Reviewing Ikea’s geothermal chiller

By District Energy posted 04-01-2020 20:44


Canadian Consulting Engineer


In 2011, furniture retailer Ikea commissioned and implemented a frictionless magnetic levitation (maglev) centrifugal chiller to heat and air-condition a major distribution centre in Brossard, Que., by means of geothermal energy. The system achieved unprecedented energy efficiency for the facility, reduced its carbon footprint significantly and provided low-maintenance, highly reliable, silent operation.

The distribution centre comprises a 79,750-m2 warehouse and 1,641-m2 single-story office complex. In the warehouse, where the roof height varies from 10 to 15 m, the geothermal heating and cooling system is particularly important in ensuring occupant comfort and air quality, while also saving energy and reducing the facility’s carbon footprint.

In 2012, the project was featured in this magazine as a case study and won first place in ASHRAE’s international technology awards for existing commercial buildings.

Since then, it has been operating seamlessly. And as an industry first, i.e. pioneering the adaptation of a chiller with maglev bearings to serve as a heat pump for heating and cooling applications, it has served as something of a demonstration project for geothermal energy performance.

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