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Langford eyed for facility to make green building alternative to concrete

Langford, North Cowichan possible sites for plant to create sustainable construction panels
A Nexii roof panel is lifted during construction of a Starbucks in Abbotsford. Alexzi Building Solutions will be building a manufacturing plant in Langford or North Cowichan to produce the sustainable construction panels. (Photo courtesy of Alexzi Building Solutions)

Langford is on the shortlist to house a new facility that will make a greener, more resilient construction alternative to concrete and employ 200 people.

Alexzi Building Solutions’ list for where it’ll build its new 150,000 square foot manufacturing plant has been narrowed down to Langford and North Cowichan. Once in operation, the plant would make durable, energy efficient and rapid-assembly construction panels.

The panels are made by using a mix of water, sand and proprietary materials called Nexiite – developed by the company Nexii – that’s mixed in a cast, with an insulating core. The mixture hardens in minutes to form a material that’s stronger than concrete and just needs to be bolted together at the build site.

“It creates a seal that’s air-tight and then the building wall itself is extremely energy efficient,” said Amber Simpson, Alexzi’s president.

READ: City of Victoria on the road to zero waste

She says the panels offer a sustainable shift away from concrete and its carbon-intensive production.

The durable panels are fire, earthquake and water resistant, so “it’s going to be extremely resilient in terms of natural disasters,” Simpson said.

The bolted-together panels create an all-in-one type system, so there’s no need for interior framing, drywall, insulation or siding and other weather-proof material on the exterior. Since they’re not made from any organic materials, the panels won’t rot.

Simpson said the panels replace several construction products, so builders are leaving job sites with a couple garbage bags of waste instead of truckloads. In Victoria, discarded construction material makes up almost 40 per cent of the total waste sent to the landfill.

READ: Langford ranks as fastest growing community in B.C.

Simpson said using the panels reduces construction time by 75 per cent and the product’s energy efficiency helps cut operating costs.

The company’s goal is to have the manufacturing plant, wherever it ends up being built, operational by sometime in 2022. The plant would produce millions of square feet worth of panels every year.

“To be able to bring a green manufacturing facility to the island that will employ up to 200 local residents is extremely exciting,” Simpson said.