Here’s how a new Popeyes in B.C. was sustainably built in two weeks

Nexii developed their own building material that is a sustainable alternative to concrete.

Two weeks. That is all it took to turn an empty pit in Abbotsford, British Columbia into a brand new Popeyes store.

Vancouver building company Nexii Building Solutions Inc pulled off the feat by ramping up construction build times to unheard speeds, all the while reducing future carbon emissions in the process.

“Almost 40 per cent of global climate pollution comes from our buildings and that comes both from the material side and the energy that we use to heat and cool our buildings,” Gregor Robertson, the Executive Vice President of Nexii, told The Weather Network while on an exclusive tour of the company’s newest building site.

“Here at Nexii, we tackle both the material and energy side,” Robertson continued.

Nexii approaches novel construction methods using their new building material known as Nexiite.

Nexii Building Solutions roof being placed

Nexii roof being installed. (Nexii)

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“We use sand, a binder, water, and create a product that is very strong. It is similar in terms of strength to regular concrete, but it reaches that strength in a much reduced time frame,” said Nexii’s Sustainability Manager Zosia Brown.

On the heating and cooling side of construction, Nexiite is more thermally efficient than concrete and steel.

“Our panels are precision manufactured down to a millimeter and fit together very tightly. You end up with an airtight building, which allows you to control the heating and cooling more efficiently,” said Robertson.

Nexii Building Solutions Inc have used Nexiite before — their previous building, which also marked their first construction project, is an already operational Starbucks building next door.

After the Starbucks was completed at the end of 2020, Nexii brought in a third party provider to conduct testing and energy modeling on the building to see how much energy it saves compared to baseline.

Nexii building panels

Nexii panels being used to construct a new building. (Nexii)

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“For the Starbucks building, we had 20 per cent reduced embodied carbon compared to concrete and steel studs. On the operational carbon, the heating and cooling part of the building, we had a 43 per cent reduction compared to baseline.”

Aside from reducing building emissions, Nexii is also focused on reducing construction site waste, which accounts for one third of Metro Vancouver’s annual waste.

“The only waste that comes to the site is the packaging material that protects the panels during their transport. When we are done, we take that away with us and it gets reused for subsequent projects,” Brown added.

Robertson, who as the former Mayor of Vancouver, made a pledge to become the greenest city in the world, taking this step with Nexii was a significant step forward.

“To go from being a mayor and trying to create momentum and new building codes to encourage this kind of environmentally friendly buildings and then to see the market solutions, that is what got me involved in Nexii. I realized here in Vancouver, we could build a company that can change the world.”

The company was founded in 2018 and quickly developed their proprietary material Nexiite to replace traditional concrete. Since opening, Nexii’s net worth has ballooned to over $600 million. The company recently opened a plant in Squamish B.C. where they develop their green building products and materials. These products can then be rapidly assembled onsite in almost any weather condition.

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While Nexii is proving to be a giant leap in green innovation for the construction industry, they want to take their best practices a step further. The team tells us that they are working towards being net zero by the end of this year.

Thumbnail credit: Nexii