The new Temple of Light is a wonderful example of a process of learning which began back in the 1960s. We are bringing together a lot of the knowledge gained, especially when it comes to looking at the entire structure of a building. Throughout the Ashram, once we switched out inefficient lighting and appliances, we learned as a first step to look at the building envelope – insulation, windows and doors.
The new Temple has triple glazed windows, super insulation, LED lighting and Solatubes, a special type of skylight. It will be a tightly sealed building, which will give us an efficient envelope. Added to this is a geothermal heat source and a heat recovery ventilation (HRV) system which will increase overall operational efficiency. The underlying principle of this system is to work with what is naturally given from the earth.
The Temple is also piloting a newer source of renewable energy for us – photovoltaic solar panels. This technology allows us to feed solar energy back into the grid. We eventually envision completing a second installation, which will help us reach our goal of a net zero building.
The Ashram’s sustainability focus was featured on CBC Radio’s Daybreak South (begins at 42:50).