
An influential factor governing the choice between aesthetics and functionality is your vehicle wash location and clientele. The most suitable materials for an urban-situated vehicle wash can vary greatly from those required for a wash built in a small town or rural location.

When building an urban vehicle wash the visual appeal is likely to be a significant factor in attracting passing motorists. Often there is a desire to “theme” or brand the building or blend its appearance with surrounding building facades. The majority of your customers are likely to only be washing off dirt and grime from city living.

Contrast this with a small town or rural vehicle wash. Your customers are likely to fit under a different demographic — commercial vehicle, truck owners, and farmers. You’re likely to be washing off more corrosive elements such as heavy greases or agrichemicals that would quickly erode a vehicle-wash structure that is not properly protected.

Other factors can influence the building material choice. If your wash is in a location where salt is used to keep roads ice-free during winter, you will need to consider the corrosive effect salt would have on both the interior and exterior walls. And if you build in areas of harsh sun, you need to think about the effects of UV rays on the exterior finish.

JUST LIKE DOING THE DISHES
When you build a vehicle wash you’re building the equivalent of a very large dishwasher. Now ask yourself how long would you expect your dishwasher to last — seven to 10 years at least? Even then it’s probably not the inner tub or outer shell of the dishwasher that will need replacing.

You should be constructing your vehicle wash structure with at least the same life expectancy in mind (and if you plan to be in the business for a while, double the above number).

The materials you use will greatly affect how long your wash will last and how much time and money you will need to spend maintaining it over the years. Many operators who have looked to cut the price on vehicle wash building materials or maintenance often end up paying a bigger cost, in time or money, in the long run.  Stay tuned for Part II where we discuss the major differences between Steel, Wood, CMU block, Precast and Finished Forming Systems. Learn more about the major differences: 

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Topics: Truck Wash, Car wash, Concrete Construction

Company Profile: Lexa Dome Homes

Posted by Christina Florencio on Oct 14, 2011 2:42:00 PM

Yarrow Eco Village 1Back in 2010, Octaform Systems was approached to build the foundations of two Lexa Dome Homes at the Yarrow Eco Village. Vancouver based company Lexa Dome Homes manufacture wooden domes with engineered arching panels that replace the framing component of conventional stick-frame construction. 

These elliptical monolithic wooden domes provide an inner ceiling height not usually attained with geodesic and standard spherical domes.  This allows for a 2nd or 3rd floor to be added once the dome is completely erected.  Known for its many GREEN properties, the Lexa Dome materials are made from recycled, bi-product and renewable materials and use less material than a comparable sized home conventionally made. The Domes typically see a 30% reduction in energy savings as air circulates by natural convection to the upper floors.  


Yarrow Eco Village 2Because of its elliptical design, the panel system can be built quickly and provides the same structural results as a spherical dome.   The structural strength of the dome allows it to withstand heavy snow loads, high winds, hurricanes substantially better than conventional housing.  

The Lexa Dome homes, built atop Octaform Systems’ foundation structure (at the Yarrow Eco Village) will be the first of its kind Worldwide.  Energy efficient, sustainably sound and incredibly strong, these homes are certainly one of the most unique in the marketplace.  

Some updated pictures...

Yarrow Eco Village   

Lexa Dome Homes

Topics: Yarrow Eco Village, Sustainability, Concrete Construction

The Most Sustainable Building is the One Still Standing

Posted by Lee Drever on Sep 30, 2011 11:50:00 AM

Association demands that sustainable construction stress durability as well as energy efficiency and other green building requirements.

Each year in the United States alone, more than $35 billion in direct property loss is caused by natural disasters.  Yet, while states and municipalities are seeking to adopt ordinances that require “green” or “sustainable” construction, they are overlooking disaster-resistance construction. 

Tsunami Devastation
 Octaform customers, Hayashi Trout shared this shot of the recent devastation in Ongawa, Japan

There is now a call for making enhanced resilience of a building’s structure to natural and man-made disasters the first consideration of a green building.  Increased longevity and durability, combined with improved disaster resistance, results in the need for less energy and resources. This is not only the case for repair, removal, disposal and replacement of building materials and contents due to disasters, but for routine maintenance and operations as well. 

"We believe the most sustainable building is the one still standing.”

“Integration of durability and functional resilience into sustainability codes, standards and programs is long overdue,” David Shepherd, director of sustainability for the Portland Cement Association (PCA) said. “Some say the most sustainable structure is the one that isn’t built. We believe the most sustainable building is the one still standing.”

Functionally resilient buildings place less demand on resources and allow communities to provide vital services, even after a natural disaster.  For example, resilient construction allows businesses to continue operations, providing municipalities with a consistent tax base.  Further community economic, societal and environmental benefits occur when cities are not required to reallocated resources for emergency recovery.

A resilient building is not limited to one that is operational after a natural disaster, but also one that can withstand the hardship of the passing years.  The Brookings Institution projects that by 2030, the U.S. will have demolished and replaced 82 billion square feet of its current building stock, or nearly one-third of  existing buildings, largely because the vast majority of them weren't designed and built to last any longer. Robust, functionally resilient buildings arefrequently reused and even re-purposed when downtowns are renovated.

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To allow local governments to adopt green building codes that address high performance as well as conventional sustainable features, the PCA and the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IIBHS). have developed High Performance Building Requirements for Sustainability 2.0.  The criteria are written in mandatory language that amends and appends the International Code CouncilInternational Building Code.  The provisions are generic and do not specify one specific material over another. 

PCA and IIBHS have aligned the provisions with the concepts of both the Whole Building Design Guide and High Performance Building Council.  Enacting and enforcing these provisions provides the basis for designers and owners to obtain certification as a US Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for New Construction.

Learn more about the High Performance Building Requirements for Sustainability at Booth #1245N at the 2011 Greenbuild International Conference and Expo.

 

Topics: Concrete, seismic, Sustainability, disaster, Concrete Construction