Sustainable development and ecocitizenship
The “My Space for Life Garden” program was set up in 2013 with the help of funding from the Conférence régionale des élus de Montréal and the Secrétariat à la région métropolitaine. Developed in collaboration with the Regroupement des Éco-quartiers de Montréal, this participatory program invites citizens to protect and learn more about biodiversity by creating a space for biodiversity at home. In 2013, 47 spaces were recognized as either a monarch oasis, a bird garden or a biodiversity garden.
In an effort to renew its food offering and to be more consistent with its mission, the Montréal Space for Life is launching one of the most ambitious social economics projects in Québec. Projet Sol Café brings together several socio-professional integration food services organizations. Since November 2013, visitors to the Biodôme and the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium can enjoy predominantly vegetarian, local, certified organic or environmentally friendly food while at the same time contributing to the development of their community by supporting social reintegration. Real, effective action in favour of the natural and human environment!
The Ephemeral Forest
The first Ephemeral Forest popped up in January 2011. This forest consists entirely of some one thousand Christmas trees reused after the Holiday season. The Ephemeral Forest is a temporary installation, created jointly with ordinary Montrealers and located next to the Biodôme and the Olympic Stadium.
Reserved for biodiversity
Some organizations reserve parking spaces for executives; the Biodôme, Insectarium and Botanical Garden choose to reserve them for biodiversity! As such, to mark the International Day for Biological Diversity in 2011, eight parking spots were transformed into four spaces reserved for biodiversity. Trees and other native species were planted in these spaces – life and greenery replacing asphalt. This initiative was made possible with the participation of students from the École des métiers de l’horticulture de Montréal.
Environmentally responsible events
The following events were classified according to the BNQ 9700-253 standard for Responsible Event Management.
- Space for Life architecture competition – Public hearings (level 1)
- 2013 Great Gardening Weekend (level 2) and 2014 (level 3)
- Mosaïcultures Internationales Montréal 2013 (level 3)
- Montréal Space for Life Foundation benefit evening 2013 (level 4)
- 2013 Botanical Garden Christmas Fair (level 3)
Furthermore, between September 2011 and December 2012, the Planetarium team led numerous astronomy activities in schools across Québec. As such, we were able to reach 13,351 students at 137 schools with an inflatable planetarium. The greenhouse gas emissions generated by our van were offset, making the tour carbon-neutral.
- Equivalent of 8.03 tonnes of CO2 offset
- 114 trees planted
Water and energy management
A weather station measures and records rainfall data and transmits the information to a satellite system, which adjusts irrigation. Thanks to this system, watering now stops when it rains; 95% of sprinklers are connected to the weather station.
An artesian well was installed for the Mosaïcultures Internationales Montréal event. Equipped with a solar-powered pump, this well was used to water 20% of the works. As of 2014, it will supply our electric tanker truck used to water plants outside the sprinklers’ reach.
With the Montréal Space for Life’s energy efficiency program, we are able to collect and transfer energy, such as through geothermal energy technology. This program, which has generated substantial savings, was awarded several prizes in 2012 and 2013.
Three of our four institutions have achieved level 2 ICI on recycle certification from Recyc-Québec. Although the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium already applies exemplary sustainable management practices with its LEED Platinum certification, it has not yet received ICI on recycle certification.
- Adding and replacing over 80 pieces of recycling equipment.
- Composting waste from food preparation at the Botanical Garden restaurant.
- Improved composting of green waste from horticultural operations at the Botanical Garden and Biodôme.
- Montréal Space for Life day camps adhere to a zero-waste policy.
Management of hazardous and elecronic waste
The Montréal Space for Life has an Électrobac bin for recycling electronic waste. Located in the Botanical Garden’s reception centre, this bin can be used by visitors and employees alike to dispose of their outdated or non-functional small electronic devices in a responsible way. All items collected are brought to a processing centre to be recycled or repaired, once the personal data on them has been permanently deleted.
This bin can be used to recycle items such as cell phones, MP3 players, chargers, cameras, CDs and DVDs, hard drives, diskettes, USB keys, ink cartridges, etc. waste.
The Montréal Space for Life has instituted a procedure for replacing vehicles in its fleet based on sustainable development principles, which favour the acquisition of energy-efficient vehicles. As such, 60% of the vehicles acquired between 2011 and 2013 have been electric or hybrid. For those categories in which no electric or hybrid options exist, vehicles with low fuel consumption were selected.
Furthermore, to encourage cycling, new racks offer room for 80 bikes at the Botanical Garden and 32 at the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium.
Stemming from an architectural design competition, the new Rio Tinto Alcan earned LEED Platinum certification.