Arena in line for environmental award
Lachine’s Pierre “Pete” Morin Arena has reopened recently after extensive renovations that will make it the first municipal arena in the Montreal area to qualify for a prestigious Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) award. This is an internationally-accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance, green buildings. To explain what LEED certification is about, a tour of the arena was offered on Sept. 8. Among those participating were John Morin and Pete Morin junior, sons of the former NHL hockey player for whom the arena is named.
“The changes we have made here are not readily apparent,” admitted tour guide, Jonathan Theoret to a crowd assembled on Sunday afternoon as the arena officially reopened. “That’s one reason why we’re offering this free, guided tour to show you what a LEED silver arena looks like on the inside. The improvements made here will allow this arena to operate using 50% less energy use than a standard arena.”
Theoret noted the enhanced lighting overhead and the heaters under each of the bleachers, rattling off facts and figures while his assistant, Sebastián Martínez Silva, verified crucial numbers from a thick binder. Both men work for Lachine’s Groupe de Recherche Appliquee en Macroecologie (GRAME), a local environmental group. Frederic Nadeau, manager of Lachine’s sports and leisure department, also added comments.
The guided tours went up into the cage where officials watch games from, but it was more than an hour before the hometown junior AAA Maroons were set to face off against the Kahnawake Condors; the ice was thus empty. So instead the crowd’s attention was drawn to how ducts have been built near the arena’s roof, and technicalities about to recuperate waste heat while allowing adequate ventilation. Theoret then led the group up to the roof where “integrated custom air handlers” perform VOC control, humidity control, energy recovery, etc.; old air is vented and fresh air brought in. A massive steel grill has been built to accommodate all this infrastructure; a woman wearing high heels quipped “I have the wrong footwear for here.”
Next, Theoret led the group outside, pointing notably to how the arena has a light-coloured steel roof with white membranes installed on flat sections. Having a “white roof” can reduce air conditioning energy needs by up to 90%, he commented.
The next stop was the “bunker,” a basement command centre underneath the ice. Here “piping” is complex and is a part of the energy efficiency of the system. The glycol used in compressors (that cool the bottom of the ice) also draws off heat used for the arena’s hot water, hot water for the Zamboni, and heating under the benches.
“Obtaining LEED silver certification requires meeting a 60-point checklist,” said Theoret. “One of them is offering guided tours of the facility. That’s another reason why we are giving this tour today.” The Times then asked Lachine Mayor Claude Dauphin– among those taking the free guided tour–what the cost was of the renovations. “More than $8 million,” replied the Mayor tersely.
The arena was constructed by a collective effort from the community in 1937. Pierre Morin senior (1915-2000) played for the Canadiens in 1941–42. Morin also played for the Montreal Royals and the Royal Canadian Air Force hockey team. The Morin arena is the home rink for the Lachine Maroons, who ended up losing 6-3 to the Condors last Sunday. Like many other arenas around Montreal, artistic skating is also offered here and free skating sessions.
“No other guided visits [of this arena] are planned,” Theoret told The Times. “But GRAME is organizing free, guided visits to the green roof situated at 735 Notre-Dame, Lachine on Saturday, Sept. 14 from 10 am — 4 pm. Visits will be offered continuously during the day. More info at www.grame.org.
Pierre “Pete” Morin Arena
1925 Saint-Antoine Street