As of March 2010, ENMAX has been operating the Calgary Downtown District Energy Centre, which is capable of providing heat for up to 10 million square feet of buildings. The facility incorporates high efficiency boilers, fueled by natural gas. Customers are connected to the facility through an underground network of hot‑water piping, referred to as the thermal distribution system. The hot water is fed to the customer through an energy transfer station, which exchanges the heat from the hot water with the building’s hydronic system. District energy provides greater heating reliability, less maintenance and the energy transfer station occupies significantly less space than a conventional heating (boiler) system.
The New Central Library is serviced with district energy from the ENMAX thermal distribution system. Associated Engineering provided the following services for the new thermal distribution system service connection and the energy transfer station inside the building: detailed design, obtain municipal approvals, develop pedestrian and traffic access plans around the site during construction, develop material take-offs for procurement, provide construction inspection, and complete record drawings.
Due to the size and complexity of the overall project, significant effort was required to develop viable routing options. Infrastructure that had to be negotiated included the LRT tracks running under the library footprint, existing underground utilities, of which many were concurrently being relocated, new utility connections, and the 9 Avenue SE roadway. As the district energy service connection needed to be in place at an early stage of the overall library construction, design of other infrastructure, including the building structure itself, was not firm. This required on-going liaison and design co-operation with other stakeholders, including building architects and design engineers for other utilities.
We worked with ENMAX to evolve the energy transfer station design towards a skid-packaged delivery approach. This helped with overall project cost efficiency and a simplified construction phase.