Project Title:

Gibsons Geo-Exchange District Energy Utility

Project Organization:

Town of Gibsons

Project Investment:

  • Island Coastal Economic Trust: $244,080
  • Innovative Clean Energy Fund: $325,113
  • Gas Tax - Community Work Fund: $256,247
  • Town of Gibsons: $168,527
  • Total Budget: $993,967

Project Highlight:

Gibsons is the first municipally-owned district energy utility of its kind in North America.

The earth produces renewable energy in the form of ground-source heat and geo-exchange is a method of harnessing heat energy for use in homes and businesses.  The Gibsons Geo-exchange District Energy Utility (GDEU) is a municipal energy utility project that will capture renewable energy from in-ground heat exchangers located on municipally-owned greenspace.  The GDEU will reduce energy consumption, reduce community-wide greenhouse gas emissions and provide long-term economic benefits to the Gibsons area
The Utility is operated as a district heating facility owned by the municipality and is the first of its kind in North America.  A series of coils buried two metres beneath public greenspace are filled with an ethanol/water mix to absorb heat and deliver it from a central pumphouse to connected buildings where heat pumps extract the heat.  The first GDEU field launched in 2009, serves 36 homes of the Parkland subdivision with a projected build-out of 140 homes.  A second field, constructed in 2012 at Brothers Park, services the Town’s new RCMP facility.  Future development may tap into either existing field.  At full build-out, it will service approximately 25% of the town’s population, and result in energy savings of more than 60%, and greenhouse gas reductions of more than 90%.

Completed in 2013, the environmental footprint of the Gibson’s community has been reduced through the GDEU and home owners and business operators benefit with lower-cost heating. In the long term, the Utility creates non-taxation revenue for the Town through economic development as a result of direct infrastructure investment.

The technology used has positioned Gibsons as a leader and innovator in alternative energy and it has garnered attention from academics, realtors and municipalities interested in replicating the renewable energy utility model.

Island Coastal Economic Trust approved funding for this project in 2013 through the Capital and Innovation program.