As a new member to the Toronto ASHRAE chapter, I was interested to explore some of what Sustainable Technology had to offer on a practical level, outside of the classroom. The ASHRAE Chapter meeting for November was held at Earth Rangers just north of Toronto at Kortright Centre in Woodbridge, ON, and several members of the ASHRAE team at Humber College were given a tour of the facilities.
Earth Rangers is a conservation organization created to educate children about the natural world, animals and the environment. To facilitate teaching children (and adults) about a sustainable future, a number of sustainable energy systems have been put in place.
The first thing that struck me was the number of sizeable solar panel arrays in the parking lot that work to supply about 30% of the energy needs of the building. Inside, the extensive windows that supply a good chunk of lighting to the building are well-covered in bird decals to deter any birds from flying into the building.
Split into two groups, the ASHRAE members began our tour. Nothing seems to have escaped the watchful eyes of efficiency experts: roofing tiles made from recycled materials, interlocking carpets, LED lights, washrooms running on grey water and a highly-efficient server that housed the facility’s cloud data. The heat generated from this server was also reclaimed and used by the HVAC system to continue heating.
Here, the tour began to go into detail about all the impressive HVAC systems throughout the building. The most visceral impression came from the earth tubes underground that help deal with providing ventilation for the building. I was also impressed by how wired into the system everything was – the facility manager was able to monitor all the systems on his tablet and I can only imagine how helpful all that digital data is for indicating where any inefficiencies are and areas that can be improved upon in the future.
For more detailed and technical information on the Earth Rangers facility, please take a look at their systems showcase here.