Projects | Public Services | Niagara Recycling Centre  

Niagara Recycling Centre Green Retrofit

Leading by Example 

Retrofitting Niagara's Recycling Centre to be a regional showcase for environmental solutions


This project was to implement a sustainable retro-fit and renovation for an existing Recycling Centre. JMA proposed a strategy for the renovation as well a review of the existing facility. This review exposed various safety, structural, and building code issues that had to be addressed in addition to the desired sustainable retrofit.

Key project features include the retrofit of all lighting to higher frequency, a geothermal heat pump system, as well as the greening of the parking lot that uses a combined drainage system. A signature element is the use of crushed glass granulars produced by the Centre that work as a field bed septic system infiltration sand within the parking lot. This unique feature acts as a catalyst in the parking lot's beach inspired design. The sand of the silica shimmers in the sunlight amidst a scattering of daylillies with parking and landscape separated by a pseudo sand fence, which acts as the parking's bollards.

Our Role:

Existing building review, design, documentation, procurement, construction administration.

Project Philosophy:

The Niagara Recycling Centre was awarded to JMA through the formal RFP process. Niagara's request was made as Niagara Region had received upper tier government funding for the green retrofit of their existing recycling centre. 

The existing recycling centre was housed in a former manufacturing facility that had been retrofitted through a design build process.

Niagara Recycling's Green Retrofit project furthers the Centre's mission of sustainability beyond the environmental impact that a standard recycling centre offers. It is not solely about the mission to reduce, reuse, recycle, but to offer a building with sustainable system integration. In short, a facility that embodies what sustainability means.

To work to this mission, greening of the facility included the addition of a geothermal heat pump system and retrofitting all lighting to a higher frequency. Our team created rain water collection for on site irrigation that directs water away from the city sewage system for both environmental and economic benefits. In working collaboratively with our Civil Engineer and through research, we were able to use the crushed recycled glass produced by the Recycling Centre as an MOECC compliant filtration medium that eliminated storm water runoff to the existing combined storm and sanitary sewer system for all but the most major storms.

“John MacDonald’s firm provided a consulting process that allowed Niagara Region to develop a flexible long term strategy for improvements to the Recycling Centre. Early work by his team has assisted greatly in clarifying objectives and creating design solutions that meet our budget and operational needs. Our experience to date is that John and his firm bring excellent project management skills and clear documentation to their work. We would be pleased to continue our working relationship where possible, and have recently requested additional advice from John on several projects.”

— David Smith

Associate Director (retired), Regional Municipality of Niagara

Project Data

Public Services


Construction Management


Niagara Falls, Ontario

7 ha² (17.3 acre) Brownfield

10,000 m² (107,500 sq. ft.)​

Construction Completed 2011