Saturday, December 22, 2012

Boyle Renaissance Project To Utilize Energy Efficient Technology

Mike Holmes has been involved in a ground breaking affordable housing project designed for seniors and disabled people in Edmonton, Alberta Canada. The Boyle Renaissance project will utilize energy efficient and environmentally friendly technology to generate power and heat for the building. Such technology is not new, but it's the first time it's being used in a building project on Canadian soil. As the project enters phase 2, Mike Holmes has been publicly touting the cost savings and environmental benefits of CHP (combined heat and power).


Mike Holmes shows off a 'first' in heating technology in city housing project
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The newest affordable housing project in the downtown is showing off its progress to this point, and is boasting about its new fangled technology to make it energy efficient.

And they brought in TV contractor Mike Holmes to help demonstrate it.

The building now has a name, the Renaissance Tower, and it's being built by the Métis Capital Housing Corporation to create ninety units for seniors.

"We're looking at about a 15 per cent more cost upfront but you get paid back forever," boasts Holmes. "Imagine saving 66% of off-gas into the atmosphere. 66 per cent of less energy costs. Do the math."

"It's not a new technology, it's an old idea," said Holmes Group associate Seth Atkins. "The idea of linking different buildings together has been done on campuses and in Europe for many years to great effect and efficiency. The difference is what we're looking at doing is putting in CHP, that's combined heat and power. Combined heat and power allows us to generate electricity, capture the waste heat and utilize that to heat our buildings. That means we can feed the electricity back into the grid and we have an opportunity to increase our efficiencies and reduce our energy costs".

It's not just this building going up on 95 Street north of 103A Avenue. The co-gen technology is being tied in to an adjoining building too. It's a Canadian first, where two buildings, with two owners are working together.

"We could see this expand to buildings over 14 kilometers," said Holmes.

"If we can expand that system throughout Edmonton's downtown we'll be able to increase the efficiencies greatly and eliminate plumes off the top of the office towers in Edmonton."

Normally heat goes up the stack on the rooftop and the plume escapes into the atmosphere. What this will do is instead is the heat will be captured and will heat the water which is then piped through the building.

"By doing that you're eliminating the GHGs that are normally admitted into the atmosphere and you're increasing the efficiency of the building, lowering costs, and creating a more efficient system," explained Atkins.

"It's going to save us a lot of money in the long haul," said Darlene Lennie, the executive director of the Métis Capital Housing Corporation.

"When I'm dealing with clients that are barely making their budget from month to month this becomes very important to them. We as a corporation pay the utilities on behalf of our client and they pay a fixed rate so they don't have the immediate impact but we certainly do as a company."

Lennie says the construction is a few weeks behind schedule because they lost a lot of time because of the weather this past spring and summer, but she expects they'll get caught up over the next year.

Renaissance Tower is due to open in the fall of 2013. (sj, twd)
Photo: iNews880's Scott Johnston

From the Edmonton Journal:

Boyle Street Renaissance Project heating up

Phase 2 of inner-city housing development features unique energy-generating system

Boyle Street Renaissance Project heating up
 Mike Holmes with Alan Smyth, senior project manager for Clarke builders, inspects the new Boyle Renaissance Senior’s project phase 2 on December 21, 2012 in Edmonton.

Photograph by: Bruce Edwards , Edmonton Journal

EDMONTON - The second phase in the Boyle Renaissance Project not only has a new name, but will use a unique energy-generating system.The affordable housing project for seniors will be named Renaissance Tower, Darlene Lennie of the Metis Capital Housing Corporation announced at a news conference Friday.
“We thought it was very fitting because it is for seniors and disabled Edmontonians,” Lennie said.
“We thought it appropriate that the new home in the rapid, changing inner-city that the new project be called Renaissance Tower.”
Along with a new name, Lennie also announced the seven-storey, 90-unit building will be the first of its kind to use the combined heat and power system between two buildings with two different owners. The tower, on the corner of 95 Street between 104 and 105 Avenue, will be equipped to generate electricity which can be fed back into the grid and provide heat to two buildings.
The 380-kilowatt microgeneration system is scheduled to be installed on the roof of the building in March. Using natural gas, the system will produce electricity and use the waste heat, normally expelled into the air, to heat the tower and provide heat for the YMCA building across the street in Phase 1 of the Renaissance Project.
“The idea of linking buildings and sharing heat is an old idea,” said Seth Atkins, director of the Holmes Homes project. “The idea of using combined heat and power, where you’re generating electricity and feeding it back to the grid and eliminating waste heat into the atmosphere, that’s a new idea.”
Holmes Homes, a national organization created by contractor and tv personality Mike Holmes became involved in March 2011, when he was asked by the city to look at sustainability issues.
“What has interested me is the people who care,” Holmes said. “Between Darlene and the City of Edmonton, I see the people that care, and because I see that, I’m very happy to be part of it.”
Holmes gave a tour of the tower, which currently stands at four storeys.
The idea of district energy — the sharing of energy between buildings — is not a new idea, but it is the first application of the combined heat and power systems in Edmonton between two different building owners to create the system, and is rarely installed in an affordable housing residence.
Atkins points out the generation facility will have the capacity to operate over 14 kilometres and is hopeful it could expand to other buildings.
“The generation source is capable of travelling great distances to heat different buildings,” said Atkins. “The more buildings you can put into that one generation source, the more effiencies you can generate.”
The use of the co-generation systems can result in an increased cost up front, but because of a partnership with Enmax, the cost to the Metis Capital Housing Corp will remain the same amount as if regular boilers were being used. “It will save us a lot of money in the long haul,” said Lennie.
The Metis Capital Housing Corp provided $6 million of the funding for the housing project, which is also receiving municipal funding through the Cornerstones project, as well as federal and provincial funding.
Lennie expects the $22-million dollar project will meet its September 2013 completion date, despite being a few weeks behind on construction due to weather.
The Renaissance Tower housing unit is the second phase of the redevelopment. Phase 1, which completed construction earlier this month, features YMCA affordable housing in one building, and a community centre including child care, office and recreation space in another. The entire project puts social services and housing in one 2-1/2- block area and is designated as a district in The Quarters Downtown redevelopment initiative.

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