Neighbourhood Energy Utility (NEU)
Chris Baber, manager of the NEU for the City shared some details of how the sewage heat recovery system works. The facility is under the Cambie Street bridge just north of West 1st with the 5 smoke stacks sticking out of it. The top of the stacks actually change colour depending on the heat of the waste flowing beneath. The technology, first of its kind in North America but common in Scandinavia, traps the heat from the area’s sewage system on the way to the treatment plant. The NEU uses the waste heat from sewage for 70% or more of its energy, the remaining 30% comes from natural gas boilers. The energy is used to provide heat and hot water to the Olympic Village, Science World, and 3 other buildings in the area. A third party expert rate review panel reports on the NEU to the City.
55% of Vancouver’s greenhouse gases (GHG) come from heating its buildings. The NEU reduce GHG of the Village by 60% without any behaviour change. The heating system is centralized, instead of having boilers in each building, so it reduces cost and maintenance issues and makes it easy for the neighbourhood to adapt to new technologies as they are developed. More information is available on the NEU website.
Steven Roka from Enerpro Systems presented on their metering system in the building. Each unit has three meters: hot water, cold water, and heat. The first two measure the amount of water that comes in and the last meters the temperature and flow. All use utility grade meters that are in the ceiling near the front door and hard wired into the building’s system. These meters feed information into the Energy Aware panel in our units (provided by a separate company) and help us keep our use down. In fact, Enerpro has found that buildings with meters use 100 kWh/m2 where unmetered buildings use 148 kWh/m2, that’s a 32% reduction in use from having meters.
Overall the rates seem comparable to other utility providers. Cold water is not being charges until 2013, however the current rate would be the standard $0.0061/US gallon. Hot water is $0.0139/US gal and heating is $0.0394/kwh. Enerpro charges an admin fee of $3.16 per meter per month (or $9.50 for the three meters). All together the monthly charges are expected to be as follows: 1 bedroom $24.47, 2 bedroom $26.51, 3 bedroom $33.82, and 4 bedroom $42.03. These averages are specifically for this building and include the $9.50 admin fee. Enerpro bills bi-monthly, so you need to multiply the numbers by two to match what you would see on an invoice. The good news is that residents in 122 Walter Hardwick seem to be using less than other buildings in the Village – go team! There is a known issue with the overheating in the hallways – the overly warm hallways result in lower heating needs for units. When that is fixed, the heating portion of our bills will likely increase by up to 20%.
Sharon will be providing some useful tips on how to further conserve energy in June.