District Energy Utility would provide clean, affordable energy to local homes and businesses

Last updated: March 28, 2023

Burnaby City Council has directed staff to continue work to develop a District Energy Utility (DEU) that, once established, would take clean thermal energy captured from Metro Vancouver’s Waste-to-Energy (WTE) facility to provide heat and hot water to Burnaby homes and businesses.

“Burnaby is making bold moves on climate action and creating our own District Energy Utility will deliver huge carbon reductions, while at the same time delivering a safe, reliable, resilient and affordable heating to local buildings,” said Mayor Mike Hurley. “These are the kinds of innovative solutions we need as we move to circular economy and forge a path to a carbon neutral future.”

Approximately 38% of carbon emissions in Burnaby come from buildings. By using the captured heat from the WTE facility, replacing carbon intensive fuels like natural gas, the City anticipates reducing the equivalent of 22,400 tonnes of CO2 annually.

The City intends to begin by introducing the service in the Metrotown and Edmonds neighbourhoods, where almost half of Burnaby’s residential growth over the next 20 years is expected to occur. Last year, Metro Vancouver announced an agreement with River District Energy to supply heat from the WTE facility to that Vancouver neighbourhood starting in 2025. A feasibility study commissioned by Metro Vancouver found that there is sufficient energy produced at its facility to serve the Metrotown and Edmonds neighbourhoods, as well as the River District in Vancouver, with the potential to expand in the future. 

“Metro Vancouver is dedicated to climate action and we’re looking forward to adding the Metrotown and Edmonds neighbourhoods to our district energy system, which will provide heat and hot water powered by our Waste-to-Energy Facility,” said Chair George V. Harvie. “Making better use of our available energy resources will help us achieve our goal of becoming a carbon-neutral region by 2050, while providing a sustainable heat source for homes and businesses.”

Later this year, the City will finalize the District Energy Policy that will outline requirements for new buildings in these areas to be connected to the District Energy Utility, as well as opportunities for existing buildings to connect to the system. The City aims to begin providing district energy service in Metrotown and Edmonds in 2026.

Burnaby is already home to district energy systems at Simon Fraser University (SFU), British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT), Solo District and Burnaby Central Secondary School. Other district energy systems in the region include False Creek Neighbourhood Energy Utility (Vancouver) and the Lulu Island Energy Company (Richmond).

The development of a District Energy Utility supports significant actions in the Climate Action Framework, a framework developed to guide how the City will put into action its commitment to be “carbon neutral” (no longer contributing to the carbon emissions that accelerate climate change) by 2050. Projects that provide low and zero-emission heating to buildings support several Big Moves in the framework including those related to the creation of zero emission new buildings, and the zero emission retrofit of existing buildings. 

Learn More: Burnaby.ca/DistrictEnergy

Media Contact:
Chris Bryan
Manager, Public Affairs
Public Affairs Office
604-570-3616 | [email protected]

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