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Boathouse Renewable Energy Project

January 18, 2022

By Chris McAnally, Environmental Sustainability Coordinator, Royal Botanical Gardens.

If you’ve spent time in the Arboretum you’ve likely walked past the boathouse which is located on the North shore of Cootes Paradise. It serves a variety of functions, including storing a small motorboat used for conservation efforts in our wetlands. In the late summer of 2020, RBG completed some exciting work to install an off-grid renewable energy system on the boathouse.

The RBG natural lands team and volunteers doing a marsh planting with the small motorboat in the background.
Natural lands staff and volunteers using the small motorboat to complete shoreline planting.

A keen observer may have noticed that in fall 2020 we removed the power lines and utility poles that used to run between the Nature Interpretive Centre and the boathouse. This was part of the project to enable the boathouse to function off-grid. The new off-grid renewable energy system features a roof-mounted 2 kW solar array, with batteries for energy storage. As the solar panels generate electricity they charge the batteries, which supply energy to operate a ventilation fan, lights, and wall outlets for charging for small items. Through this setup, the boathouse is able to operate independently from any electrical grid connection

Solar panels along the roof of the boathouse
The boathouse with the 2kW solar system installed on the roof.

This relatively small but exciting project enabled us to keep our nature sanctuaries looking a little more natural, while also making a small reduction to our greenhouse gas emissions. Make sure to take a peek at the roof of the boathouse next time you’re hiking in the Arboretum!

RBG would like to recognize the Hamilton-Oshawa Port Authority (HOPA) for their donation which supported the boathouse renewable energy project.

Sustainability at RBG

At RBG our mission is to connect people, plants and place for the purpose of nurturing and preserving healthy growing life on our planet. Our mission, mandate and future are deeply connected to sustainability – working to meet our needs today in a way that doesn’t compromise the ability of future generations to meet theirs.