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Green warehouse

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Sobeys warehouse of trois-rivières (Canada) is a refrigerated warehouse that demonstrates that a high level of sustainability is also possible also in the industrial sector. The warehouse consists of three distinct sections for an overall area of 13 657 m2. The main sections are the refrigerated warehouse, the office space and the common space (cafeteria, locker room, workshop and mechanical room). The refrigerated house is kept at 4°C. Most of the heating is provided by the heart recovery from the chiller condensers. Moreover, in winter, exterior temperatures, colder than the refrigerated warehouse, allowed the design of a free cooling refrigeration system.

Building Envelope

The building’s insulation exceeds Standard 90.1 requirements with R-30 walls and R-40 roof for refrigerated warehouse and R-20 walls and R-30 roof for the two other sections. The warehouse also has a reflective white roof. The office space has a garden roof to minimize solar heat gain through the roof.


The entire warehouse has T5 HO lamps with motion detectors and natural light detector. Natural lightning is possible near walls where high insulated (R- 7.5) translucent windows are installed.


The main heating source for the offices and common spaces comes from heat recovery of the warehouse chillers. Heat is then distributed by radiant floor. Backup gas boiler sized for 100% of the heating loads are present also, in case of the heating is needed when free-cooling occurs. Radiant floor contributes to reduce heating load.


Offices and common spaces cooling are provided by the warehouse chillers. However, a different compression ratio is used since the cold water temperature need is higher than the warehouse. Because the chiller has been designed to be highly efficient for the warehouse application, the efficiency is better for the other spaces.

The warehouse cooling system uses a secondary fluid (glycol) for cooling distribution and

can operate in free cooling when the outdoor temperature is below <-xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />-12°C by stopping the compressors.


The warehouse has fresh air supply with CO2 sensors and  has an energy recovery ventilator.

Energy efficiency

Based on DOE-2 simulation the building energy consumption is 62% lower

Acronym of the case

Green warehouse

Lessons learnt

Simulation To avoid costly overdesign and an ineffective cooling system an ESP-r simulation was done. Cooling system Unlike typical refrigerated warehouses using direct expansion evaporators, Sobey’s warehouse uses an ammonia central chiller. Having one big system instead of several small ones allows for higher efficiency. Ammonia has no ozone depletion potential and zero global warming potential. The cooling distribution system is also using secondary fluid (glycol) instead of direct expansion of ammonia, which is much safer for the employees. Lighting Ultrasound motion detectors were not appropriate since the fan evaporators could create product movement (paper, ..) To use infrared detectors, special adjustments were needed to detect only people and not air turbulence

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