du Toit Architects limited
Opened in September 2010, the Evergreen Brick Works building has been deemed a “cultural beacon” in Toronto. This multi-functional facility is built on the grounds of the Don Valley brickyards, one of Canada’s preeminent brick manufacturing buildings from the late 1800s through 1980. At its peak, the facility manufactured more than 43 million bricks a year, used to construct many prominent homes and buildings throughout the country, including Massey Hall and Old City Hall.
Now, the property is home to one of the country’s top ecological education centers, better known as the Evergreen Brick Works. The facility is host to a variety of classes and programmes providing insight and instruction on the value of sustainability to children and adults throughout the local community. A fresh garden market, event spaces, lush gardens and plant showcase areas, a bike collection and repair space, walking paths and parklands make up the 40-acre site.
Because sustainability is a focus for the centre’s activity, it is also a primary focus for much of the building’s design and operations. At the heart of the property’s operations is the Centre for Green Cities, a five-storey Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certified office building. Robert Plitt, Senior Manager of Sustainability for the Evergreen Brick Works, was charged with managing the building’s design and construction process to ensure that the products and systems used fell within its rigid building envelope guidelines.
“We wanted the building to be a premiere showcase for adaptive reuse and green building,” said Plitt. “With so much of the existing structure in place, we utilized existing elements of the building while also incorporating new technology to make the facility a flagship model of sustainable design. It’s definitely been a challenge balancing the old with the new, but we’ve reused approximately 95 percent of the original structure and systems.”
The Centre for Green Cities building showcases a comprehensive building automation system that controls all of the facility’s heating, cooling and ventilation needs. The building employs multiple strategies for managing heating and cooling; however, healthy hydronic heat provides the primary heat source for the facility. All “lost” energy is recovered through a heat recovery system that recycles heat back through the building during cold months in Ontario. Of the three boilers located at the top floor of the building, one condensing boiler supplies the low-temperature heating used throughout the remaining four stories. Energy for the hydronic system is primarily pulled from renewable resources, such as solar photovoltaic electricity.
“We needed a solution that would fit into a hybrid heating and cooling strategy,” said Plitt. “With Jaga, we were able to incorporate the right blend of products that has not only complemented the system we have in place, but it also help us meet our long-term energy saving goals.”
45 of Jaga’s Mini Canal and Built-in Trench radiators were installed alongside peripheral walls in meeting areas throughout the facility. These in-floor solutions were placed in trenches at the outside of concrete floors to maximize space and provide a clean, durable and unobstructed heat source. On the ground floor of the Centre, the radiators complement a modular in-floor radiant heating solution, allowing the interior space to heat more quickly when temperatures drop outside.
Jaga Mini Canals were also placed alongside floor to ceiling windows to help circulate air and prevent condensation from accumulating. In addition, these in-floor units were placed near entryways, covered with grates durable enough to withstand traffic entering and exiting the facility.
A total of 69 Strada radiators were used on the second and third floors of the building, which are primarily used as classrooms, meeting rooms and office spaces. On the third floor, home to the Evergreen office, Strada radiators were installed alongside the exterior wall. With the open office plan and minimalist design, the Stradas provide both aesthetic and functional appeal in this space. Westside facing sunlight provides much of the room’s natural heat in afternoon hours. As a result, Evergreen workers appreciate the quick reaction time of the Jaga units, as it keeps the room at comfortable temperatures so occupants do not overheat.
Contractors installed 44 Tempo radiators throughout the building’s spacious fourth floor offices. The sleek casing and low-surface temperature of these units make it the optimal choice to accommodate any current or prospective occupant. With offices occupied by recognizable groups such as the Sierra Club and the City of Toronto Parks and Recreation administration, the Tempo provides optimal heating control with nominal input.
On the fifth floor, mini canal units equipped with long legs from Jaga were installed to accommodate the raised floor and supply heat. The modular, hollow core concrete plank flooring system on this floor utilized covers which improved ventilation throughout the building. Offices were constructed without finishes, further limiting the amount of materials used and environmental impact.
“We’ve been impressed with the output of the Jaga units,” said Plitt. “For such a small, unobtrusive unit operating at low water temperatures, they generate a considerable output. These systems have helped us heat relatively large spaces with less energy.”
The Jaga units have delivered, enabling the building to stay warm in its first winter with limited energy consumption. Further, they have worked effectively in conjunction with some of the other heating systems used throughout the various spaces in the building.
“We’re continually measuring our energy performance,” said Plitt. “This enables us to accurately gauge the success of the systems we have in place, such as night cooling and low-temperature heating. We’ve been encouraged by the results we’ve seen so far.”
Using Jaga’s Low-H20 radiators, the Brick Works has been able to maximize the low-temperature loop in the building, substantially reducing the amount of wasted energy. Further, the quick reaction time of the Jaga system has enabled building occupants to stay comfortable without opening a window to offset the warm interior temperatures.
“There are few low-temperature heating systems that work as efficiently and effectively as Jaga’s products,” said Plitt. “They fit our unique requirements, accommodating the hybrid heating and cooling system we had in place while also reducing the overall energy costs of the building.”