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Ottawa-Area Buildings Harness Heat from Nearby Paper Plant

By District Energy posted 02-27-2024 15:55


The Energy Mix


A new development in Ottawa-Gatineau is capturing waste heat from a nearby paper factory for heating, using a district energy system that also channels chilled Ottawa River water to cool buildings in the summer.

Scott Demark, a partner with Theia Partners, the company that built the Zibi mixed-use development, said the idea for the system came to him when he noticed plumes of steam pouring out of smokestacks at the Kruger Products plant in Gatineau, Quebec, on cold winter days, CBC News reports.

Theia was building its new development “next door, practically,” Demark said. He recalled thinking, “How can we harness that and bring it here? It’s silly to be dissipating that to the atmosphere and turning around and burning gas or something to make heat.”

That line of thought led to the system that went online in 2021 to heat Zibi, a planned community located on 13.75 hectares/34 acres along the Ottawa River, a natural border between the provinces of Ontario and Quebec. The industrial lands were previously owned by the Domtar paper company, and for vastly longer have been a sacred place for the Algonquin people. Amid considerable controversy at the time, the original project developer, Windmill Development Group, entered into what the Algonquins of Ontario called “a landmark partnership that will see the preservation and promotion of Algonquin culture in the development of Zibi.”

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