The builders of the four-million-square-foot Zibi community in Ottawa and Gatineau will partner with Hydro Ottawa and Kruger Products to create the zero-carbon district energy system which will power the entire development.
The innovative district energy system will utilize post-industrial waste heat from Kruger’s nearby Gatineau manufacturing facility for heating, and the waters of the Ottawa River for cooling. It will be the first in North America to employ post-industrial heat recovery in a master-planned community, and make Zibi the region’s first zero-carbon-emission community.
“The Zibi Community Utility district energy system is a cornerstone in our plans to meet our One Planet sustainability goals,” said Zibi president Jeff Westeinde in the announcement this week. “We are grateful to our partners at Hydro Ottawa and Kruger Products for helping us develop an innovative solution that not only enables us to meet our zero-carbon goals but puts Ottawa and Gatineau on the map as leaders in combating climate change.”
Loop will provide heating and cooling to Zibi
When the system and the development are completed, all four million square feet of residential and commercial buildings at Zibi will be interconnected through a hydronic loop which will deliver heating and cooling energy.
Low-grade heat from the effluents will be recovered from the end of the tissue-making process at the neighbouring Kruger Products’ plant and injected into the new central energy plant. In the summer, heat will be rejected through chillers into the Ottawa River to efficiently produce chilled water to cool the buildings.
The Zibi Community Utility plant, located on the lower level of a residential building on the Gatineau side, will also be made accessible to residents and visitors when it comes online, to allow them see the operations and learn about the technology.
“Zibi’s district energy system is a testament to the power of connection – through partnership, innovation, and a desire to create a future far more sustainable than the past,” said Bryce Conrad, president and CEO of Hydro Ottawa, in the announcement.
“Kruger Products’ involvement with the Zibi Community Utility, through the effluent energy recovery process from our Gatineau Plant, is yet another example of our commitment to our community, our employees, our suppliers and our customers to always look for innovative ways to reduce our environmental footprint and to make our operations more sustainable,“ added Stéphane Lamoureux, Kruger’s vice president of operations for special projects, in the announcement.
Gigabit internet via Beanfield partnership
The Zibi partners also announced a partnership with telecom company Beanfield to use the energy system pipe corridors to lay infrastructure for a fibre-optic network which will offer one-gigabit per second symmetrical upload and download speeds. The system will provide internet, phone, and TV services to all Zibi residents and businesses, as well as free wifi in public spaces.
The partners say this will also make Zibi one of Canada’s most technologically advanced communities.
Zibi is a 34-acre waterfront community being built on islands and shoreline straddling the Ottawa River in the neighbouring cities of Gatineau (Quebec) and Ottawa. When completed, more than 5,000 people will live and 6,000 people will work in the district, which will also include eight acres of riverside parks and public squares, and more than one million square feet of commercial space.
It is designed to be one of the most sustainable communities in the world, and is the first in Canada to receive One Planet Living certification, a global standard developed by Bioregional and the World Wildlife Fund.