Project Highlights

To view a Quicktime Movie of the facility click here (5.5MB file)

In 2001, tekmar Control Systems retained Kerr Wood Leidal Associates Ltd. (KWL) to assist in developing a new, environmentally friendly production, research and administration facility in Vernon, British Columbia. The project employs Low-Impact Development (LID) concepts to manage on-site stormwater and underground heat-source pumping to create a very energy-efficient facility. The stormwater system, which was designed by KWL, is integrated with the building’s heating and cooling system, developed by tekmar. The facility showcases tekmar’s hydronic heating products.

The environmental objectives of the project were to

  • reduce the building’s year-round energy needs,
  • reduce stormwater runoff volume, rate, contaminant transfer, and adverse water quality impacts, and
  • make beneficial use of on-site stormwater.

On-site stormwater is managed by two integrated systems: one for the building, and one for the roads, parking, and landscaped areas. These systems, which cover 2.1 hectares, including 1.3 hectares of impervious roof and parking areas, collect and dispose of virtually all of the stormwater on-site.

For the building system, stormwater is collected and retained on the rooftop for use in the building’s heating and cooling systems. During the hot Okanagan summer months, evaporative cooling reduces the building’s air conditioning loading significantly. While some of this retained water evaporates, some is routed to underground storage where it is gradually released to an infiltration field. During cool weather, supplementary building heat is produced by circulating the stored water through a heat pump. To maintain the system’s efficiency during dry spells, irrigation water can be automatically added to the roof and later released to the infiltration field to improve the efficiency of the heat-source piping.

Stormwater runoff from roads and parking lots is directed to a series of vegetated swales and allowed to dissipate through a combination of bio-retention, transpiration, and ground infiltration. Any extreme storm overflow from either the building or site systems is directed to the City of Vernon’s storm system. No overflow, however, is expected for storms with less than a 10-year return period. The systems are, therefore, capable of handling a spectrum of rainfall events.

This project is a model of sustainability in terms of energy efficiency and stormwater management. Unlike conventional industrial sites that increase stormwater runoff, the tekmar facility should virtually eliminate off-site stormwater runoff by routing water directly to the ground. The site uses the stormwater in clean processes to heat and cool the building, while enabling the excess to dissipate through the natural processes of bio-retention, evaporation, transpiration, and ground infiltration. The facility is gentle on the environment in that it should create no negative impacts on either the surrounding properties or on the existing stormwater infrastructure.