consortium has been chosen by Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) to
manage the $1.1-billion overhaul of five heating and cooling plants in the
National Capital Region. However, this decision has been met with a lot of
disapproval by the country’s largest federal public service union.
the department announced that Innovate Energy has been awarded the 30-year
contract “to design, retrofit, maintain and operate the plants,”winning the bid
over a rival group that included SNC-Lavalin.
Environment, Catherine McKenna, said the federal government was “leading by
example” in its bid to drastically reduce the amount of greenhouse gas
emissions across the country. McKenna noted that by supporting this project, they’re
utilizing heating and cooling infrastructure to promote a more environmentally
proud that our government is working with partners like Innovate Energy to
modernize this critical infrastructure,” she said during the announcement
at one of the facilities that will be upgraded, the Cliff Heating and Cooling
Plant in downtown Ottawa.
would be known as the district energy system and would heat 80 buildings in the
area with steam. It is also expected to cool 67 of these buildings with chilled
water through more than 14 kilometres of underground pipes.
Energy Services Acquisition Program, PSPC will be tasked with modernizing the
outdated technology in the plants to lower emissions and supportgrowth in the eco-friendly
first stage of the overhaul, the system would be converted from steam to low
temperature hot water and then switched from steam to electric chillers—with
the estimated completion date being 2025. PSPC notes that the project will
reduce current emissions by 63 per cent, the equivalent of removing 14,000 non-eco-friendly
cars off the road.
the natural gas powering the plant will then be replaced by carbon-neutral fuel
sources, which according to estimated will reduce emissions by a further 28 per
cent. The renovation project is bound to save the government an estimated fee
of more than $750 million in heating and cooling costs in the next 40 years.
the implementation of radiant
floor heating in Ottawa by the federal government
would be an additional step in driving its agenda for a more eco-friendly
to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Savers website,
radiant floor heating has a lot of benefits and advantages over alternate heat
systems and can cut heating costs by 25 to 50 per cent.
“It is more
efficient than baseboard heating and usually more efficient than forced-air
heating because no energy is lost through ducts,” the website states.
floor heating provides an equal amount of heat throughout a building, including
areas that are difficult to heat, such as rooms with vaulted ceilings, garages
or bathrooms. Consideringit warms people and objects directly—controlling the
direct heat loss of the occupant—radiant floor heating provides comfort at
lower thermostat settings.
and other forms of ‘point’ heating circulate heat inefficiently and hence need
to run for longer periods to obtain comfort levels,” reports the Residential
Energy Services Network (RESNet).
heating is a clean and healthy option—a perfect choice for those with severe
allergies—as it doesn’t rely on circulating air, meaning there are no
potentially irritating particles blowing around the room. Additionally, it is
more energy efficient, aesthetically pleasing with wall radiators or floor
registers and virtually noiseless when in operation.
“They draw cold
air across the floor and send warm air up to the ceiling, where it then falls,
heating the room from the top down, creating drafts and circulating dust and
important for the leadership in Ottawa to equally drive the adoption of radiant
floor heating as doing this would lead to increased usage in residential
buildings—and even government-owned buildings.
October, the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), a representative body of
employees of the plants,began a campaign target
at the government against their decision to use a
public-private partnership (P3) for the retrofitting project, citing concerns
about costs and safety.
to the union, outside employees won’t be bound to the same health and safety
standards of government workers and that typically P3 projects cost a lot more
than traditional public financing deals.
demands that the government scraps the proposed project and meet PSAC members
and experts to brainstorm on a new way forward that would ensure federal
employees continue to operate and maintain the plants.
secretary to public services and procurement minister, Steve MacKinnon said
that the union officials have consulted him but that
after conducting an analysis, the P3 option was still the best for the job.
have (to) sacrifice on safety or health — we didn’t have to sacrifice on job
security,” he said.