Sustainability

The Centre was built with a number of innovative technologies

Rainwater

Metal roofs collect rainwater and funnel it into extra wide gutters. Water flows through a filter on the downspout and into a large storage tank in the basement. From there, water is circulated through another filter and exposed to ultraviolet light, killing any bacteria that might be present.

The cleansed water is used for hand washing, cleaning floors, and for wetting the compost pile in our toilet system.

Organic Design

Dynamic curves and earth tone colours were incorporated into the Centre's structural design. Sandstone, cedar, and other materials were used to given the buildings a natural finish.

Geothermal

30 geothermal wells, comprised of closed-loop tubing, are installed underground. The tubing is filled with a glycol liquid which absorbs the temperature of the earth and transfers it to a heat pump in the basement. A forced central air system circulates the warmed or cooled air through the buildings.

The temperature of the Centre is maintained year-round using the geothermal system, eliminating the need for separate heating and cooling appliances, such as an oil furnace or air conditioner.

Composting Toilets

Input material is deposited in a large tank in the basement, where its exposed to decomposer organisms. A ventilation fan pulls air down the toilet shaft and across the pile, supporting decomposition and eliminating odour.

90% of input material is converted to carbon dioxide and water vapour. A small amount of organic “humus” remains, which has a bacterial content, colour, and texture similar to topsoil.

Greywater

Dirty water from sinks is treated with a bio-filter and stored in a septic tank, where natural processes breakdown foreign compounds.

From there, its pumped into a pressurized drip irrigation system. The flexible drip lines, which lie within a bed of wood chips, disperse the effluent into a vegetated area, allowing the soil and plants to absorb the liquid.

Active Solar

A large solar panel absorbs heat from the sun and transfers it to a glycol liquid which circulates through a network of tubes. This heat is transferred to water through a heat exchanger, which is powered by small photovoltaic panel. The heated water is then stored for use in the Centre's sinks.