Thursday, January 23, 2020

Metro Vancouver eyeing turning trash into heat and hot water

District energy systems are a more efficient way to heat and cool buildings than the traditional method of each building having its own heating and cooling systems. This results in cost saving for building owners and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Many people may be unaware that there is an extensive district energy system in Downtown Vancouver that has existed since the late 1960s.

There is also a newer district energy system in Downtown Surrey.

The City of Surrey's West Village Energy Centre is a component of the district energy system, Surrey City Energy. It's part of a plan for improving energy efficiency, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and providing more competitive energy pricing for Surrey residents and businesses in City Centre.

To further lower greenhouse gas emissions caused by heating buildings, district energy systems can derive heat from waste energy.

Vancouver’s Olympic Village district energy system uses the heat created by the sewer system.

As I posted about earlier this week, around 10% of solid waste in our region is sent to Metro Vancouver’s waste-to-energy facility in Burnaby. While electricity is created, there is a significant amount of heat created which is wasted. If this heat could be used in a district energy system, it would be put to good use, reducing energy requirements and reducing greenhouse gas emissions as a result.

The Metro Vancouver Regional District is eyeing building a new district energy system in Burnaby and has applied to the federal government for funding via its Canada Infrastructure Program — Green Infrastructure program.

As per a region district report on the proposed project:

Greenhouse gas emission reductions for a district energy project could be up to 70,000 tonnes of CO2e per year, depending on the size of the project. The system would include an energy centre located at or near the Waste-to-Energy Facility as well as the heat distribution network delivering hot water to energy users.

The project is estimated to cost around $30 million to build.

As we look towards reduce our carbon footprint, district energy systems provide a means to accomplish this.

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