Renewable energy project expanding to include more buildings in Vancouver's Mount Pleasant

More buildings in Vancouver's Mount Pleasant and False Creek areas will soon use heat and hot water fuelled by thermal energy from sewage. 

Starting Saturday, the city is expanding the reach of its Neighbourhood Energy Utility by installing more distribution piping along Quebec Street between First and Third avenues.

All of the hot water comes from the Neighbourhood Energy Centre, which has been capturing thermal waste from sewage and turning it into energy since 2010. 

"That sewage is normally and naturally warmer than the ambient temperature, so we capture that heat and then we concentrate it and we use it to heat up clean water networks," said Jimmy Zammar, director of utility planning at the City of Vancouver. 

Similar pipes in the area already provide heating and hot water for 5.4 million square feet of residential and commercial buildings. 

'It's good for the environment, it's good for the public and it works.' - Jimmy Zammar, City of Vancouver

New builds in the area have the infrastructure built-in to support the low-carbon energy form, including the new Mountain Equipment Co-op, according to Zammar. 

"In your building there wouldn't be individual water heaters in each apartment. Instead, the water will be served to you at the building hot," Zammar said. 

Mael Thebault/CBC

Construction includes sidewalk, bike lane

The construction work will also include new sidewalks, a rehabilitated street and an extension of the protected bike lane. 

The northbound section of Quebec Street will be closed throughout construction, which is expected to be completed by spring 2020. 

The city said the goal is for the utility to eventually service 22 million square feet of nearby buildings. 

"It's good for the environment, it's good for the public and it works," Zammar said.