HPAC Magazine

New Carbon Neutral Community Progressing in Ottawa-Gatineau 

Zibi is the only district energy system (DES) in a master-planned community in North America to use low-grade post-industrial waste for the heating of buildings.

May 11, 2022   Logan Caswell

The Zibi Community Utility (ZCU), a 34-acre waterfront community straddling Ontario and Quebec, is being developed by Dream Unlimited and Dream Impact Trust.

With its recent opening in December 2021, the new carbon-neutral community is substantially reducing emissions by using district energy for heating and cooling.

The ZCU is the only district energy system (DES) in a master-planned community in North America to use low-grade post-industrial waste for the heating of buildings – an innovation rarely considered for heating in cold climates, and is one of only a few DES in North America to meet 100% of the community’s heating needs without fossil fuels.

The ZCU plant recovers effluent heat from the end of the tissue-making process from the neighbouring Kruger Products’ Gatineau tissue plant and injects it into the new central energy plant, where the heat is upgraded and moved through a pipe network to the buildings.

Beginning this summer, chillers will reject heat to the Ottawa River to efficiently produce chilled water to cool the buildings.

The central energy plant, which is located on the lower level of Aalto, a residential rental building in Gatineau, has also become a sustainability showpiece for the region, allowing residents and visitors to see the operations and learn about the innovative technology.

Since coming online, it has been servicing three residential buildings and three office buildings totalling 615,000 sq. ft.

When completed, all four million square feet of residential and commercial buildings at Zibi will be interconnected through a hydronic loop that delivers heating and cooling energy, saving 4,420 tonnes of greenhouse gas (GHG) per year.

zibi.ca

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