Sustainability and ecological integrity are two important principles that guide Voluntas in our day-to-day operations and ongoing effort to be the leader in forward-thinking for funeral services.
Thus, when Voluntas was ready to expand, we purchased the building and grounds of St. Genevieve United Church where we were able to inject new life into a 56-year-old structure. Throughout the renovation process, special attention was given to using as much of the existing material and structure as possible. Recycling was a key component to every construction detail.
Also important was the need for energy efficiency. New energy efficient windows and lighting were installed throughout. Even the kitchen was not spared as a high efficiency, low water usage dishwasher was installed. And when it came time to replace the roof, a “cool roof” was installed so that we could lessen the building heat-gain, decreasing the demand for electric power, reducing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions and keeping the building cooler during the hot summer months.
The Ste-Genny’s sanctuary continues to remain operational for the Congregation while the rest of the building has become a modernized and functional space that can serve families during their time of need.
SURROUNDED BY NATURE
The Voluntas grounds include a large parking lot; however, it is surrounded by nature. Gardens that include a variety of delicious herbs and vegetables, trees, plants, flowers, water collection ponds have all been installed around the building and parking lot to encourage nature to thrive. Even wildlife such as our visiting rabbit family and varied bird species have decided that this is a lovely green space in which to visit and hang out!
WE “WALK THE GREEN TALK” AT VOLUNTAS
When we set out to build a new funeral home, it was important for us to respect the guidelines of sustainability and to be environmentally ethical. We believe we have held true to our goals and look forward to continuous improvement throughout the coming years.
Here are some of the best practices we follow to be eco-efficient:
- We “green-cater” all our events using reusable dishes, cutlery, mugs, glasses, platters.
- Everything is sterilized in our “5-minute” eco-efficient dishwasher.
- We collect rainwater to water our plants.
- We grow vegetables and herbs in our garden. The tomatoes are amazing!
- Our parking lot is surrounded by foliage and vegetation.
- We recycle.
- We compost.
- We continually endeavour to reduce our garbage footprint.
- We reduce our mileage usage through improved multi-task scheduling.
- We practice “paperless” principles therefore reducing paper usage.
- We share industry resources such as vehicles and cremation services.
- We have planted many trees and created two rain ponds to collect water for the garden!
THE BEES, OUR NEW CO-HABITANTS!
This year, Voluntas is welcoming the newest member to its community: bees! As honey bees are important in their role in the ecosystem, we are hosting a bee hive in cooperation with the Montreal-based company, Alvéole (link the information page to our website). The bees will be housed in a secluded area on our grounds, away from all foot traffic, where they will be busily collecting pollen and nector throughout the summer.
As the world population of bees is presently in decline, we wanted to do our part by giving bees a wonderful environment to thrive with pesticide-free gardens and vegetation. Our gardens let the honey bees live symbiotically with our flowering plants allowing them to pollinate both our plants and trees. In return, the bees will provide us with a complete harvest of honey which we will package and give as gifts to the families that we serve.
As many families have turned to gardening during this time of pandemic and bees are known to travel up to 5km, our bees could be visiting your garden helping you grow your flower beds and vegetable patches.
Last week, Alvéole team hosted a workshop for our staff members and their children and grandchildren. There were able to visit the inside of the hive, amazed by the thousands of busy bees and their queen. A passive drone was passed from hands to hands to the delight of children.
Author: Lynn Brown-Poole for Voluntas