The C$2.9-million retrofit of a community centre in Pictou County, Nova Scotia, is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy use by 34%, save $356,000 in annual operating costs, and embody the centre’s dedication to all-round well-being.
Built in 2012, the 155,000-square-foot Pictou County Wellness Centre is home to two arenas, two Olympic-size ice rinks, an aquatic centre, a fitness centre, and several community meeting spaces.
Through planned efficiency upgrades, the centre will use waste heat from the arenas to warm the swimming pool, install responsive ventilation systems and usage-based temperature controls, and build a solar wall that generates and stores power. The improvements are expected to save more than $5 million in energy costs over a 15-year period—or some $356,000 annually, the Municipality of Pictou County said in a statement posted last year.
“We live in a world where the focus is on the importance of being green and we are a centre that makes wellness a priority in every aspect,” said the centre’s board chair, Jim Ryan. The community centre is considered new, but “the technology that exists today did not exist when it was built, and we now have an opportunity to be better.”
Pictou County expects the project to “pay for itself” in a short period of time through utility savings and green incentives from municipal, provincial, and federal programs. The centre also received $36,000 from the Green Municipal Fund’s Community Building Retrofit (CBR) initiative, enabling it to conduct an emissions reduction feasibility study.
The enhancements align with the centre’s broader ethos of sustainable wellness, operations chief Graham MacNeil said, in a recent promotional video celebrating the ongoing retrofit.