Going Green - Lange's Green Initiative
Lange is the first company in Canada to “totally retrofit” a 70,000 sq ft office and warehouse operation with geothermal heating and air-conditioning.
Lange purchased a 70,000 sq ft building at 3965 Nashua Drive in Mississauga in July 2006. Upon receiving an electrical bill of approx. $3,800 for the first month (and they had not even moved in yet) the management team at Lange knew that something had to be done. This electrical bill was only for the warehouse and office lights that were on for the painters, and carpet people who were doing some renovations.
Realizing that Lange had purchased a monster of a building that was 30 years old, and a “glutton for energy use”, changes had to be made. It was decided that the building needed to be more “green”.
The following was identified:
Need to replace all the 30 year old windows with new double pane windows that would reduce heat loss in winter and heat coming in during the summer.
All washrooms and kitchen areas were equipped with motion detectors so that lights went on when entered and off after 10 minutes of no motion.
Light switches, where possible, were changed from operating as many as 20 fluorescent tubes to only operating 4 or 5. This allows us to operate lighting in areas as needed instead of lighting the entire office.
Solar Tubes were installed which allow natural light to come into individual offices and the middle of the office area. This allows us to leave the lights off in the individual offices and parts the main office on most days as natural sun-light keeps these areas bright.
Through some research it was discovered that geothermal heating and air-conditioning was a possible method to reduce energy consumption by as much as 60 to 80%.
Select Power of Guelph was hired to do a cost study on two main areas:
1) Completely “retrofit” the 10,000 square feet of office to much more energy efficient lighting. By switching to T8 fluorescent tubes, approx. 35% energy savings were realized on the office lighting alone.
2) Provide a complete geothermal heating and air-conditioning system for not only the 10,000 sq ft of office, but the approx. 60,000 sq ft of warehouse area.
We requested that the system be engineered so that the office could be a cozy 72 degrees year round, no matter what the outside temperature would be. We requested that the warehouse be able to maintain a min of 55 to 60 degrees in the winter, and the summer we requested that we be able to keep it between 75 and 80 degrees.
The goal was to completely cut off the use of natural gas in our building and to reduce hydro consumption by at least 40% from the previous system.
Being the business person or being the environmentalist in this case means a serious investment. To accomplish the above over $600,000 was budgeted, with an expected payback of 8 years 6 months based on today’s energy costs. But one more problem came up, to get the heat from Mother Earth means drilling 360 feet down, and in this case 28 holes need to be drilled, approx. 6 inch diameter, and the holes have to be approx. 10 feet apart to avoid too much heat loss from one part of the earth. The building sits on approx. 3 acres, and the 70,000 sq ft building used much of that space, until it was realized that one of the driveways that circled the building was in such rough shape from not being re-paved in many years, that the over 300 feet of driveway, by 24 feet wide would be the perfect solution for the drilling of the bore field that was required.
So in September of 2006 Lange hired Select Power of Guelph (a division of Guelph Hydro) to oversee the project of the geothermal installation and the new lighting system in the offices. GeoSmart Energy of Cambridge engineered the project, and Main Air Systems of Mississauga was hired to be the Mechanical contractor. As part of the contract all the old HVAC was removed. Improvements were made to the existing duct work system to allow better air flow through the whole system. The 30 year old building didn’t have an air exchange system for the offices and as part of having a healthier and more comfortable work environment that was installed. By the middle of November the system was up and running, even the hot water tank was switched from electrical to geothermal.
Once the system was up and operational our natural gas meter was removed and our service was shut off – resulting in an immediate monthly savings of $5,631 in natural gas alone.