July 6, 2016

BACKSTAGE : Step into the heart of the Monastère

The technical services team at the Monastère des Augustines organized an open-house day for their colleagues. Each technician became a guide-for-a-day and led a small group through our various mechanical rooms. This special opportunity showed participants the utility of the various pieces of equipment and the importance of the technicians’ daily tasks. This visit was so impressive the Fiducie chose to share this special moment with you, dear readers! You will learn about areas of the Monastère that are usually restricted, and see how much effort we dedicate towards sustainability.

Let’s go backstage!

Technical services director Martin Rochon told us to meet him at the group entryway, in front of an unremarkable door that’s usually always closed. This door leads to the “lungs” of the Monastère. Filled with machinery and piping, this room contains all the ventilation, heat recuperation, geothermic heating and air conditioning devices. It is also the main electrical entry. The decibels are high in there, but we could hear the explanations of foreman Serge Gagnon, who showed us the high-efficiency air filters and the ingenuity of the heat recuperation system, which saves a considerable amount of energy.

The highlight of this visit was certainly learning about the 30-well geothermic heating and air conditioning system. We all knew the Fiducie chose to install this equipment, which is central to our sustainable development policy. However, we got to see it for the first time and understand how it draws energy from the bedrock 600 feet below. We then visited the pump room and learned about the small passageways and tunnels hidden throughout the Monastère to access electrical or mechanical equipment.

Managing comfort intelligently

All the infrastructure necessary to our guests’ and employees’ comfort is managed by an integrated computer system. On just one screen, operators can adjust the temperature of a room, a wing or the whole building. “This system is programed to take into consideration the occupancy of each unit. It lowers the temperature in vacant rooms and raises it when guests arrive (or vice versa). If the sun raises the temperature in a part of the building, this heat is recuperated and transferred to a shadier area. This allows us to temper each room and save energy,” Martin Rochon explained.

Proud of our sustainability efforts

The remodeling of the Monastère des Augustines is in and of itself an act of sustainable development. This heritage building was restored and remodeled for new uses. Most of the existing materials were reused or reinstalled, and the monastery’s furniture was put back into the building. During the construction work, local materials were chosen for their quality and durability, and the glues, solvents and paint were chosen for their low emission of volatile organic compounds (VOC). Insulation and LED lights, some of which are controlled by movement detectors, are other choices that help reduce our energy consumption.

All these efforts have been made so future generations may enjoy this place of immeasurable historic value. Sustainable and responsible development is indeed one of the Fiducie’s and the Monastère des Augustines’ main priorities. This principle affects every aspect of its mission, from managing residual waste to offering local bath products in each room and encouraging the conscious eating of local, healthy and organic foods.

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