Residential geothermal energy to be used in Toronto townhouse development

Residential geothermal energy to be used in Toronto townhouse development

November 25, 2019 0 By Bret Williams

Birchcliff Urban Towns to have heating and cooling systems powered by geothermal.

Residential geothermal energy is becoming more widely used thanks to advancements in geo renewable technology and the demand for new buildings to be constructed with sustainable materials and power. In Toronto, Canada, a new townhouse development, Birchcliff Urban Towns, is being developed with a geothermal system for heating and cooling.

The geothermal townhouse development includes 52 townhouse units.

The Birchcliff Urban Town development, which is being built in Toronto’s east end, will have 52 townhome units laid out in a U-shaped two-story building that are linked together via a central courtyard. The development will be free of natural gas and heated and cooled by a geothermal system that is currently being constructed. Since the heat and cooling with come from the geothermal system, this also means that there will be no need for noisy and aesthetically unappealing cooling and heating units on rooftops.

The residential geothermal townhome complex will rely less on power from the grid, with the geothermal system lowering the building’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80%.

“It has a much lower operating cost than other systems,” said Adel Esayed, dean of the Centre for Construction and Engineering Technologies at Toronto’s George Brown College, On-Site reports.

Esayed added that geothermal heating pumps can save customers anywhere from 35 to 60% on their heating and 25 to 50% on cooling in comparison to traditional systems used for heating and cooling.

High installation costs are the biggest drawback for residential geothermal systems.

One of the main reasons why there are not more homes using geothermal power systems is due to the high installation costs of these systems. Installing the essential pipes requires boreholes to be dug anywhere from 200 to 800 feet blown ground. Costs can range anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000 depending on the size of the system, accessibility, and the amount of drilling required.

The top layer of the hole is the most expensive to dig through, according to Lane Theriault, president of Subterra Renewables, a Toronto-based green energy supplier that is a part of the Birchcliff Development.

The reason is that this portion of the hole is prone to caving so this part of the well needs to be cased. Moreover, not just anyone can install such a system. Pro expertise is needed to build the most efficient system.

That said, Theriault added that while the initial costs are high, to actually run the system once it is installed costs virtually nothing. Moreover, once it’s in the ground, it lasts virtually forever and doesn’t require replacement like other forms or renewables like wind turbines and solar panels.

residential geothermal - townhomesConstruction on the Birchcliff residential geothermal development started in June and is slated for completion by the end of next year (2020).