The Forks is one of Winnipeg’s most beloved places, at the junction of the Assiniboine and mighty Red rivers.
We’ve been a meeting place for over 6,000 years. Early Aboriginal peoples traded at The Forks, followed by European fur traders, Métis buffalo hunters, Scottish settlers, riverboat workers, railway pioneers and tens of thousands of immigrants.
Today, framed by the banks of the two rivers, The Forks is Winnipeg’s number one tourist destination with more than four million visitors annually.
Winter, spring, summer or fall, The Forks is a must for a stunning array of dining experiences, incomparable shopping, a constantly changing slate of entertainment and events, and many unique attractions that encompass the site’s natural, historic and man-made features.
We get nearly four million visitors a year. That’s a lot of garbage, a lot of toilets being flushed, a lot of exhaust from cars and a lot of expensive power to heat and cool our buildings. It’s also a lot of money going up the chimney, out the window, down the drain and into the garbage. So, we’ve come up with TARGET ZERO as a way to be good to the environment while saving money.
With TARGET ZERO we are working hard to reduce our impact on the Earth, so we’re taking every step we can to implement innovative and responsible environmental practices.
Geothermal Heat Pump System
The Forks Market has replaced its old HVAC system with geothermal heating and cooling.
Why did we choose to go geothermal?
It was time to replace our old HVAC heating system. We discovered an opportunity to reduce our carbon footprint, while at the same time eliminating our exposure to escalating energy costs. So, we installed a geothermal system that uses energy stored in the earth, the river and ground water as well as recycles the energy produced in The Forks Market.
Energy is collected from three separate wells. The largest well is located across the Assiniboine River at South Point where 168 closed vertical loops were drilled 300-feet into the ground. There are two large radiators sitting at the bottom of the Assiniboine River, and an open loop right underneath the South West corner of the Market collecting energy from the ground water.
All the ventilation in the Market was redesigned with efficient “Heat Recovery Ventilation Units” that pre-heat the fresh air with recycled heat generated by the restaurants. We also installed 53 heat pumps throughout the Market to efficiently distribute heating and cooling.
To date, we have reduced our greenhouse gas emissions by 42% (448 tonnes of CO2e) and reduced our heating costs by 45%. We expect further efficiencies as our system is fine-tuned.