Category: Electrification of Vehicles and Buildings
Current energy regulations in North America are evolving to accommodate more self-generation however few policies exist which allow communities to generate and share energy in a meaningful and economic way. The concept we would like to discuss today allows right-sizing of the Distributed Energy Resources (DER) such that the entire community, rather than just the host facility, can share in the benefits.
The proposed host community is the David Johnston Research + Technology Park (R+T Park). It is one of the newest research parks in Canada located close to the University of Waterloo’s North Campus. This R+T Park is designed to accommodate 1.2 million square feet of office space on 120 acres of land to house thousands of researchers, create new technology jobs and generate billions of dollars of economic impact. The R+T Park provides a powerfully supportive base for radical high impact research and boasts the fact that 70% of the world’s gross domestic product runs on software and systems created by companies located within the park. The theme by which the park was founded aligns with a sustainable community focus conducive to a microgrid deployment.
So this is where our story begins. Stantec moved into our new Waterloo office over 2 years ago which just happens to be situated right smack dab in the middle of the R+T Park. At the same time, we were awarded the design contract of what would be the first net positive energy commercial building in Canada which also was to be located within the R+T Park across the street from our new Stantec office. This building was to be named Evolv1 and would incorporate LEED Platinum design concepts, an innovative geo-exchange system utilizing a variable refrigerant flow system for heating and cooling, a solar wall and triple glazed windows, significant electric vehicle charging and to top it off, enough solar PV to not only power the building, but with significant surplus to spare. In fact the building was recently awarded the very first Net Zero Building certification from the Canadian Green Building Council.
Excess solar generation produced by Evolv1 could be used by adjacent buildings rather than curtailed or sold back to the grid for a loss. There could be other benefits as well and we believed that since the owners of the R+T Park, the developer and other stakeholders had interest, we would pursue a pilot study.
Mike Voll– Global Sector Leader, Smart Technologies, Stantec Consulting Ltd.