In 2009, Sobeys opened a new 47,350 square metre dry goods distribution centre in Vaughan, Ontario. This facility’s extensive use of automation technology makes it unique in Canada. Its construction and design incorporated a number of environmentally sensitive features similar to those employed at the Trois-Rivières distribution centre.
Specifically, the Vaughan distribution centre’s features include:
- High R-value insulation in a number of areas of the building to reduce heating and cooling power demands and costs.
- Concrete used in the interior and exterior of the building contains recycled iron and steel slag that otherwise would have been disposed of as waste. The use of concrete instead of oil-based asphalt for exterior paving. Concrete provides light reflectivity qualities that reduce exterior lighting needs. It also absorbs less heat than asphalt, which reduces the facility’s heat island effect, and it is longer lasting. Heat island effect is the tendency of man-made structures to attract and retain heat at a higher rate than is normal in nature, which increases ground-level ozone production.
- Vertically stored dock plates allowing doors to seal to reduce air entering into or escaping from the interior of the building, which reduces power demand.
- A white, or “cool”, roof made of recyclable material that reduces solar heat transfer to the building, which in turn reduces electricity demand and the building’s heat island effect.
- Water conservation features including electronic water faucets.
- Landscaping created using topsoil that had been moved and retained during construction. This eliminated the need to truck material to and from the site.
- Fast-charge battery charging units that use less energy than conventional battery charging equipment. In addition to their energy saving qualities, these battery chargers allow us to significantly reduce the number of batteries we use to power our material handling equipment, resulting in fewer spent batteries.
- A Building Automation System (BAS)a computerized, intelligent network of electronic devices designed to monitor and control the building’s mechanical and lighting systems. The system keeps the building’s climate within a specified range, provides lighting based on occupancy schedule and monitors system performance and failures. The BAS helps reduce building energy and maintenance costs.
- A natural gas back-up power generator that produces lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than conventional diesel-operated generators.
- Marmoleum flooring in the lunchroom. This floor is made from natural and renewable materials. No toxins are used or produced during the manufacturing of Marmoleum and no off-gassing occurs during use.
- Prefabricated pre-cast and metal insulated panels on the exterior of the building. By using these types of panels, if the facility were to be expanded in the future, we will be able to reuse these panels rather than send them to landfill.
Energy saving technology and equipment installed in the facility include:
- Extensive use of motion-activated lighting; unoccupied areas of the building are not illuminated until staff enter an area.
- T8 fluorescent lighting in the building’s interior and energy-efficient high-intensity discharge (HID) lighting on the exterior of the building.
- Self-cleaning windows that provide natural light, reducing the facility’s need for energy consuming artificial lighting.
- Tractor block heaters equipped with timers.