Net-Zero Waste Management & Education Centre opens in Oxford County

Builder Gateman-Milloy celebrated the opening of a modern new facility with its client Oxford County last week. The new building, located at 384060 Salford Rd., Salford, Ontario, was designed and built to meet aggressive energy efficiency and sustainability goals set by the County in 2015; it is anticipated the building will receive Zero Net Energy certification from the New Buildings Institute (NBI) after one year of monitoring. The building will serve as the new Waste Management & Education Centre for Oxford County. Gateman-Milloy was the construction partner on the project, working closely with Oxford County and its other partners, including Michael A. Wilson Architect (Stratford) and Zon Engineering (Cambridge), on construction execution.

“We were delighted to build this exciting project,” says Mike Milloy, President of Gateman-Milloy. “We applaud Oxford County for their leadership in making renewable energy and zero waste a reality, and for the opportunity to demonstrate our team’s sustainable construction capabilities. Our goal is to create all the best places by partnering with our clients to help them realize their visions.”

Gateman-Milloy and Oxford County's new Waste Management and Education Centre in Kitchener, Ontario.
Gateman-Milloy and Oxford County’s new Waste Management and Education Centre in Kitchener, Ontario.

“The new Oxford County Waste Management & Education Centre is a real-world example of how buildings can be sustainably constructed and operated,” says Peter Crockett, CAO, Oxford County. “It includes demonstrations, resources and information to educate and inspire further sustainability initiatives.”

The new, fully electric building includes a solar photovoltaic system that generates as much electricity as the building consumes on a yearly basis. By incorporating a solar energy system onsite, the annual electrical operating cost for this building is reduced to the fixed charges to remain connected to the electrical grid.

Gateman-Milloy and Oxford County's new Waste Management and Education Centre in Kitchener, Ontario.
Commemorating the opening of Oxford County’s new Waste Management & Education Centre. From left to right:
Greg Leskien, Zon Engineering
David Simpson, Director of Public Works, Oxford County
Dave MacKenzie, MP Oxford
David Mayberry, Warden, Oxford County
Hon. Ernie Hardeman, MPP Oxford
Peter Crockett, CAO, Oxford County
Michael Wilson, Michael A. Wilson Architect
Craig Miedema, Gateman-Milloy

Building performance is designed to meet the 71.5 kWh/m2 requirement of the New Building Institute’s Zero Net Energy criteria. To take things one step further, it was decided that the entire site including not just the newly built facility, but the landfill itself would become a net-zero electricity consumer. Ongoing building performance monitoring will help Oxford County make sure it continues to optimize performance, and will provide valuable energy performance data that will be used to further inform future building designs.

The entire solar photovoltaic system constructed has a designed size of 120 kilowatts, with 24 kilowatts being required to net-zero the building’s energy use.

In addition to utilizing solar energy to achieve net zero, the building itself is designed with energy efficiency in mind. The visually impactful rammed earth walls are 22 inches thick and contain 8 inches of insulation with an R-value of 55. In addition to the heavily insulated walls, there is significant insulation below the floor and in the roof to minimize the amount of electric heating and cooling required.

The building also features triple-pane windows designed to reduce heat loss in the winter, and heat gain in the summer, while allowing natural daylight to reduce the amount of electricity required to power lighting. The building uses highly efficient HVAC equipment for heating and cooling, including two Energy Recovery Ventilators to recover heat energy from the building’s exhaust air and is used to heat the incoming fresh air supply from outside.

Lastly, the building was constructed with a septic system so it won’t be sending waste into the County infrastructure and uses well water so as not to draw on municipal water sources.

Photos via Gateman-Milloy / Oxford County

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