What if we used the water lying 500 meters underground to heat and cool schools in Quebec? This is the project that a team of Quebec specialists wants to set up in order to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improve the energy efficiency of buildings.
“We are going to do a borehole that can reach 500 meters deep. The idea is to exchange heat with the basement to heat or cool a building at low cost, ”explains Philippe Pasquier, professor at Polytechnique Montreal and holder of the Geothermal Research Chair on Integration permanent column wells in institutional buildings.
The team, made up of specialists from Polytechnique Montréal, Hydro-Québec and school service centers, will carry out demonstration projects in three Québec schools. Construction of the first permanent column shafts at Clé-des-Champs elementary school in Mirabel should begin in the summer of 2021.
Geothermal system consisting of permanent column wells that will be built around the Clé-des-Champs primary school
“The design is almost finished at the Clé-des-Champs school. The calls for tenders will be launched at the beginning of next winter and the construction of the system will be done next summer ”, indicates Mr. Pasquier. Last summer, the team built test wells to learn about the conditions in the basement around the school. “The concept of a permanent column shaft is designed for a depth that is quite deep, such as 500 meters. In Mirabel, there is a lot of water in the basement, so we went down to 133 meters and that was enough, ”says Guillaume Marchand, project manager for the Seigneurie-des-Mille School Services Center. -He is.
Philippe Pasquier explains that six wells will be built to supply the school with electricity. “After construction, all we’ll see is six little steel plates right in the middle of the schoolyard,” he explains.
Philippe Pasquier, professor at Polytechnique Montréal and holder of the Research Chair in geothermal energy on the integration of permanent column wells in institutional buildings
A low temperature energy system can operate and generate substantial energy savings, particularly in schools with large energy bills.
This type of system will reduce the energy bill by around 35% compared to a conventional mechanical system, which will allow savings of approximately $ 55,000 per year per school in heating costs.
“We want to help Quebec decarbonise Quebec,” explains Marc-André Richard, researcher at the Hydro-Quebec Research Institute. One of the things that can be done is to change the heating of buildings. ”
Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from buildings account for 17% of emissions in Canada, mainly due to the use of fossil fuels for heating.
Currently, a few schools are still heated with oil, but most of them use natural gas, which emits greenhouse gases (GHGs), explains Pasquier. “Geothermal energy does not emit any GHGs, so that’s a big plus”, adds Guillaume Marchand.
“Geothermal energy is widely used in the eastern United States, but there is little in Quebec,” says Pasquier. Adoption of this technology is slow in Canada due to its complexity, lack of demonstration projects and lack of qualified personnel in the industry.
“It also takes big investments at the start,” says Marchand. The project will benefit from $ 2.7 million, including $ 1 million from Hydro-Québec and $ 1.7 million from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). The Quebec Ministry of Education will bear the costs associated with the construction of geothermal systems and the other partners will provide a contribution equivalent to $ 1.1 million in staff time.
On the radar screen
A future urban park in Laval
The City of Laval buys land on the banks in order to create parks and green or conservation spaces.
The City of Laval announced last Tuesday the acquisition of a large piece of land along the Rivière des Prairies in order to develop an urban park. This 2.77 hectare green space is equivalent to 17 ice rinks and was acquired at a cost of $ 6.84 million. This acquisition aims to consolidate the development of parks, urban paths and shorelines as provided for in the Laval 2035 strategic vision : urban in nature . This is the fourth recent acquisition of land on the bank in order to create a park and a green or conservation area after the purchase of the wooded land adjacent to the Berge des Baigneurs in Sainte-Rose, to that of the two large islands, as well as at Le Commodore Marina.
The extended “bicycle boost” project
The practice of cycling as a mode of transport in France has exploded since the COVID-19 crisis.
The “cycling boost”, a project to encourage cycling in France, was due to end on December 31. However, it will be extended until March 31, 2021, the Ministry of Ecological Transition said on November 30. This project offers support up to 50 euros for the repair of a bicycle. So far, over 1 million bikes have been repaired. About twenty million more will be invested in the project. The practice of cycling as a mode of travel in France has exploded since the COVID-19 crisis, in particular with the creation of new cycle paths.