The state-of-the-art Parks Canada Discovery Centre allows visitors a glimpse of Canada’s national historic sites and national marine conservation area. It is located on the edge of Lake Ontario in the Hamilton Harbour. The Centre is an important element to Parks Canada’s marine conservation education strategies and a welcome tourism attraction for the City of Hamilton.
Gruen took responsibility for the mechanical, electrical design for the discovery centre, with Consullux working on the lighting design. The building design was focused on providing ‘green’ initiatives including the use of renewable energy sources. As innovation in green technology, the centre installed a ground source heating and cooling system that harnesses energy from the ground for its heat, ventilation and air conditioning needs. The system reduces dependency on conventional fuels, lowering costs and greenhouse gas emissions. Additional cost savings resulted from a unique installation method for the system: to preserve the long-term stability of the grounds, the piping was placed into the foundation piles, avoiding extra drilling. The ground source vertical loop is proposed as a heat sink and a heat source for ground source heat pumps.
An estimated 55 t of cooling will be rejected to the ground source loop. The ground source loop utilizes approximately 55 boreholes, 150 ft. deep.
Natural ventilation was used for spaces including the lobby, Cyber-Café, and the multi-use room by means of motorized operable windows. Manual operable windows were also provided in the office spaces for natural ventilation. Efficient air handling, heat pumps and cooling units were used. For example, variable volume supply and exhaust fans were implemented, a heat wheel section for heat recovery from the exhaust of the building, and a more efficient vertical floor mounted, water source heat pumps designed for closet installations were used.