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Environmental Stewardship

Innovation

Going Above and Beyond for the Environment at Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site

A view of the photovoltaic panels that cover the roof of the Visitor Centres patio at Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site. Photovoltaic panels on the roof of the Visitors Centre’s patio.
© Parks Canada

One of the finest collections of early stone buildings in Western Canada is now home to some very modern renewable energy features, including a SOLARWALL® ventilation system, an earth energy system and photovoltaic panels.

In an effort to become more energy efficient, the Museum Building and Visitor Reception Centre at Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site have seen some innovative improvements. The Museum Building is heated and cooled by a geothermal heat pump system. In the winter, natural heat from below the Earth’s surface is brought into the building, while in the summer, heat from the building is captured and discharged into the ground.

A close up of two solar lights on the roof of the Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site Museum building. Solar lights on the roof of the Museum at Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site.
© Parks Canada

At the Visitor Reception Centre, the outside air is preheated using solar wall technology before it enters the building, reducing the demand for natural gas heating in the winter. In the Centre’s multi-purpose room, vertical light tubes bring natural light in, almost entirely eliminating the need for electric light during the day. The photovoltaic panels on the roof of the Centre’s patio do their part as well – they produce enough electricity to meet approximately 5% of the Visitor Reception Centre demand, helping reduce the electricity bill.

Project Benefits

The combination of unique and practical energy-efficient systems at Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site is now making an important contribution to the sites greenhouse gas reduction efforts, year after year. These renewable energy and energy-conserving features will be showcased to nearly 60,000 visitors each year, demonstrating that even in a 150-year-old fur-trading post, modern-day technology can be used to reduce facility operating costs while improving indoor air quality and the environment.

Birds-eye view of the updated Visitor Reception Centre at Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site. The updated Visitor Reception Centre at Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site.e
© Parks Canada