The Granby Zoo in Quebec has a long and rich history. The zoo has been in operation for decades, initially founded by Mr. Pierre-Horace Bolvin, Granby’s mayor from 1939 to 1964. The Granby Zoo was originally built on land donated by friends but quickly expanded as more animals were added. In 1953 the Zoo was officially moved to its current location of 60 acres. In 2003, the zoo celebrated its 50th anniversary, having grown from humble beginnings to one of the major tourist attractions in Quebec, Canada. The zoo is also a world class conservation and educational institution, teaching about sustainability and the importance of biodiversity to 600,000 visitors every year.
With 1,000 animals onsite comprised of approximately 200 species, the costs of maintaining this facility was significant. It was a natural progression, as the Granby Zoo modernized their operations, to take steps to minimize the zoo’s impact on the environment. This was done in a number of ways including energy use management. The zoo undertook a number of measures to decrease the amount of energy used in normal operations, from lighting, insulation, solar energy, and the installation of NORDIC geothermal heat pumps. With 65 drilled wells, the Granby Zoo was able to use geothermal technology to heat the Elephant Pavillion, the Hippopotamus River, the Temple, and the Ungulate Building. This retrofit was one of the most extensive geothermal energy systems in Quebec and won Special Mention in the Canadian Geoexchange Coalition’s Excellence and Leadership awards in 2007. These awards are given to projects that demonstrate innovation, originiality, and energy savings.
Beyond the technical prestige of this geothermal project, the Granby Zoo has experienced the benefits every geothermal system offers: lower emissions, reduced costs, and the chance to take advantage of the heating power of the earth. These advantages have paid off, since 2004, the Granby Zoo has experienced at 21 percent decrease in greenhouse gas emissions (the equivalent of 315 tons of C02) with a large portion of this decrease attributed to their geothermal systems.
While the Granby Zoo takes additional steps to modernize and reduce their carbon footprint through action plans such as their recent Erasing Our Footprints campaign, they will continue to experience the benefits of the wise investment in a geothermal system for decades to come.