At Earth Rangers, we work hard to educate and inspire kids and families about the importance of protecting animals and the environment. That’s why we’re very proud that our headquarters, the Earth Rangers Centre, has been designed in a way that embodies our commitment to protecting nature for future generations.
Located within a 325-acre conservation area north of Toronto, the Earth Rangers Centre is one of the most energy-efficient buildings in the world, using close to 90% less energy than other similar-sized structures. It achieved LEED™ Gold certification for New Construction in 2006, and in 2012 LEED™ Platinum status for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance, making it the highest-rated building of that designation. In 2018, it was among Canada’s first buildings to earn ENERGY STAR certification for commercial and institutional buildings. Last but not least, the Earth Rangers Center also provides an important year-round habitat for our Animal Ambassadors – bald eagles, foxes, lizards, and ring-tailed lemurs among them.
Maintaining this high level of efficiency involves a lot of different technologies, including solar photovoltaic generation, geothermal heating and cooling, earth tube ventilation, a green roof, and many others. In the spirit of keeping things efficient, we’re going to jump right into some major features that make the Earth Rangers Centre a wildly successful example of green building design and management.
A total of 44 wells dug down into the local till, shale, sand, limestone, and water aquifer in the parking lot make use of constant ground temperatures between 11°C to 15°C. To cool the Earth Rangers Centre an average of 1 degree on a 25°C summer day for 1 hour, our chiller would require 89 kWh of energy. But using geothermal, we only need 29 kWh of energy, making it up to 5 times more efficient!
Nine 900mm diameter, 20m long concrete pipes buried 1.5m below the ground temper fresh air into the Earth Rangers Centre at an average of 3°C, acting as a passive geothermal system. The tubes help save thousands of dollars in heating and cooling costs annually.
Concrete’s ability to store energy, or thermal mass, helps moderate indoor temperatures by slowly storing and releasing heat. The concrete used in the Earth Rangers Centre helps the building maintain a constant temperature, even with dips and spikes in the outdoor temperature.
Three different sections of green roof help to keep the building cool in the summer by reducing the heat island effect. Populated by native plants, the additional soil and vegetation also helps insulate the facility in the winter.
Since the Earth Rangers Centre first opened in 2006, our staff has constantly pushed to improve the facility’s performance. The efforts have paid off: in 2018, energy efficiency is 42% better than expected in the original design, and the building has seen an additional energy savings of 10% each year.
Want to see all of this for yourself? As a global demonstration site for green building technology and operations, the Earth Rangers Centre is committed to education and knowledge-sharing through on-site tours and online resources that provide access to live monitoring and real-time performance of all our systems.
Earth Rangers educates kids across Canada about the importance of renewable energy technology with the support of Enbridge.