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  It is only by testing our theories in the field that we can achieve real and tangible results.

Laurier Nichols

Senior Principal

Longueuil, Quebec

Laurier has spent more than 40 years working in the institutional, industrial, and commercial sectors. A leader in the field of building mechanics, he’s also a specialist in consumption diagnosis, energy needs and feasibility studies, and design and implementation of ventilation, air conditioning, and heating systems.

Continually on the lookout for factors leading to energy loss, Laurier has developed advanced expertise in the detailed analysis of consumption cycle thermodynamics. He’s particularly interested in future networks for building heating, such as photovoltaic panels or geothermal energy.

According to him, the future of the profession lies in the use and refinement of analytical models and consumption diagnostic studies as well as in the definition of energy-saving assumptions related to scenarios for the implementation of new equipment.

For his involvement in the HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) field, Laurier has been awarded the title of Fellow of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). Holding LEED accreditation, he’s also a member of AQME, the Association québecoise pour la maîtrise de l’énergie (Quebec Association for Mastering Energy).

Laurier has contributed to the design of mechanical facilities for the École Le Tournant school in Saint-Constant, opening the door to substantial energy savings with the installation of an 18-well geothermal system. This project won awards from ASHRAE, the Canadian GeoExchange Coalition, and Natural Resources Canada’s Office of Energy Efficiency.

WHAT I'M UP TO

THE CONFERENCE TRAIL
Healthcare facilities are among the highest users of energy on a square-meter basis. This is partly due to the high ventilation rates required to maintain indoor air quality. At the Canadian Healthcare Engineering Society conference in 2012, I spoke about methods that healthcare designers could use to limit their facilities’ energy usage.

Many people think that simply adding more insulation to the envelope will improve the energy performance of a building. At the Conseil de l’enveloppe du bâtiment seminar last year, I demonstrated how the amount of fresh air in a building could have a major impact on the energy usage—much more than the envelope.

At the Group for Ventilation and Indoor Air Quality in Residential Buildings conference last September, I spoke about how—thanks to natural forces like the stack effect or wind pressure—it’s difficult to eliminate cross contamination between units in the same building.

In October of last year, I spoke at the Group of Municipal Office for Residential Access conference about a new approach to ventilate units in a multi-residential building. This HVAC design uses pressurized supply ductwork with automatic control valves to calibrate the amount of fresh air in each unit.

Most arena managers aren’t experts in their facilities’ energy requirements. At the upcoming Association of Managers for Recreational and Sport Centers conference, I’ll be speaking about how showers, ice surfacing, lighting, and other systems contribute to the energy uses of a building.

WHERE I’M PUBLISHED
I co-wrote an article “Engineered Refrigeration Systems” for the Canadian Consulting Engineer magazine that took an in depth look at our project steps for a major food storage project.

In 2009, Quebec alone had around 450 ice hockey arenas—and those are big energy users. In my article “Improving efficiency in ice hockey arenas” for ASHRAE Journal, I suggested a few ways that we could improve energy expenditures and reduce energy costs in our arenas.

In our article “Cutting-edge Renovation” for ASHRAE Journal, two colleagues and I explored the design choices for the McIntyre Pavilion upgrade for McGill University.

WHAT I’M READING
From Steven Guilbeault’s Alerte! to works by Al Gore and Gwinne Dyer, I’m constantly immersed in dissections of our current environmental problems, and those we’ll face within the next 20 years.

For biographies, I’m currently studying up on Steve Jobs and Jacques Parizeau.

For more recreational reading, I’m currently engrossed in Ken Follett’s La chute des géants (Fall of Giants).

IN MY COMMUNITY
For 13 years, I served on the Quebec Order of Engineers Inspection Board.

I’m a past president of the Montreal chapter of ASHRAE and past president of the Montreal chapter of ASPE.

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