Engineering Sustainability From The Ground Up
Our Core Values
At DEC, conservation and sustainability are at the heart of all our projects; they are our core values, the principles to which the company is dedicated, and from which it derives its goals and its practices.
In the 21st century, sustainable engineering must be more than pipes and pumps and plumbing. A responsibly-realized system must be planned from the very beginning to maximize available resources, consume a minimum of non-renewable resources, and mitigate environmental impact.
DEC understands these principles, and applies them at every stage of its project involvement, from feasibility studies to system planning, from energy surveys to system design, from cost planning and financial benefit analysis to tendering and construction supervision.
In today’s world, a company must foster a culture of respect and responsibility, and must provide the leadership needed to apply and sustain that culture. These, along with experience, knowledge and creativity are the criteria of excellence – criteria met and exceeded every day by DEC.
Whistler Athletes’ Village
The Athletes’ Village at Whistler, B.C., provided DEC with an opportunity to demonstrate to the world its low-temperature District Energy Sharing System. The Village, enclosing 85,000 square metres and housing 2,200 persons, is one of the first closed-loop systems in the world powered by treated wastewater effluent.
The Games are over, and the Athletes’ Village now provides housing for residents and employees of Whistler Resort, its DESS meeting their heating, cooling and hot water needs in an economical and ecologically sustainable manner.
Westhills at Langford
Sustainability On A Large Scale
Westhills is a 210 hectare planned community under development in Langford, British Columbia. Upon completion, Westhills will comprise 6000 homes and 465,000 square metres of mixed-use space. And its heating, cooling and domestic hot water needs will be met by Canada’s largest DESS. Designed and built by DEC.
Thermal energy recaptured from across the entire community (including from such unconventional sources as ice rink refrigeration plants and water treatment plants) is combined with supplementary energy generated from a 212-hole, geo-exchange bore-field to balance the environments of each building on the system. Further, the network is designed to distribute reclaimed water, reducing potable water demand by 50%.
Government House – First Nation Of Na-Cho Nyak Dun Mayo, Yukon
Sustainability In The Extreme
In the village of Mayo, Yukon, Canada, the daily mean temperature in January is
-25.7C. Yet even here, just 300 kilometers from the Arctic Circle, DEC’s concept of low-temperature district energy sharing is viable. The First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun, in partnership with the Governments of Canada and Yukon has chosen a geo-thermal DESS to heat, cool and provide domestic hot water for their new Government House, designed by Canadian architect Rob Sieniuc. The system, employing geo-exchange, earth tubes and solar technologies, has the capacity to expand to other buildings in the community.
Perhaps surprisingly, the fundamental advantages of a DESS – low capital and operating costs, energy conservation, low environmental impact – hold true here in the harsh and extreme climate of central Yukon, just as they do in more temperate regions.
CRD Wastewater Heat Recovery, Saanich. B.C.
The CRD wastewater heat recovery project connects recovered waste heat from the Saanich Peninsula wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) and two ice rinks to an office building, pool, greenhouses and school, and allows for the expansion of the system into the nearby residential community. The system is unique in that it is designed to recover the waste heat from the ice rink refrigeration system and augment the heat available from the WWTP, providing greater reliability and efficiency.
Fraser Mills is a 23-phase, commercial mixed-use development project in Coquitlam, BC featuring multi-use residential/commercial, industrial, educational and institutional buildings. Both a high temperature district heating system (DHS) and a low temperature DESS were evaluated before selecting the many benefits of DEC’s low temperature DESS for Fraser Mills. Many energy sources will be integrated into the project, including process waste-heat, sewer waste-heat, closed loop geo-exchange, open loop geo-exchange, river water geo-exchange and, potentially, biomass.
Metro Vancouver Wastewater Heat Recovery Study
DEC, in conjunction with KWL and AE provided a full technical and financial evaluation of the potential for wastewater heat recovery at Vancouver’s Annacis Island and Lulu Island wastewater treatment plants (WWTP). Combined, these facilities provide secondary treatment to wastewater from over 1.1 million people across Greater Vancouver. The study assessed the feasibility of supplying the recovered energy to both onsite WWTP processes and offsite buildings. Due to the large distribution distances between both WWTP’s and population centres, two low-temperature District Energy
Sharing Systems were proposed to deliver thermal energy to the offsite users. The theoretical heating potential of the two plants totals approximately 140 MW of thermal power or enough annual heating energy for 50,000 homes.
City of Surrey DESS Strategy Study
DEC has completed a study to develop a District Energy System strategy for the Surrey City Centre, a community expected to have 65,000 residents and up to 37,000 city employees by 2030. Maximizing community energy, reducing greenhouse gases, and minimizing total cost of project ownership were key areas of focus.
The study evaluated a variety of alternative energy sources including high-temperature combustion/gasification (waste-to-energy and biomass) and low-temperature heat recovery opportunities (process waste-heat, sewer, open and closed loop geoexchange and others). Twelve different District Energy System configurations, centered on three targeted development locations throughout Surrey, were assessed and a combination of high-temperature and low-temperature sources and distribution systems were evaluated.
Key findings included significant GHG reductions compared to business-as-usual building heating technologies, increased energy security, local economic growth and consumer energy prices equal to those of conventional energy systems.
Halifax Regional Municipality, Nova Scotia
DEC evaluated the heat recovery opportunities available at both the Mill Cove and Halifax wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) located in Bedford and downtown Halifax respectively. The theoretical available thermal heating capacity was estimated to be 3.5 MW for the Mill Cove facility and 20 MW for the Halifax plant, sufficient to heat approximately 8,000 homes. The initial studies assessed the feasibility of both a high temperature and low temperature District Energy System for distributing the reclaimed effluent heat to the surrounding development areas.
To date, a pre-design of a low temperature District Energy Sharing System for the Bedford area has been completed. The DESS will deliver and balance the heating and cooling energy of three buildings adjacent to the wastewater treatment plant site. Financial analysis of the system shows delivered energy rates to homeowners equal to or better than rates from conventional heating technologies.
Our Curriculum Vitae
Since 1979, DEC has undertaken hundreds of diverse and challenging projects – locally, regionally, nationally and internationally - and completed each to the highest professional and ethical engineering standards.