Community

Energy transfer project largest of its kind in North America

York Region and Markham District Energy Inc. have signed a Memorandum of Agreement that will pave the way for a wastewater energy transfer project that’s expected to be the largest of its kind in North America.

Wastewater energy transfer uses heat pump technology to exchange heat energy with wastewater to enable a low-carbon and cost-effective heating and cooling solution.

Under the Memorandum of Agreement, Markham District Energy has proposed a connection to a section of York Region’s trunk sewer at 8100 Warden Ave. The proposed project would involve diversion of wastewater flows to an adjacent facility that contains heat exchangers to transfer heat from one source to another. The process would involve extracting heat from wastewater in colder months and injecting heat into wastewater in warmer months.

Markham District Energy is a company wholly owned by City of Markham. It operates a heating and cooling network that serves about 14 million square feet of residential and commercial space in Markham Centre. The project would support further decarbonization of its systems, which serve heating and cooling needs for participating buildings in Markham Centre.

By supporting this project, York Region is enabling the largest wastewater energy transfer project in North America, reducing annual community greenhouse gas emissions by up to 30,000 tonnes, equivalent to annual emissions from 5,500 cars or greenhouse gas absorption by a forest 15 per cent the size of Markham, according to a Report of the Commissioner of Public Works Laura McDowell.

The agreement proposes a 30-year contract term beginning in April 2026. Markham District Energy is responsible for project costs while anticipated ongoing Regional operating costs are proposed to be recovered through an energy transfer fee.

 

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