A century ago, the people of Toronto developed a concept to war and cool their homes and properties. Now the city developed the concept using modern technology and used it in the latest real estate properties. The concept is referred to as district energy which basically makes use of a single energy source in order to provide power to the whole community.
Toronto’s community energy initiatives’ manager, Fernando Carou, explained the concept to be the same system followed by public transit but this time intended for residential and commercial use.
In terms of public transport, the goal is to eliminate cars that can only accommodate single passengers but in district energy it refers to unconnected building. Carou added that their goal is to enjoy the advantages presented by the network which is not possible if the structure acts as an island.
Furthermore, district energy was first used in Toronto over a century ago. During that time, only a single power plant is supplying energy to a group of government buildings, the University of Toronto as well as the hospitals downtown.
Carou said that in those days, coal is utilized in order to create steam in a single location. Eventually, coal was replaced by natural gas and oil in order to keep the buildings warm. Larger buildings recently developed are no longer covered by the district model.
District energy was revived with the rise of projects in Enwave, Markham including Regent Park. In all of Canada, the biggest social housing project is Regent Park. During its restoration, it was decided that district energy will be the most suitable option. Since the buildings are in clusters, it is practical to use a central plant.
Now gas boilers and chillers are located inside a 22-storey building which was installed during summer. Many of the residents inside Regent Park did not even know about the facility. This made sense to some who wondered why the construction took longer than usual. A central system means boiler repair companies will just have to study a single system for many households. Based on a Derby company that does boiler repair which recently moved here, inspecting a single system is easier but a setup such as the district energy can be quite complicated.