The sun has always provided heat for the earth. Its energy warms the earth directly, but also indirectly. Its heat evaporates water from the lakes and streams, which eventually falls back to earth and filters into the ground. A few metres of surface soil insulate the earth and ground water below. The warm earth and ground water below the surface provide a free, renewable source of energy for as long as the sun continues to shine. The earth under an average residential lot can easily provide enough free energy to heat and cool the home built on it.
In many parts of Lower Lonsdale, this type of energy is provided by Lonsdale Energy Corporation (LEC). The LEC is an award winning district energy system. LEC has been providing dependable, clean, and competitively priced energy to residential and commercial buildings in the Lonsdale area since 2003. By heating communities naturally, the demand for energy can be reduced and support global and local climate action efforts.
Through a network of underground piping and mini-plants, the Lonsdale Energy Corporation circulates hot water to heat the buildings that are connected to its system.
How it works
The Lonsdale Energy Corp currently has six miniplants located throughout the City of North Vancouver, serving customers in the Lower Lonsdale, Central Lonsdale, and Marine Harbourside areas. LEC’s miniplants use a combination of high efficiency natural gas boilers, ground source heat pumps, heat recovery from building cooling, and solar thermal panels to heat hot water. The hot water is circulated through a series of underground insulated pipes, providing energy for heating and hot water to residences and businesses within the supply areas. The now-used water is re-circulated back into the mini-plants, where the process of re-heating and circulating begins again.
A well-designed ground loop will not hurt the earth or plants growing above it. There is no visible part to show that it is buried in your yard. If your system uses ground water, it has no effect on the water other than changing its temperature by a few degrees. Finally, a well designed ground water system will not waste the water, but put it back into the ground by means of a return well.
The concept of district energy seems relatively new, but it is widely used in Europe. In Canada, district energy dates back to the 1880s, but those early systems used bulk fuel that was not economically available for the average building owner. Fast forward to the 1990’s when technological advances and a growing concern for the environment brought district energy to the forefront again.
Have a look inside Lonsdale Energy Corp (LEC):