The Earth Rangers Centre for Sustainable Technology is an advanced green building, certified Gold under LEED for New Construction. The Centre was designed to embody Earth Rangers values, to show that we practice what we preach, and to serve as inspiration to everyone who walks through the doors.
Located on the Kortright Living City Campus in Woodbridge, and home to the Earth Rangers Animal Ambassadors and staff, the Centre is a showcase of cutting edge sustainable building technology such as energy metering, smart automation and controls, innovative water and wastewater management, solar generation, green roofs, and geothermal heating and cooling.
It is proof that a building can be operated effectively and efficiently, while minimizing impact to the environment.
Earth Rangers is proud to announce the launch of the Earth Ranger’s Centre for Sustainable Technology Showcase. This new website features the technologies, partners, and sponsors that have made the ERC one of Canada’s leading facilities for sustainable technology.
The Earth Rangers Centre has been designed to minimize its impact on the environment. Throughout the virtual tour, the direct relationship of a specific building feature to air, energy, water, materials and/or biodiversity are briefly described through ERC’s “sustainability pillars”. These pillars identify elements that prioritize air quality (Air), energy use and generation (Energy), water use and quality (Water), renewable materials (Earth), as well as biodiversity and occupant health (Life).
The tour stops include the building envelope, renewable energy, green washrooms, data centre, building security, building automation, waste water, earth tubes, mechanical room, and green office. Each tour shop features an overview, the technologies involved, and the sponsors and partners who have played a critical role in the success of the stop. Complete with videos, 360 degree panoramic photos, video, infographics, and dynamic data, the site is an informative virtual tour of the building.
Our friends at Roger’s Greener York kindly produced this video profiling The Earth Rangers Centre. The centre was designed to show that we practice what we preach and to serve as inspiration to everyone who walks through the doors. Check it out!
The Earth Rangers Centre was one of the first buildings in Canada to use displacement ventilation. Displacement ventilation is an air distribution system that circulates air through diffusers located near the floor level and displaces, or moves, the existing air into return ducts near the ceiling.
Staff disturb the supplied air by walking and breathing, aiding in the displacement. Air eventually becomes stale from heat, moisture and carbon dioxide expelled by our breathing, causing it to rise to the ceiling where it is sucked into the central exhaust duct system.
A series of underground tunnels, called earth tubes, temper the fresh air entering the ventilation system. The Earth Rangers Centre has the largest installation of earth tubes in North America.
Displacement ventilation results in better indoor air quality than found in most standard office buildings. The new building automation system will monitor air quality based on temperature, humidity, and CO2 levels, determining how much fresh air to supply to the building. This will decrease the amount of energy required for ventilation based on occupancy levels.
The Earth Rangers’ 9.3 square metre (100 ft2) Data Centre is proof that it’s possible to build a small data centre without sacrificing performance and stability. With the help of Dell, Nortel, Pillar, VMware, Microsoft and Falconstor, Earth Rangers has created a data centre that is 10 times smaller than it could have been.
Completed in December 2008, the main goal in developing the data centre was to remain energy efficient and affordable without sacrificing performance. Energy consumption has only doubled even though performance has increased more than tenfold since moving to the new system. The electricity required for computing (nearly 100 kWh per day) is offset by the energy generated from the building’s 28 kW photovoltaic array.
Located on the ground floor of the Earth Rangers Centre, the data room includes storage servers from Pillar, Dell’s processing servers and virtual personal machines using VMware’s View software. Nortel’s Power over Ethernet (PoE) switching facilitates the transfer of electrical power and data across the infrastructure.
Virtualization has reduced the need for expensive, energy-intensive desktops as the majority of storage and processing power is now coming from the data centre. As well, new software and upgrades are easily provided to all staff from a single location.
The Virtual Private Network (VPN) technology from Nortel, also allows more than half of Earth Rangers’ staff to work from home, saving travel time and costs, and reducing pollution caused by driving to work every day. While Earth Rangers’ carpool network helps reduce the organization’s indirect carbon emissions, it is estimated that its VPN capabilities will help eliminate over 23 metric tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year.
The Earth Rangers Centre has two Solar Photovoltaic (PV) arrays in operation, both intended to help Earth Rangers further reduce its dependence on electricity from the grid. Both arrays provide power by converting the sun’s rays into a standard voltage to be used by the building’s systems. This system offsets the electricity consumed from the power grid, produces zero emissions, and requires very little maintenance.
One of the most visible features of the Earth Rangers Centre parking lot is the new 57.6kWp dual-axis tracking array. Situated on six separate posts, each array consists of 54 Solgate 175W panels, provided by Sentinel Power Systems. Each array follows the sun from east to west during the day, increasing output by up to 30 per cent over a fixed panel. Each panel has its own Enphase micro-inverter, further increasing the efficiency of the arrays, and allowing real-time monitoring of the system on panel by panel basis.
This array is predicted to develop enough power to offset up to 30 per cent of the Earth Rangers Centre’s electrical needs.
The aviary at the Earth Rangers Centre boasts a 28.08kWp array. This unique system, designed and installed by Enviro-Energy Technologies Inc., makes the aviary an energy positive building, providing enough energy to offset approximately 10 per cent of the Earth Rangers Centre’s annual needs, and providing shade for the animal ambassadors that live in this naturally ventilated building.
Live data and more information about the aviary PV array are available online.
The Earth Rangers Centre was one of the first 100 per cent radiant heated and cooled buildings in North America. This feat was accomplished using 22 kilometers of REHAU radiant tubing, which was laid within the concrete floors and ceiling. The flow of a non-toxic, vegetable-based liquid (water/glycol) through these tubes causes the concrete to become thermally-activated.
In the warm seasons, cooled liquid is supplied to the concrete slabs. The heat from the computers, people and the sun is absorbed by the concrete, causing the cooled liquid in the tubing to warm up. The liquid is then cooled by rejecting heat to the ground source system or free cooled by directly coupling to our cooling tower. In the colder months, the glycol is warmed by the ground source heat pump before it is supplied to the slab system. A high-efficiency condensing boiler serves as a back-up heat source.
The Earth Rangers Centre is setting new standards for technological and environmental design. Through the adoption of innovative sustainable construction strategies, Earth Rangers is minimizing its carbon footprint and serving as an exciting example of what is possible in green design.
Consideration was also paid to the sensitive surrounding habitat during the design and construction phases of the centre. An extensive onsite study was undertaken prior to development to minimize disruption to the local ecosystem.
Every aspect of the building was designed to minimize its impact on the environment:
Earth Rangers won the SNW’s spring 2010 best practices award in the category of green computing, energy efficiency and the data center.
The Earth Rangers Centre was awarded LEED® Gold designation in 2006 because of its small footprint, innovative design and exceptional energy performance.
The 2005 Ontario Concrete Association’s Sustainable Concrete Construction Award went to Earth Rangers.
In October 2006, Earth Rangers was recognized for its advanced wastewater treatment technology, with the 2006 global Ecomagination Leadership Award from GE.
The success that the Earth Rangers Centre has achieved would not have been possible without the success of our building partners, each contributing their knowledge, expertise, support, and products to further Earth Rangers’ mission to Bring Back the Wild. Notably, the following vendors have provided support for the Earth Rangers Centre’s systems