Metepenagiag Heritage Park NB’s greenest building

Posted on September 16, 2007
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Metepenagiag Heritage Park (Nelson Cloud photo)                                                                                                                                                                                         

Metepenagiag Heritage Park (Nelson Cloud photo)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Mike Hartop is Manager of Engineering and Architectural Services for what he says is among the most energy efficient buildings ever constructed in New Brunswick.                                                                                                                          The Metepenagiag Heritage Park design criteria meet all LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) design standards set by the US Green Building Council to establish a common standard of measurement for “green” buildings.                                                                                                                                                                                                        The building has geothermal, under-floor radiant heating. Geothermal means the heat is recovered from a 500-foot deep, closed circulating system. A pump brings liquid warmed deep in the earth to the surface. A compressor extracts heat, just as a refrigerator does, transferring the heat to the pipes running under the floors. With the heat extracted, the cooled liquid is pumped back down into the system to warm up again.            The small amount of electricity required to run the pumps and the compressor is the only power consumed. A side benefit is that the system also works in reverse to provide air conditioning in summer.

            All the building’s windows are e-glass which reflects heat back into the building from inside and blocks the greenhouse effect from outside.

            There is rigid insulation foam under all floor slabs. Walls are framed with two by six studs. Both walls and ceilings are heavily insulated. Lighting is fluorescent or low energy halogen.

            Washroom light fixtures are on motion sensors, turning on and off automatically as do the faucets and low-volume flushes.

            Hartop says that current energy prices will have to rise considerably before the extra capital investment in the building could be recovered.

            “Capital cost was not the only factor,” he says. “The facility is designed to leave as small an environmental footprint as possible.”

            MHP Executive Director, Pam Ward, adds that there was a purposeful approach from the beginning to reduce operating costs as much as possible  to ensure the long-term sustainability of the project.

            Even so, the project is within its $4,500,000 budget including park and trail facilities, which were not part of the building part of the project budget.

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