Innovative environmental solution turns waste water into sustainable heating

False Creek Energy Centre
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
2007 - 2009
City of Vancouver
Industry Sector
Service Area
Environment & Sustainability; Infrastructure; Process Facilities; Project Delivery
Construction Support Services; Basic Engineering; Energy Studies; Detailed Design

The City of Vancouver selected Ausenco as the prime consultant to design an environmentally friendly central heating plant for their Neighbourhood Energy Utility that provides hot water for space heating and domestic hot water heating to a number of buildings located within the False Creek area.

The City’s mandate was that Southeast False Creek be developed as a sustainable community by incorporating the principles of energy efficient design in its neighbourhood plan.

The False Creek Energy Centre (FCEC) achieves this by recovering heat from raw sewage and by following sustainable LEED Gold building practices. The FCEC was fully operational in time to provide heating for the Athlete’s Village, as part of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. The FCEC is the first district heat system in North America to use untreated municipal wastewater as the primary heat source.

This required an innovative design approach to deal with the solids that would otherwise plug the heat pump. The complexity and sensitivity of the project also required extensive public consultation with a wide range of stakeholders.

The facility’s high visibility required a multidisciplinary approach with experts in engineering, architecture, public art, landscaping and sustainability to develop a solution appealing to the general public from both an environmental and aesthetic perspective.

The facility consists of a new self-cleaning municipal sewage pump station, raw wastewater screening, sewage/refrigerant heat pump, gas fired peaking boilers, water pumping, HVAC, electrical, instrumentation and control systems, and an emergency generator.

The equipment is housed in an architecturally designed structure that incorporates urban artwork, public open spaces and public education elements.