2021 Winner | Emerging DHC Market
The City of Richmond has committed to reduce the community’s greenhouse gas emissions by 33% by 2020, and 80% by 2050, relative to 2007 levels. The City identified district energy as a key strategy to achieve its GHG emissions targets, and decided to incorporate the Lulu Island Energy Company (LIEC) to manage district energy utilities on the City’s behalf. In 2012 the City completed the construction of the first district energy system in the City of Richmond—the Alexandra District Energy Utility (ADEU). ADEU is a low carbon district energy system that utilizes ground-source technology to deliver heating, cooling, and domestic hot water pre-heat services to customers in Richmond’s West Cambie neighborhood. Since ADEU started operations in 2012, the West Cambie neighborhood has continued to grow. The ADEU system currently provides energy to 12 buildings, connecting over 2,200 residential units and over 2.3 million square feet of floor space. The use of renewable ground-source energy helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce the community’s reliance on fossil fuels. ADEU’s control system prioritizes the use of a renewable energy source, moving on to cooling towers or boilers only when necessary. By reducing the need to burn natural gas, ADEU also significantly reduces air pollution in the neighborhood. The ADEU is an example of how successful policy mechanisms and revenue generation can be used to implement innovative large-scale low carbon district energy systems.