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Canada's Diversity Gardens

By Karen Duffin on Monday 14 May 2018

Focal Engineering used IESVE to perform whole building energy modelling and LEED assessment of The Leaf, a unique new multi-climate zone facility at the centre of this redevelopment of Assiniboine Park in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Canada’s Diversity Gardens is the final major phase in a $200 million redevelopment campaign to revitalize and rejuvenate Assiniboine Park in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The publicly accessible space will comprise of four cornerstones – The Leaf, The Indigenous Peoples’ Garden, The Cultural Mosaic Gardens, and The Grove – where people can go to experience different climates and learn about nature.

Central to this development will be “The Leaf,” a complex 6,000+ square metre facility comprising of four distinct zones designed to transport visitors through different climates and environments. The building will contain a series of biomes, each with its own controlled environment, including a sub-tropical biome, a Mediterranean biome and a biome designed to house tropical butterflies. Attached to the biomes will be a support building containing general offices, conference and events space and a restaurant. The building is intended to be a global leader in energy efficiency through the use of geothermal and solar technology.

Focal Engineering were appointed to provide whole building energy modelling of The Leaf for the purposes of building permit compliance and LEED certification. They worked in collaboration with Transsolar KlimaEngineering who were responsible for the design modelling of the building.

Focal Engineering used IESVE software to model the predicted total energy consumption of The Leaf and its systems. Due to the complex nature of the building design, getting the geometry and the systems modelled accurately made this project particularly challenging.

The Leaf will be naturally ventilated for the most part with heating only in the biomes, save for some evaporative cooling. Focal Engineering were able to model the natural ventilation strategy using the MacroFlo application in IESVE. This proved to be an invaluable tool, allowing the team to accurately model multiple unique opening profiles for each space.

The building will rely on a combination of systems in order to achieve and maintain the required internal climate for each biome. Focal Engineering modelled a range of solutions in IESVE including: radiant floor heating, perimeter fin-tube, fan coils, natural ventilation with earth tube, fog nozzles and open loop ground-water source heat pumps. Using the ApacheHVAC tool, they were able to model the custom systems to a detailed level and were able to model a strategy of using the biome AHUs to cycle stratified warm air from upper portions of the biomes to lower air volumes when conditions were appropriate.

Moisture gains arising from plants within the biomes were also simulated within the energy model. To achieve this, Focal Engineering used the ERGON tool to translate the moisture gains from Transsolar’s design model into an hourly schedule which could be imported into the energy model in IESVE adding further detail to the simulation.

The new facility is currently under construction and is on track to achieve LEED Silver certification.

“The functionality offered by IESVE was extremely useful in this project. MacroFlo, in particular, was vital for modelling the natural ventilation strategy and ApacheHVAC offers much better capability for modelling custom HVAC systems than what other software has to offer. The ability to view results, for example, air temperatures with a video rendering in VistaPro is also fantastic and particularly useful for validating and interrogating your results – you can see exactly what’s going on in each zone. That, for me, is one of the strongest points of IES.”

- Riley Beise, Principal, Focal Engineering