When you think of getting energy from the ground, fossil fuels might spring to mind. But in Surrey, they are finding a new way to pull energy from the Earth and reduce GHG emissions. See how district energy is a key piece of the city’s future plans.
Surrey’s new City Hall features heating and cooling that comes from the ground.
“There’s about 400 underground wells that extract heat from the ground and then they inject heat into the ground when they are in heating and cooling modes,” says Jason Owen, District Energy Manager for the City of Surry. “So it acts like a big battery that holds heat throughout the year.”
Underneath manhole covers in the underground parkade is the equipment that draws heat up or down. Then it is transferred to a second pipe system that loops through City Hall and the Surrey Public Library.
“We’ll be delivering thermal energy to building with the underground pipe network, so it’s basically delivering hot water to buildings to use for space heating and domestic hot water, and in some cases space cooling,” explains Owen.
It’s the first example in Surrey’s district energy strategy, where small scale energy sources serve nearby neighbourhoods. This one is sourced from the ground but future district energy systems may use clean wood waste or biofuel.
“Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a key benefit,” explains Owen. These types of lower temperature systems are becoming more and more common for municipalities to help reduce emissions and improve energy resilience.