Montreal's Nature Museums Go Even Greener!

Gerald Tremblay, Mayor of Montreal, Helen Fotopulos, Executive Committee Member responsible for Mount Royal Park, Nature parks and the Nature Museums, and Charles-Mathieu Brunelle, Executive Director of Montreal’s Nature Museums, are proud to announce an energy saving program that will enable the Biodome, Insectarium and Botanical Garden to reduce their annual greenhouse gas emissions by 30% and cut their energy costs by about 30%. The central feature of the program is the installation of geothermal systems at the Biodome and Insectarium.

More specifically, the Ecosystem company will be installing geothermal-type heat recovery systems at the Biodome and Insectarium, making it possible to convert heat into energy and power the air-conditioning and heating systems. At night, the Botanical Garden will use an electric boiler to produce the necessary energy, thereby reducing its use of natural gas and at the same time its greenhouse gas emissions. The program also includes work to optimize ventilation systems and upgrade to more efficient lighting systems. In addition, the future Planetarium, to open in summer 2012, will meet LEED platinum criteria.1

Mayor Tremblay noted that “sustainable development is a goal that we are pursuing on a daily basis in Montreal. This project is an important step in implementing our strategic sustainable development plan, with the aim of offering Montrealers a healthy environment, an essential ingredient in optimal quality of life.” Helen Fotopulos, Executive Committee member responsible for the Nature Museums, said she is proud that “Montreal’s Nature Museums are showing their true nature and leading by example, by adopting environmentally responsible behaviour.”

The Executive Director of the Nature Museums, Charles-Mathieu Brunelle, pointed out that this project is part of an extensive overall plan that will allow Montreal’s Nature Museums to focus on helping people enjoy nature to the fullest. “This energy saving program will move us closer to our ultimate objective, which we can sum up simply as “zero waste,” and further reflect our philosophy of maintaining a natural balance.”

An opportunity to promote environmentally responsible behaviour

To promote environmentally responsible behaviour, explanatory panels will describe all these actions for visitors to the three museums. In addition, strategically located posters will invite visitors and employees to “go green” themselves.

Lastly, fact sheets on the whole project and illustrations of the technologies used are available on the Montreal Nature Museums Website, at museumsnature.ca.

The city of Montreal will be contributing $7.5 million to the project, while Hydro-Quebec ($900,000), the Federation of Canadian Municipalities ($350,000) and the Natural Resources Canada EcoENERGY Retrofit program ($10,500) are all project partners. Once the work is completed, in September 2010, a five-year performance guarantee will take effect. The project will pay for itself over eight to nine years, thanks to lower energy consumption.

Project data sheets and visuals of the technologies used are available in the Going Green section of the Montreal Nature Museums Website, at museumsnature.ca.

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