April Update: Cadillac Fairview Block 32

By Vince Shuley

With more than five projects currently in commission, Fenix Energy has had a busy start to 2016. One of the biggest of those projects is Cadillac Fairview’s 777 Dunsmuir Street building in Vancouver’s downtown area. Fenix Energy is has been operating its geo-thermal exchange technology in the Block 32 building since November, 2015 and the results so far are favourable.

“We’re out of the peak heating season at Block 32 and the field has performed as anticipated,” says Adrian Ryan, Senior VP of engineering at Fenix Energy.

“We actually exceeded our projected figure of 82 per cent reduction in steam utilization on the project by hitting an 85 per cent reduction. Our client (Cadillac Fairview) has been more than pleased with the results.”

The previous system employed for heating the Block 32 building relied solely on local steam utility. With the newly-installed Geo Exchange field recovering heat from existing mechanical systems, that reliance on steam has been significantly reduced. Fenix Energy measured the performance of its technology using dynamic simulation (via thermal energy modelling software) and compared it to historical utility data from the last 10 years.

“We first built an energy model that would give us the heat loads and consumption based on that historical data and the performance of the current mechanical systems in the building,” says Ryan. “We then developed an energy model on the projected performance of an added geo field, based on the thermal conductivity properties of the soil under the building. With that we projected both the energy and financial savings based on the two thermal energy models.”

The projected return on investment (ROI) for this project is what initially piqued the interest from Cadillac Fairview. Now that results are in from the peak heating season, the company can see exactly how their investment in geo exchange technology is benefiting their energy needs.

“The actual design and implementation of the project was very smooth,” says Jesse Gregson, Senior Manager of Operations at Cadillac Fairview.

“We experienced no customer complaints during the installation process, which is a bit of a surprise when you consider that we were drilling under an active office building. Fenix Energy was able to complete the project on time and on budget. Energy consumption reduction is a big part of our Green at Work program here at Cadillac Fairview. This retrofit project has helped us achieve our targets this year. It’s an attractive proposition in all of our buildings.”

Scalability is the key to unlocking the most benefits of Geo Exchange technology. And with projects such as 777 Dunsuir Street setting the standard of commercial building energy upgrades, Vancouver could soon be one of the world’s most energy efficient cities.