ST. PASCAL, Quebec - Canada’s first LEED-certified supermarket is a showcase of green, sustainable HVACR technologies and a preview of energy efficiency that commercial buildings can implement now. St. Pascal’s IGA features solar heating, fabric ductwork, heat recovery, high-efficiency compressor rack refrigeration, secondary glycol loop heat reclamation, and a host of other green technologies.

According to information provided by Ductsox, the heating equipment, for example, provides 100 percent of the store’s space heating requirement with solar, heat recovery, and fabric duct equipment. Although this prototype store’s heating equipment costs slightly more than conventional rooftop heating systems, refined systems in subsequent IGA store designs cost less. With Canadian government energy incentives, the heating system offers a zero payback, is completely sustainable, and uses no fossil fuels.

Developed and franchised by grocery retailer/food distributor, Sobeys Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Stellarton, Nova Scotia-based, Empire Co. Ltd., the northwestern rural Quebec St. Pascal IGA is a combination of piecemeal sustainability experiments throughout the 1,300-store chain the last six years that have culminated into one facility. Sobeys’ ongoing building and renovation program, which extends to approximately 30 stores annually, presents a solid laboratory to test new technologies.

“I believe it’s the social responsibility of all engineers to suggest the implementation of these technologies to their management because we’ve proven these products are available, functional, and cost-effective right now,” said Simon Berube, P.Eng., senior director of engineering, Sobeys-Quebec, Quebec City. “Engineers consider two years or less a good payback on sustainable equipment, but this store was paid back from day one.”

The store space heating consists of a wall-mounted solar thermal system by Enerconcept Technologies, Magog, Quebec; fabric ductwork by Ductsox Corp., Dubuque, Iowa; and heat recovery by a SmartRef Compressor Systems Control (CSC) system, Vaudreuil-Dorion, Quebec. Air conditioning is handled by a conventional high-efficiency DX air handling system by Carrier, Syracuse, N.Y., and uses the same fabric ductwork system. The solar system is a 6-inch wide, 1,800-square-foot black metal box mounted to the store’s southwest wall that heats outside air up to as much as 54°F above the outdoor ambient temperature. The solar system draws in outside air through the bottom and the heated air ascends through a patented baffle system before it’s delivered to the air handling system.

The DuctSox fabric duct helped toward gaining LEED credits because it’s a recycled material, contains no VOCs, requires 40 to 60 percent less labor, and is 90 percent lighter than metal.

Heat from the compressor racks is recovered by a SmartRef Compressor Systems Control (CSC) system, and supplied to a plate heat exchanger to bring the solar heated air up to temperature set points.

The refrigeration system, which was installed along with other mechanical systems by mechanical contractor, Dube Refrigeration, Montreal, features heat reclamation with a secondary glycol loop that reduces the store’s refrigerants requirement by over 700 lbs., versus a similarly-spaced conventional supermarket.

The heating and refrigeration systems are just two green factors. The St. Pascal IGA also uses high-efficiency T-5 fluorescent lighting, a parking lot catch-basin system that separates automotive oils from rainwater, and a complete building automation system for all mechanical equipment by Carrier Micro Thermal Technologies, Laval, Quebec.

While all the equipment offers very short competitive paybacks of less than a year, energy incentives brought paybacks to zero. For example, the store received $60,000 in subsidies from Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) - an arm of the government that ensures responsible development and use of natural resources. The store received the subsidy for surpassing the Model National Energy Code for Buildings (MNECB) standards by 47 percent. The MNECB has a minimum requirement to construct buildings that reflect today’s rising energy and construction costs, technological innovation, and energy concerns. Another $105,000 in subsidies came from utility Hydro-Quebec.

“The initial subsidies were important prototypical factors in the St. Pascal store, but the sustainable technology in our following stores will bring more even more subsidies,” said Berube.

Publication date:08/04/2008