How can we reach our 2020
Greenest City Targets?

How can we reach our 2020 Greenest City targets?

a street car named DESire (DES = District Energy System)

What if the transit line you road on also carried the energy used to heat your home?

Just as density begets transit, density begets District Energy Systems (DES).

A DES is a utility like BC Hydro’s electricity grid, or Terasen’s Natural Gas network - only it uses hot water to carry energy. The hot water can be used to heat your home, office or favorite karaoke bar. The heat can be generated from clean energy sources like solar thermal panels, ground source heat pumps, or sewage waste heat recovery - like at the Olympic village. These clean energy technologies are too expensive at the individual building level, however, the economy of scale at the city wide level would allow for these types of clean technologies to be economically viable.

These clean energy sources can only be transported via a hot water distribution network - HUGE EXPENSE!!! My idea is to share the expense for this infrastructure with another Green City measure - light rail transit.

Make transit cool, make it come often and run everywhere. If it’s easier than a car - people will use it.

A streetcar ripping down Broadway every five minutes from the Drive to UBC, the same line carrys hot water in pipes from a geo-exchange field in a city park near VGH to homes in Kitsilano.

An energy/transit corridor along streets like Broadway, or Cambie, or a Davie-Denman-Robson-Burrard loop.

The barrier to both rail and DES is having to dig up all the streets – so just put them above ground. Street cars are cool. Toronto has them, and they made a play about one once. SteLLLA!!! SustainABLE!!!!!

Copenhagen, Paris, Stockholm all have wicked district energy system and wicked transit systems. That means they are wicked cities. Lets be wicked too. C’mon Greggor, this is the one.

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  • AdminGreenest City Planning Team (Admin, CG2020) commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Note: Greenest City Planning Team's idea "Work with developers and energy utilities to establish district heating systems" has been merged with this one.

    Work with developers and energy utilities to establish district heating systems like the one for South East False Creek and identify renewable energy sources that are economically viable once the developments are sufficiently large.

    The South East False Creek Neighourhood Energy Utility provides space heating and domestic hot water to all new buildings in Southeast False Creek. It is powered by sewage heat recovery and solar hot water heating and reduces carbon emissions by 50 per cent.

    More info on the South East False Creek Neighbourhood Energy Utility:

  • Donald commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I like street cars, but don't know if we need them on Robson or Davie, can't people walk or ride a bicycle downtown from the west end?

    I also don't think we need to invest in energy distribution. The sun shines just about everywhere and provides plenty of energy, all we need to do is capture and store that energy.

  • Kara commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I love your idea Gerard, I think if we can get Vancouver to be even less Car-dependent it will green up our city immensely. Transportation and heating are the 2 highest energy users in Canada. Let alone the air quality impacts of the millions of cars on the road. Marrying the capital costs is a great way to over come the main hurdles of transit and DES.

    Since the inception of Translink as the transit operators, short term profit has become the name of the game and not service to the city and its peole. There is no operating cost or ecological sense in running so many diesel buses in the highly populous areas such as the b-lines. In terms of heating, it is a waste to use high grade fuel such as natural gas and electricity to inefficiently heat our homes.

    Your idea will help address the capital cost issue for both systems that are essential in creating a green city.

  • Arthur G. commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    This is definitely one of the big ones: community-integrated energy systems (of various kinds). We already have the technology for them; they make use of balanced economies of scale; and they allow access to resources (inputs) and methods that would be inaccessible at the single unit level and rather unwieldy at the city level. Plus, they tend to operate using more naturalized (nature-linked or nature-mimicking) systems.

  • James commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    This could have a great impact - rather than have each house have energy saving devices, the possibilities grow considerably if networked together. this gets my vote.

  • Eva commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I would give this suggestion all my vote if I could! I vote for district heating based on solar heating and wasteheat from wastewater or industrial processes. Proper insulation and windows is a must. Connect the community, think Integrated Resource Management/Recovery, think logic.

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