2005 Buildings — Co-winner 2
City of Rivière-du-Loup, Quebec
Centre Premier Tech de Rivière-du-Loup
Centre Premier Tech is unique not only in terms of the range of advanced and newly applied technologies it uses, but also in the way it garnered the support of residents and the business community. The 3,000-seat, 4,230-square metre arena is the only one of its kind in Canada boasting reduced energy and water consumption, in addition to increased spectator comfort. Its construction has generated considerable interest in other municipalities across Canada. The arena's steel structure, as well as its dehumidification, refrigeration and lighting systems have been innovatively implemented. The refrigeration system, for example, allows facility operators to optimally adjust the temperature in order to obtain an outstanding quality of the ice surface. The arena recovers heat from this system and uses it to heat spectator stands and domestic hot water as well as the snow dump. The use of waterless urinals also sets this arena apart from others. The CANMET's Centre for Energy Technology (Natural Resources Canada) and Hydro-Québec is continuing to monitor the building's energy efficiency and will provide recommendations for improvement to the systems and export the technologies experimented.
Rivière-du-Loup's original arena, built in 1963, had a 2,500 seating capacity and served a population of about 25,000 people, which was well below the provincial average per population. "Residents had to travel to neighbouring regions for ice time, and, over the years, pressure from the community to expand the arena became more pronounced," says Benoît Ouellet, director of the city's recreation, culture and community services.
The city initially wanted to modify the existing arena to match the current standards of comfort. Furthermore, when the city was awarded the 2nd Canadian Games of La Francophonie in 2002, it was clear that the existing arena was no longer suitable. Hence, the community feedback coupled with the needs expressed by users prompted the city to move toward the construction of a new arena.
Building a new facility would immediately address the needs of current arena users and accommodate the City's projected population growth. The City also wished to have an arena capable of accommodating major events.
"The city has been moving towards a strategic plan that incorporates sustainable development approaches in recent years," says Mr. Ouellet. City council viewed the project as an opportunity to showcase its policies, promote local economic development and improve the quality of life of the population.
- The centre consumes less than half the energy used by conventional arenas. The city, with the help of the CANMET's Centre for Energy Technology (Natural Resources Canada) will continue to monitor all of the arena's systems with an eye to perfecting its maintenance and repair operations.
- The arena's interior walls are coated with a perforated film to improve the building's acoustics.
- The centre saves four million litres of water each year by having installed waterless urinals, which use an oil-filled cartridge containing a filter. Urine sinks through the filter to remain under the oil, which eliminates odours. In addition, the centre's design complies with the city's 2005 Water Management Policy.
- The arena captures cold air generated by the refrigeration system to create a "cold air bank." Rather than using an expensive dehumidification system, moist air is circulated and cooled over these "cold air banks."
- The arena is now home to a new Quebec Midget AAA Development Hockey League franchise.
- COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT IS CRUCIAL. The community was actively involved from the beginning, and through public consultations expressed its clear need for a new arena. Residents, community groups, the local media as well as the cultural and social groups have been extremely supportive, both financially and politically. For example, ice users and other city residents came together to raise funds, a model that was used for the whole project.
- THE PRIVATE SECTOR ALSO NEEDS TO GET INVOLVED. The city's partnerships with the private sector were very successful. "Genivar Inc. (the construction and engineering company) did not hesitate to revisit a few notions in order to be innovative," says Mr. Ouelett. "Premier Tech also saw an opportunity to increase its visibility and add to the quality of life for its employees." Similarly, other private-sector partners recognized that the project could be a key factor in attracting new employees to the region.
- COMMUNICATION IS KEY. Partners to the project were continually informed during the evolution of the project since its inception. This procedure became the norm with respect to the communication and transfer of information throughout the whole project.
- USE AVAILABLE RESOURCES. In addition to the PIRAQ program, the city took advantage of an energy-efficiency evaluation program offered by Hydro-Québec, in order to monitor the centre's performance.
- Municipal councillors, management, city departments including engineering, recreation, culture and community services, finance and treasury services, the Registry and legal services, as well as city's communications services.
- Canada-Quebec Infrastructure Program
- Government of Quebec's Ministère des Affaires municipales et des Régions; Ministère de l'Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport, Ministère de l'Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale; and Ministère de la Famille, des Aînés et de la Condition feminine
- Numerous partners from the private and community sectors, including Association des arénas du Québec
- CANMET Energy Technology Centre