Québec Hotel and Spa first to get FSC rating

The Hôtel and Geos Spa Sacacomie (Saint-Alexis-des-Monts, Québec), received the addition of an interior and exterior spa incorporating sustainable features and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Project Certification. Photo © Michel Julien. Photo courtesy RPM Développement Durable

The Hôtel and Geos Spa Sacacomie, located in the forest of Saint-Alexis-des-Monts, Québec, is the first Canadian project to receive Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Project Certification (FSC–P001563).

A 1440-m2 (15,000-sf) interior and exterior spa was added in 2009 while the hotel was updated at the same time. The spa accommodates 150 guests at once, or an average 300 per day.

For a project to obtain full certification, a minimum of half its wood must be FSC-certified and come from controlled, well-managed forests. The Geos Spa Sacacomie used a total of 83 per cent FSC-certified wood, making it the highest percentage in a Canadian accommodation facility. The certifications are distributed by Rainforest Alliance, an international non-profit organization and the largest FSC standards certifier.

Project managers, RPM Développement Durable, located certified products for use in the facility and documented materials’ chain-of-custody to confirm the final products remained compliant to the certification program requirements. During construction, all trees used were replaced and additional tress will be planted in the area annually.

As a facility located overlooking Lake Sacacomie and surrounded by wildlife and forestry, the construction and design was developed with an integrated sustainable development plan (ISDP) eligible for Canada Green Building Council’s (CaGBC’s) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.

The ISDP guided the goals of the project in terms of minimizing its environmental impact and incorporating sustainable design elements. Key points of the plan include:

  • minimizing natural resource, raw material, water, natural gas, and electricity consumption;
  • maximizing indoor air quality (IAQ);
  • generating internal/external audits to guarantee ongoing growth and improvement to environmental management systems in place; and
  • educating employees, suppliers, and clients of the project goals (making all information available).

As a spa, design plans for water-efficient features were important. In addition to low-flow showers and faucets, timers were installed in the shower facilities and ultra-low-flow toilets were used. Compared to conventional designs, these installations should mean reductions of 30 per cent in water consumption and 40 per cent in discharged water. The discharged water system provides heat recovery for the facility.

Geothermic systems are also used to heat interior floors, exterior sidewalks, and basins throughout the facility. These floor and exterior sidewalk areas are concrete from recycled material and blast-furnace residue. Structural and reinforced steel, as well as gypsum products, were also created with use of recycled materials.

As mentioned, heat is recovered from discharged water in addition to the ventilation system. To increase efficiency and reduce energy loss, these ventilation systems are controlled by individual occupants throughout the building.

Other sustainable and energy-efficient design elements incorporated into the hotel and spa include:

  • natural daylighting in 80 per cent of the rooms;
  • use of low-emission stains, paints, adhesives, and sealers;
  • low-energy lighting systems; and
  • 75 per cent of construction waste kept out of landfills.

Visitors to the facility are made aware of the sustainable practices and certifications in place at the Hôtel and Geos Spa Sacacomie to encourage the preservation of the area.

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