YVR builds geoexchange system

The biggest building in the province, YVR in Richmond, will get a new heating and cooling system that will include one of the largest geoexchange systems in the country.

The Vancouver International Airport is building a Central Utilities Building (CUB) on the airport’s former value parking lot with a geoexchange system, a heating/cooling system that uses the earth’s renewable energy found just below the surface, integrated throughout the airport to heat and cool the airport’s structures.

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“We think it’s going to reduce our green-house gases significantly,” said Craig Richmond, president and CEO of the Vancouver Airport Authority. “We’re looking for a minimum 40 per cent for the airport carbon footprint.”

This year, construction projects at the airport will total about $700 million, Richmond said.

The Central Utilities Building is expected to cost about $360 million, although that might go up because of inflation and the rising cost of steel, according to an airport spokesperson. In conjunction with the CUB and the geoexchange system, a new parkade is being constructed, totalling about $578 million, one of the largest projects the airport has undertaken.

The airport authority needed to replace the heating/cooling plant, and decided to spend approximately $30 million more to make it a geothermal system, Richmond said.

The Central Utilities Building under construction will centralize all the equipment necessary to heat and cool the airport and other electrical uses. The geoexchange system will have about 1,100 of wells that go 400 to 500 feet below the surface and will regulate the heat throughout the airport, and more can be built along Grant McConnachie Way later as the terminal expands, Richmond explained.

The new utilities building, about 67,000 square feet in size, is expected to be built by 2021 and fully operational by 2022.

EllisDon, Stantec and Turner and Townsend are the contractor partners building the airport’s CORE project, which includes the geoexchange system, the new parkade and the Central Utilities Building.


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