When the decision was made to build a new Dickey Bee Honey teaching facility in Innisfil, both the environmental mission of the business and the bottom line were considered. Energy efficiency was top-of-mind during the initial construction and subsequent expansion. Considering all the available options, a geothermal system had the lowest carbon footprint.
Benefits of the system include a payback of 6 years, after which costs will only relate to the electricity needed to move air around the building. Cooling is an additional benefit, and temperatures can be adjusted to suit individual needs without the added worry of pulling too much energy from the grid. Installation was completed in a couple of days, and in this case, required about an acre of land.
Maintenance of the system is straightforward and only requires regular filter changes. A gauge sits on the side of the furnace-like structure to display the pressure in the system and to detect potential leaks. The configuration used for this facility is based on the installation of 4 pipe loops, each of about 300 feet long placed 6 feet underground in a horizontal position. Separate troughs were created for the pipes, to allow for maximum heat exchange. For more information on these systems visit Natural Resources Canada and the Canadian Geothermal Energy Association. Geothermal systems typically have a lifespan of about 25 years.
An important piece of the energy-efficiency puzzle is insulation. Dickey Bee Honey selected Blown in Blanket (or BIB) insulation for the walls and ceiling. BIB insulation has a high R value and is LEED certified. Two inches of Styrofoam installed under the concrete floors adds to heating and cooling efficiency.
The building also has a manifold system that efficiently controls water pressure to all rooms, and 100% energy-efficient lighting. LUX lighting was selected due to its low heat production, minimal energy use, and lack of glare. The model selected was TT5 high output low voltage lighting. A description of LUX and Lumen output can be found here.
Peter of Dickey Bee Honey recommends that operators considering a geothermal system ask contractors for references and installation practices before proceeding. Due to increasing demand for their tours and workshops, Dickey Bee is adding an 1850 sq. ft. building expansion, but in this case, additional energy costs will be covered!
About The Author – Aileen MacMillan holds an Honours Bachelor of Environmental Studies degree from the University of Waterloo, and has worked as an independent consultant on environmental projects related to waste management, water quality protection, and environmental education. She has many years of experience working in small business and working collaboratively with teams and individual stakeholders.