Modelling Path Success Story
La Villa Beauséjour Inc. is a new, 80 bed nursing home located in Caraquet, New Brunswick. The facility was built entirely on one floor and consists of four resident wings, with two living areas, two dining areas as well as a private family visiting area and two wings for administration and building services. The design and final product resulted in an energy efficient nursing home that successfully completed Efficiency NB's Start Smart Modelling Path program.
La Villa Beauséjour opened in August 2010. The nursing home's design suggested that the facility should achieve an annual energy savings of 38 per cent as compared to the Model National Energy Code for Buildings - 1997 (MNECB), the minimum requirements, which translates into a cost savings of $90,893 per year. These energy savings also account for about 630 tonnes reduction in greenhouse gas emissions per year, equivalent to taking 124 passenger vehicles off the road for one year.
The new building boasts a great deal of natural light, especially in its residential wings. According to Roger Landry, the resident’s director general, they’ve had nothing but positive comments from the staff, visitors and residents. “It’s a lovely and bright atmosphere that is comfortable all year-long. With its easy temperature controls and heated floors, the residents even enjoy walking around barefoot during the winter months,” he says.
Design and construction focused on creating a superior, energy efficient building envelope so as to reduce heating and cooling requirements for the building. The building is heated and cooled by ground source heat pumps, which also provide domestic hot water. It is also outfitted with six energy recovery ventilators (ERVs), with high heat recovery effectiveness. The ERVs condition fresh air brought into the building with heat and moisture as needed throughout the seasons as part of the ventilation system.
“Much of the onus falls on the mechanical components, the high efficiency motors, HVACs and geothermal equipment, to achieve a majority of the efficiencies,” says Steven Tweedie, principal of Tweedie & Associates Consulting Engineers Ltd, the firm responsible for the project’s mechanical design.
Before installing the geothermal heat pumps, the firm performed a thermal response test, which generated a temperature profile of the soil and its ability to heat and cool. Information gained from this test helped save the Villa somewhere in the range of $60-75,000 by avoiding the installation of unnecessary geothermal equipment, Tweedie says. The geothermal heat pumps are the main source of heat, but the building is also equipped with high efficiency oil fired boilers as back-up for the coldest days of the year.
“There’s a lot of work that goes into modelling for energy efficiency” says Tweedie, “but the effort is definitely worth it.” The results, he says, are a high performance, energy efficient building that “gets people talking and thinking about energy efficiency and building operations.”
Through Efficiency NB’s Start Smart Modelling Path program, buildings are modelled to establish annual energy savings and to demonstrate overall building performance. Program incentives help offset costs associated with designing sustainable high efficiency buildings and are calculated based on two times the estimated annual energy savings to a maximum of $60,000 per eligible building.
Efficiency NB also offers the Start Smart Prescriptive Path - Core Performance ENB Edition program which can be better suited for smaller commercial buildings with a total floor area between 950 m² and 6600 m². The Prescriptive Path is designed to achieve significant, predictable energy savings using building design leading practices customized to the New Brunswick climate, with no energy modelling or simulation required.