The Haliburton 4C’s Food Bank and Thrift Store building, shown in Figure 1, was designed and built in June through August 2005. The structure combines an impressive variety of sustainable design options, while meeting specific functional and financial goals. The vision for the building was for it to serve as a working food bank and thrift store, while being a demonstration of the applicability of various alternative building materials and design options for a public building located in a very “traditional” neighbourhood.
The Haliburton 4C’s (Christian Concern Community Centre) is a non-profit, charitable collaboration of four Haliburton Churches that work to provide food and second-hand clothing for members of the community who require moderate support. The food bank and the Lily Ann second-hand clothing store are the two main components of the operation, with the clothing store providing funding for the food bank. A partnership was created between the 4C’s and the Sustainable Building Design & Construction Program of Sir Sandford Fleming College. The goal was to create a cost-effective and sustainable home for the Haliburton 4C’s group.
The use of alternative building materials and design techniques has traditionally been limited to private residences, with public use restricted to a small number of projects utilizing only a few of the many sustainable building options available. The reason for this is a general lack of knowledge in the area of sustainable design and construction, and a false belief that sustainable construction leads to a structure that is not aesthetically pleasing, and has limited functionality. One goal of the 4C’s project was to showcase sustainable building in a public structure, and thus to dispel the negative perceptions that may exist regarding alternative building. This goal was achieved, in conjunction with the needs of the Haliburton 4C’s group, and the requirements of the Sir Sandford Fleming Sustainable Building Design and Construction Program.
In this paper, the conceptual design for the building is outlined, with an emphasis on describing the sustainable and unique wall design, which included the use of hemp bale construction, earthen plasters, and an earthbag stacked footing. In order to obtain building code approval, testing of the proposed wall system was required. This was carried out at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. Further testing was carried out to better understand the structural performance of some of the materials used in the building design.