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July 7, 2020, 7:36 am

City of Richmond’s District Energy Utility Wins Energy Award

City of Richmond

RICHMOND - The City of Richmond has received international recognition for having the first district energy system in Canada to provide heating and cooling to large format retail buildings using this innovative, environmentally friendly technology. 

The Energy Globe Foundation, an international organization that recognizes projects that conserve energy and utilize renewable or emission-free sources, has awarded the City of Richmond the 2020 Canadian Energy Globe National Award for the Central at Garden City expansion of its Alexandra District Energy Utility. This prominent award is presented annually to projects focusing on energy efficiency, renewable energies and the conversation of resources. 

The Alexandra District Energy Utility (ADEU) consists of an award winning energy plant that utilizes renewable, low carbon geo-exchange technology (from the ground) to provide space heating, cooling and domestic hot water heating to over 10 buildings including a fire hall, 1,736 residential customers and commercial space, totalling over 176,000 square metres (1.9 million square feet) of floor space. 

Its latest project phase is the Central at Garden City expansion which became operational in 2015 and incorporates a unique and innovative approach to service commercial customers. 

The heating and cooling energy plant has been installed on the roof of the Central at Garden City retail development in Richmond. Powered by low-carbon air source heat pumps that provide cost effective and reliable heating and cooling to approximately 26,000 square metres (284,000 square feet) of new retail space, the system reduces greenhouse gas emissions by reducing natural gas use by at least 70 per cent compared to conventional alternatives. 

This new energy plant is also interconnected with the current ADEU energy plant, allowing for energy sharing with the main ADEU distribution system. A further expansion is currently in the planning stage which, when completed, will double the renewable capacity of the system by adding two additional geo exchange fields.

This is the second award that the City of Richmond’s district energy initiatives have received from the Energy Globe Foundation. The City of Richmond received the Canadian Energy Globe National Award for ADEU’s first phase in 2013. 

The award was announced June 30, 2020 at and will be presented to Richmond Council at a later date.

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