North America’s first district energy network,Guelph, Canada

Date: 16/01/2015

Already internationally recognised for changing the way cities think about energy, Guelph reinforces its pioneer reputation by introducing the first city-wide district energy network in North America. Ramboll supports the Canadian city with optimisation, development and conceptual designs.

Competitive heating costs. A high level of reliability and comfort. And an energy-efficient and attractive community of 120,000 consumers. The benefits of a new heating and cooling system in downtown Guelph are quite tangible – both for the industry and the end users.

The high-efficiency system represents an important first step towards building North America’s first city-wide district energy network, and the main objective is to cover at least 50 % of the community’s heating needs in the next 30 years.

– Guelph’s plans for district energy are focused on a city-wide thermal energy network allowing neighbourhoods to share a more sustainable heating and cooling system. Buildings connected to a district energy system allow them to share energy for heating, cooling and domestic hot water, explains Project Manager Pernille M. Overbye.

This offers reliable, cost-competitive energy services for commercial, industrial and residential facilities, and creates exciting opportunities for energy investors and project developers, Pernille M. Overbye says.

A cleaner and healthier future
The strategy to invest in a more sustainable energy infrastructure will benefit the environment, the community and the citizens.

“Envida Community Energy’s district energy facility is the beginning of a cleaner, healthier energy future for Guelph. On the one hand, the city contributes to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by burning less fuel. On the other hand, it will also become more attractive to new residents and businesses – and most likely create local jobs”, says Pernille M. Overbye.

Ramboll assists Envida Community Energy Inc. in several phases of the project. From drawing the initial hydraulic optimisation and development road map to the actual concept design that includes network, buildings and energy centre. The more detailed designs and specifications will also be handled by Ramboll along with site supervision.

– We see an increasing interest from America and Canada in the expertise from Scandinavian countries and in particular in Ramboll’s vast practical experience with district energy systems, their planning, implementation, operation and maintenance with focus on efficiency and cost effectiveness, explains Pernille M. Overbye.

Guelph’s ambitious intentions
Guelph became the pioneer community in North America to establish and announce a plan for an interconnected thermal grid covering an entire city.

Guelph is located about 100 kilometres west of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The city is a growing and diverse community of more than 120,000 people which is creating a healthy, reliable and sustainable energy future by improving the usage and management of energy and water resources.

Guelph is already internationally recognised for changing the way cities think about energy and has set out ambitious greenhouse gas and energy reduction targets for the community to be achieved by 2031.

Source: State of Green