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Energy conservation and water efficiency

Energy conservation
With conventional fossil fuel supplies in decreasing supply, it is important to conserve and use energy wisely. This building was designed to take advantage of new energy conservation technologies such as:

•    Double-glazed, argon-filled window systems to minimize heat loss from the building
•    Increased roof and wall insulation to reduce heat loss through building envelope components
•    Lighting controlled by occupancy and daylight sensors to reduce energy usage from unnecessary lighting
•    Heat Recovery Ventilators to pre-heat incoming air using the waste heat exhausted from the building.

These technologies resulted in a savings of 30 per cent over a reference building designed to the Model National Energy Code for Buildings.

Atmosphere protection
To reduce the potential of ozone depletion caused by this building, all mechanical refrigeration equipment installed is free of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). A comprehensive building commissioning procedure was undertaken as a means of testing the complex equipment and systems that are installed in the building. Commissioning ensures the equipment is designed, installed and operates as intended by the owner and design team. Improperly specified or installed equipment often becomes a source of excess energy consumption and cost. The project team has taken proactive steps throughout the design, construction and operation of this building to ensure that the equipment installed in this facility operates within its optimum design parameters.

Water efficiency
As the world’s demand for fresh water grows, it becomes increasingly crucial in developed countries like Canada to control our water consumption at its point of use. Canadians use more water per capita than almost everyone else in the world. The average Canadian uses close to 335 litres per person per day – that’s 122,275 litres per year!

At the Toronto Botanical Garden, this means minimizing consumption through the use of low-flow plumbing fixtures, like a waterless urinal and low-flow lavatories, and decreasing the demand for potable water where grey and non-potable water can be utilized (for example, through irrigation).

Site landscaping for this building was specifically designed to take advantage of harvested rainwater for landscape irrigation. This system results in significant potable water savings. A green roof located above the TBG Shop reduces storm water runoff from the building and drains to a cistern located to the southwest of the building. Water from the cistern is used to irrigate the broad list of plant species located throughout the TBG property.

With our water usage control strategy, this building has achieved significant water savings without a noticeable reduction in performance. Compared with a baseline design that meets the Ontario Building Code’s water efficiency requirements, this building provides a 21 per cent reduction in annual potable water use. 21 per cent is about the same as 57,141 litres per year, or close to half of the annual consumption of an average Torontonian.

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