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Technology Award: Retail Building Produces Energy for Neighborhood

By: Roland Charneux, P.Eng., HFDP; Daniel Picard, P.Eng., BEMP

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©2022 This excerpt taken from the article of the same name which appeared in ASHRAE Journal, vol. 64, no. 11, November 2022.

About the Authors
Roland Charneux, P.Eng, HFDP, is a member of the creative solutions group, and Daniel Picard, P.Eng, BEMP, is project manager at Pageau Morel and Associates in Montréal.

Based on City of Vancouver bylaws, the Mountain Equipment Co-op Vancouver building was required to connect to the Neighbourhood Energy Utility (NEU), a district heating initiative that provides heat and hot water by recycling waste thermal energy from sewage with centralized heat pumps. Since the store is surrounded by condo complexes, using noisy and visually unapp­­ealing heat rejection equipment on the roof was unsuitable for the project. It was therefore proposed to reject heat to the NEU loop during the cooling season using a high-temperature heat pump rather than installing heat rejection equipment on the roof, which had never been done before on this thermal loop. With this system, consumers become energy producers for their neighbors.

This was the first time an energy user had proposed rejecting heat to NEU. They saw the environmental potential and accepted the proposal. During the last year of operation, twice as much heat has been rejected to the loop than the building heating requirements, making it the first building that is an energy producer to NEU. The MEC Vancouver building results in a reduction of 6 tons of CO2 yearly.

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