About District Energy

District energy (DE) systems centralize the production of thermal heating or cooling for multiple buildings located within a district, neighborhood, or campus. University campuses, Like UBC, are often ideal candidates for district energy systems.

Centralized thermal plants can efficiently produce hot water, chilled water, and steam from a variety of energy sources, including renewable sources. From these centralized plants, hot and/or chilled water (or steam) is transported through an underground system of insulated pipes to individual buildings, where it’s used for space heating and cooling, and domestic hot water heating.

How District Energy Works

District Energy Infogram
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District Energy for Low-Carbon Cities

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District energy systems are highly flexible and scalable, and they provide significant environmental and economic benefits compared to conventional HVAC systems. You can learn more about their benefits here.

The Future of the NDES at UBC

Future phases of the NDES project will require the integration of alternative renewable energy sources to meet growing demand. The project intends to serve new developments on UBC lands including:

  • Wesbrook Place (currently being served)
  • Stadium
  • East Campus
  • Acadia 
  • Potentially Block F development on UBC Endowment Lands

As more residential developments are built, demand will support a new, permanent Central Energy Plant with a target of 60% total energy from alternative and renewable sources. The waste heat recoverable from the existing cooling towers located at TRIUMF – Canada’s national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics, located on the south campus of UBC – has been identified as the preferred alternative energy source for the NDES.

  • TRIUMF is one of the single largest users of electricity in the Province of BC, currently consuming approximately 65 GWh of electricity per year – enough energy for 6,500 single family homes.
  • Approximately 12 MW of recoverable surplus heat from TRIUMF could be available to serve the NDES. 


Learn More

To learn more about the many benefits of district energy, and Corix's other thermal energy systems, please visit our Thermal Energy Solutions pages.