We are your shared energy system.
The system consists of an energy centre where thermal energy is extracted from a source and then sent through a network of underground pipes to homes and buildings where it can be used for heating, cooling and the production of hot water.
District Energy Sharing Systems are a proven technology that are used all over the world. In Canada, a number of other cities, towns and neighbourhoods use district energy sharing systems, and if we look even further to Europe, cities like Copenhagen have historically built systems where over 90% of the buildings are connected to a district energy system.
Blatchford’s District Energy Sharing System is a highly efficient system that uses renewable energy sources. The first stage of the District Energy Sharing System uses a geoexchange field which harnesses the shallow geothermal energy below the earth’s surface.
This geoexchange field in the community consists of 570 boreholes that are 150 metres deep. It acts like a massive ground energy battery that ‘charges’ the district energy sharing system.
Once the energy has been harnessed from the geoexchange field, it is sent to the community’s central Energy Centre where it is upgraded to a higher temperature using a highly energy efficient heat pump. This heat energy is now sent via a network of underground pipes to the homes and buildings in the community.
The District Energy Sharing System also allows for energy to be ‘shared’ and recycled throughout the community. Excess heat energy can be removed from one building and put back into the system to be used in another building that needs that heat. Energy can also be shared between seasons. Excess heat energy in the summer can be sent back down into the geoexchange field where it can be stored until it’s needed in the winter!
During certain times of the year, the community heating and cooling energy needs will balance each other out, so no new energy will have to be added to the system. Talk about efficiency.
Essentially, the entire neighbourhood’s heating and cooling needs will be met by recycled, shared energy!
1. The Sun
The energy that fuels the District Energy Sharing System comes from the sun! Given about half the sun’s energy is absorbed into the earth’s surface as heat energy, we have an endless renewable energy source we can tap into.
2. Geoexchange Boreholes
To access this heat energy from the sun, we’ve built a geoexchange field under the first stormwater pond in the community.
The geoexchange field is made up of 570 boreholes that are drilled 150 metres down into the earth. That’s about the height of a 28-storey building!
Geoexchange harnesses the shallow geothermal energy below the earth’s surface through this system of underground boreholes that can absorb and transfer heat to and from the ground, pulling the natural heat from the earth in the wintertime for heating, and transferring excess heat from buildings back into the ground in the summer for cooling.
3. Geoexchange Piping Loop
Energy coming from the geoexchange field travels to the community Energy Centre through underground pipes.
4. Energy Centre
At the community Energy Centre, the energy travels through a highly efficient heat pump. It only uses 1 unit of electricity to transfer 10 units of heat energy into the system – that’s about 10X more efficient than traditional systems! The energy leaves the Energy Centre and travels in water circulating through the distribution piping system.
5. Distribution Piping System
The distribution piping system is a network of underground pipes located underneath the Blatchford roadways. The pipes circulate thousands of gallons of ‘energy-filled’ water to the homes and buildings.
6. Homes and Buildings (Heat Pumps)
Once the energy arrives at a home or building, heat pumps extract the thermal energy from the District Energy Sharing System and upgrade it for the building’s heating and hot water needs. It can also provide air conditioning by removing the excess heat from the building. Heat pumps are incredibly efficient – in fact, they have been recognized globally as the most efficient mechanical system for heating and cooling!
Instead of using furnaces and air conditioners that rely on burning fossil fuels, Blatchford buildings will use heat pumps that rely on transferring energy. Heat pumps are the most efficient mechanical system for heating and cooling. But just how efficient are they? A home heat pump produces 400% more energy than the electricity it consumes! In comparison, a traditional high-efficiency operates at around 90% efficiency.
- They provide a 2-in-1 service—both heating and air conditioning come from the same unit.
- They are safe. Because there is no combustion process, there is no risk of carbon monoxide leaks.
- They are reliable. Heat pumps are a proven technology, and, with the right care, will last decades.
- They are able to operate at high efficiency year-round, even when it is -35 out.
In addition to the District Energy Sharing System playing a critical role in helping the Blatchford community on its journey to becoming a carbon neutral community that uses 100 percent renewable energy sources, it also offers a number of benefits to our customers!
Enjoy peace of mind.
Heat is there on the coldest winter days. Cool air flows in the heart of summer. And hot water is always at the ready. The City of Edmonton created Blatchford Renewable Energy so you can have the peace of mind that your services will always be there.
Stable, Competitive Energy Rates.
The Blatchford Renewable Energy Utility offers stable and competitive utility rates. We are lowering your carbon footprint with sustainable energy at no additional cost to you. Using renewable fuel sources also means less risk of fossil-fuel market fluctuations.
Heating and cooling are generated from a single high-quality system that has been designed with backup capacity, making it a reliable, redundant system. Regardless of the weather or overall energy demands in the community, we have the capacity to meet customer needs.
Good for the environment.
Your heating and cooling needs are automatically provided by an efficient system that helps conserve and share energy using renewable sources. Combined with your high-performance green building, you can expect to see an approximate 75% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions emitted from your building or home in comparison to a home in a typical community.
Convenience. Comfort. Cooling.
The District Energy Sharing System provides both heating and cooling as part of the same system. Your home automatically has air conditioning without you having to buy an air conditioning unit.
Because heat pumps do not use a combustion process, there is no risk of carbon monoxide leaks.
Blatchford Renewable Energy will build, own and maintain the District Energy Sharing System equipment in all condo buildings (including condo townhouses). This equipment will be maintained, repaired and replaced at end of service life at no cost to the building owner. Condo owners will not need to budget for replacement costs of equipment.
Increased property values.
Blatchford buildings will not be equipped with traditional systems related to heating or cooling, like furnaces, chillers or boilers. The elimination of this equipment means smaller mechanical rooms to service your building, which expands possible building design options. Without the need for cooling towers, roof space can be used for additional amenity space like rooftop patios or penthouses.
The District Energy Sharing System is a modular and flexible system that will be constructed in stages to match the pace of development in the neighbourhood and is able to incorporate the latest innovations in renewable energy.
In the future, additional geoexchange fields and energy centres will be built. Blatchford Renewable Energy is also in the planning and design phase for a sewer heat exchange system as another source of renewable energy. There are two major existing sewers that run under the east side of Blatchford which provide a high volume of wastewater heat that can be recovered.
In a sewer heat exchange system, wastewater is diverted from the sewer, screened and sent through a heat exchanger. In the winter, heat is transferred from the wastewater to the District Energy Sharing System, and in the summer, excess heat is transferred from the District Energy Sharing System to the wastewater.
By building the District Energy Sharing System in stages we are ensuring we are building a highly flexible system that can adapt to changing technologies. The first stage of the District Energy Sharing System will provide service to multiple stages of residential development.
District Energy Sharing System currently.
District Energy Sharing System full buildout.