BC Bioenergy Network

Partnering for a Greener Future

University of Northern British Columbia Energy Initiative Phase 3: The Sustainable Communities Demonstration Project

Total Cost $2.2. Mil
BCBN Investment $220,000 Grant
Status In Process
Location Prince George
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Demonstrating Sustainable Energy in the North

Project Profile:

The Sustainable Communities Demonstration Project (“SCDP”) is building on UNBC’s award-winning Energy Initiative and further demonstrating to the North the potential for sustainable energy. The project consists of a low-temperature, hot water district energy system to connect the student residences, campus daycare and I.K. Barber Enhanced Forestry Lab to the Bioenergy Plant and the wood pellet system. The SDCP will expand UNBC’s renewable energy production, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fuel purchase costs and expand capacity for research, education and demonstration. As such, it will serve as a model of energy security for Canada’s off-grid communities, many of which are located in British Columbia.


Step 1: Piping Network Installation and Pellet Plant Relocation – Fall/Winter 2014

To distribute hot water to the residences, EFL and daycare, a 650-meter pipeline was installed. The Pellet Plant was moved to a site beside the Bioenergy Plant where the pumping station is located. The relocation of the Pellet Plant allows for operational synergy between the two heating systems and simplifies the fuel delivery. The pipeline carries water at 80 degrees C, as opposed to the 120 degrees C of the district heating system heating the core campus.

Step 2: Equipment Replacement – Spring/Summer 2015

The four buildings connected to the low-temperature district heating loop formerly used natural gas to provide warm air and domestic hot water. In order to use hot water, the natural gas equipment was replaced with new equipment that uses water-to-air and water-to-water heat exchangers.

Step 3: Future Expansion

The new pipeline is being installed with expansion and demonstration in mind, both in terms of accommodating future infrastructure on campus, as well as integrating and showcasing additional renewable heating technologies.

For example, the pipeline includes nodes where additional pipe can easily be added to accommodate on-campus food production and additional housing.

Likewise, the lower temperature of the pipeline will allow alternative heating technologies – such as geothermal, solar thermal, and heat recovery – to supply heat to the loop. This will greatly expand UNBC’s ability to research and demonstrate sustainable energy in the North.





Funders and Partners: