Murray Coell

Murray Coell

Waste not in Peninsula energy plan

Thermal energy recovery celebrated



The water is warmed with the power of waste, though there’s hopefully little pee in the pool at Panorama.

The recreation centre in North Saanich was the site of the official launch of the Saanich Peninsula Thermal Energy Recovery System.

“We, the CRD, received a $2.98 million federal grant to construct a thermal energy capture system taking the wastewater effluent at the Saanich Peninsula wastewater facility, and use it to replace the natural gas required to heat the pool at the Panorama Rec Centre,” said Geoff Young, chair of the CRD board.

The project, initiated in 2008, was completed with support from the federal Gas Tax Agreements Innovations Fund.

Murray Coell, MLA for Saanich North and the Islands, recalled when he was among those who signed the documents that allowed for the gas tax funds to go directly to local government

“It’s proven to have been the right decision,” Coell said. “CRD with North Saanich, Sidney, Central Saanich have had a number of projects, this being the major project they have done with gas tax funds. It hits all of the things that we wanted to do as a province, it hits greenhouse gasses by lowering them, it uses innovative technology, it creates jobs in British Columbia.”

The Saanich Peninsula Thermal Energy Recovery System captures thermal energy from wastewater effluent to provide space heating at the treatment plant and hot water at the adjacent recreation centre using recovery technology.

“The energy recovery system extracts heat from the wastewater effluent at the wastewater treatment plant,” explained Geoff Orr, chair of the Saanich Peninsula Wastewater Commission. “The heat is transferred to a closed-loop potable water system using sophisticated high-efficiency heat exchangers. This warmed water is pumped here to the Panorama Recreation Centre where the temperature is increased to a useable level with the help of heat pumps … This is the water that is now used to heat Panorama recreation’s pool.”

The system is capable of expanding to provide heat for KELSET elementary, Centre for Plant Health, the treatment plan itself and nearby residents.

“When fully built out, the system could see more than $300,000 a year in total savings for these facilities and is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 1,900 tons annually,” Orr said. “In the meantime Panorama has the pleasure of taking advantage of the first phase of this project. With the reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and savings they’re seeing, I’m confident it’s a project that will continue to be a success.”

“I believe the value of our facility, the pool in particular, is increased significantly by thermal energy recovery it receives from Saanich Peninsula Wastewater Treatment Plant,” said Marilyn Loveless, vice-chair Panorama Recreation Commission. “We work to make our society healthy, inclusive and sustainable and this project has done much to further those goals.

“Thanks to this project, Panorama is seeing approximately $77,000 per year in energy savings. By acting as the pilot for this program we can also contribute to better energy reuse across the region, making Panorama part of the solution in today’s world of energy challenges.”