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South Arm District Energy Utility Phase 1 Technical Feasibility Study


Richmond, British Columbia


Building Mechanical



The City of Richmond initiated the South Arm District Energy Utility project which includes the installation of a biomass boiler to provide base space heating and domestic hot water heating for five buildings in the South Arm Community area.

The City intends to implement this project in two phases. Phase 1 will entail the supply and installation of the biomass boiler and connection of the South Arm outdoor pool and Whiteside School to the district energy utility system. Phase 2 will entail the connection of the remaining three facilities to the district energy utility system.

As part of Phase 1, Associated Engineering was engaged to provide the following services:

  • Complete a review of the South Arm District Energy Concept Study completed by others
  • Assess the feasibility of connecting the two identified buildings in Phase 1
  • Develop a biomass boiler facility performance specification
  • Develop an implementation plan
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Project Highlights

The proposed district energy system consists of a 400 kW biomass boiler facility, including fuel handling and storage system, approximately 990 m of distribution piping system, and energy transfer stations. The biomass boiler size was based on providing a base load for the group of facilities. We provided a series of boiler system configurations based on fuel type, fuel delivery vehicle, and refuelling frequency.

In order to develop a performance specification for the biomass boiler facility, we chose a set of physical, operation and functional parameters that would allow vendors to show innovative solutions. The proposed distribution system alignment was based on existing property lines and rights-of-way on non-City owned land as well as future building interconnections. We also identified opportunities to simplify the building interconnections as a result of the high temperature district energy system.

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