About the Neighbourhood Utility Service at UniverCity

The Vision

Situated on Burnaby Mountain in Metro Vancouver, and adjacent to Simon Fraser University, UniverCity is an award-winning, mixed-use community that is a model of sustainable living.

An effective, responsible energy solution

As a model for practical and affordable sustainability, UniverCity required a cost-effective, long-term and environmentally responsible, alternative energy system that could provide heat and hot water to the community’s new housing projects.

Currently, the community’s energy needs are being met by two small Temporary Energy Centres (TECs), installed in 2012 and 2016, that use high-efficiency condensing natural gas boilers. This has facilitated a cost-effective method for providing energy service to UniverCity in its early stages of development, and eliminates the need for individual buildings to have their own dedicated heating equipment. The TECs have been designed to be replaced with a permanent low-carbon energy facility when build-out and energy demand becomes sufficient to make such a low-carbon facility economic. This transition aligns with the sustainability objectives set out by the SFU Community Trust (which oversees the development of UniverCity), and also reduces risk for customers associated with volatile natural gas commodity costs and future carbon tax policies.

Following a comprehensive technical and financial evaluation of various alternative energy sources, CORIX and SFU Community Trust selected a biomass-based district energy system as the preferred long-term solution for the UniverCity community. The permanent, high-efficiency Central Energy Plant will utilize local wood waste (biomass) that could include urban wood waste from tree cuttings and trimmings, uncontaminated wood waste such as wood chips from sawmills, shavings, hog fuel (an unprocessed mix of bark and wood fiber), and clean construction wood waste.

Learn more about the BCUC and the Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity granted for the NUS at UniverCity.

Learn more about district energy and the future of the Neighbourhood Utility Service at UniverCity.

Explore the benefits of the Neighbourhood Utility Service.

Overhead Picture of Burnaby Mountain