A key part of the energy transition and decarbonization is to use energy more efficiently. Energy efficiency reduces energy costs and our environmental footprint.
Energy efficient homes and buildings have many benefits such as using less energy, so it costs less to operate and producing fewer greenhouse gasses which is good for the environment.
Here are just a few options we're exploring to reduce emissions by using energy efficient technologies in homes and buildings:
Micro Combined Heat & Power
Micro Combined Heat & Power (mCHP) is an energy efficient technology that uses natural gas to generate both heat and electricity for homes. mCHP captures the excess thermal energy that would normally be lost during power generation and instead uses it to heat the home or water. This creates greater efficiencies, lowers utility costs and reduces a home's greenhouse gas emissions.
Over the past two years, we've installed mCHPs across Alberta to help us learn more about the potential for this technology. Many of the install projects combine mCHP with solar systems. By combining these technologies, we can understand more about what the emissions reduction potential is when we maximize renewable energy and supplement it with high-efficiency, low-emissions gas technology when traditional renewables are unavailable, such as during long periods of overcast weather and in the winter.
mCHP is not a technology that we're offering to customers at this time but if you'd like to learn more about our involvement in innovative mCHP initiatives, check out these publications:
Western Energy: Downsizing Combined Heat and Power Technology for Smaller Applications
CHP Magazine: Bringing big Benefits: mCHP offers clean, reliable and cost-effective energy for apartments and farms (page 14)
Low Carbon Discovery Home with SAIT & Brookfield
We partnered with SAIT and Brookfield Residential Properties to demonstrate how natural gas-powered micro combined heat and power can lead to lower emissions and more affordable net-zero energy housing.
Click here to learn more about this unique energy efficient initiative, including the carbon emission reductions and potential savings in utility costs.
CleanO2 Carbon Capture Technology
To learn more about how we can reduce CO2 emissions we partnered with CleanO2 Carbon Capture Technologies, a Calgary-based company, to test their commercial carbon capture device known as CARBiNX.
The CARBiNX system connects to the flue gas vent of a natural gas appliance and extracts CO2 through a chemical reaction, while preheating incoming city water for domestic hot water use. The by-product of the process is soda ash, which can be used to manufacture several products including soap, skincare products and cleansers.
We installed a CARBiNX system at our Calgary Operations Centre in December 2017. The outcome was reduced energy demands through heat recovery and the production of soda ash, while reducing total emissions from our operations centre.
Drake Landing Solar Community
The Drake Landing Solar Community (DLSC) is a carefully designed 52-house subdivision in the Town of Okotoks, AB that successfully uses solar thermal energy for its space and water heating needs.
The district heating system, consisting of 798 solar collectors mounted on garage roofs, collects and stores energy underground during warmer months for later distribution in the winter. The energy is routed through a central energy centre where it can be transferred from short-term storage tanks to the homes, or sent to seasonal borehole thermal energy storage in the adjacent park.
It's estimated that each home produces approximately 5 tonnes fewer GHG emissions per year than an average home, and each home is 30 per cent more efficient than conventional residential buildings in a similar age range.