The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) has completed a study to look at energy efficiency in the District Energy System (DES) in Cheakamus Crossing.
The study took place between January 2016 and June 2016, and examined home energy consumption, system efficiencies and forecasted costs over the life of the system. The study determined how the DES performs relative to standard electrical baseboards and electric boiler comparisons. Monitoring equipment was installed on the heating systems in six Cheakamus Crossing townhomes to collect information on how energy is consumed for space heating and domestic hot water.
Results indicate that the heat pump systems in the units studied have much lower annual energy costs to produce the same levels of heat energy output, compared to homes that have standard electric water heaters and either an electric hydronic boiler or baseboard heaters. The DES heat pump systems’ annual energy costs were 17 to 40 per cent lower than homes using electric systems for heat and hot water, with an average annual savings of $428.00. Multiplying the average annual savings over a typical service life expectancy of 20 years equates to cost savings of $8,560.00 (in 2016 dollars).
The study took into consideration both operating costs as well as total ownership costs, including the cost of energy, the cost of routine maintenance, DES utility fees, and the cost of equipment replacement at the end of its normal service life.
The DES offers additional environmental benefits by substantially decreasing Whistler’s electrical and natural gas requirements. Compared to conventional heating technologies, the DES reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 95 per cent; the equivalent to taking 350 cars off the road for a year.
"Whistler’s energy system is transitioning to renewable energy sources, and the DES is an important part of that transition. The heat pump systems are consuming on average 65% less electricity per year. This corresponds to significant reduction in GHG emissions, helping the community to meet its Community Energy and Climate Action Plan goals” said Mayor Wilhelm-Morden.
The DES was incorporated into all the units of Cheakamus Crossing when the neighbourhood was built for the 2010 Winter Games as the Whistler Athletes’ Village. Today 90 per cent of the homes in the neighbourhood are restricted to the Whistler workforce through the Whistler Housing Authority. The RMOW operates and maintains the DES plant located at the Whistler Wastewater Treatment Plant, as well as piping in public areas. Strata properties are responsible for the piping on common property, and individual homeowners are responsible for all equipment within their homes.
At this time, the Whistler Development Corporation is offering a limited one-time program for eligible participants to improve the operation and reliability of their home district energy systems. For details on how to get involved, please visit http://cheakamuscrossing.com/residents
Other DES initiatives
Additional resources available on the website: whistler.ca/DES
- Homeowner FAQ and troubleshooting guide – A quick reference guide to help residents experiencing technical difficulties.
- Residential heat pump service guide – A detailed handbook identifying components in the residential DES system with a recommended maintenance schedule for this equipment.