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Toronto Loft Conversions

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Unique Toronto Homes

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Condos in Toronto

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Toronto Real Estate

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Tag Archives: renewable

A Unique Use of Lake Ontario

Condominium building benefits from eco power

By Sherry Noik-Bent, National Post

Located at Front Street and Blue Jays Way, Element was the first residential project to sign on to Enwave’s Deep Lake Water Cooling system (DLWC).

It’s the same system that’s already being used to cool concertgoers at the Air Canada Centre, workers at the TD Centre and shoppers at The Bay store on Queen Street, three of the dozen buildings currently hooked up. Another 28 buildings — Queen’s Park among them — are slated to connect by year’s end, and ano-ther four by 2008.

“I don’t know if it’s environmental consciousness or people are afraid that electricity prices are going to go up,” says Enwave president and CEO Dennis Fotinos, “but there’s this huge bandwagon effect.”

DLWC is the largest system of its kind in the world, capable of servicing a large swath of downtown Toronto. Three massive pipes extend 83 metres below the surface of Lake Ontario and extract water from its frigid depths, where the temperature is a consistent 4 C. By way of an energy-transfer station, cold-air energy is extracted and distributed to Enwave’s customers for air conditioning, while the clean, drinkable water continues on its way into the municipal supply.

It’s an exceptionally clean, green solution for an urban jungle like Toronto, where most citizens feel the lake is only good for boating, fireworks-watching and, if you’re brave, swimming.

The DLWC makes use of a renewable resource, is CFC-free, and requires 90% less electricity to operate than conventional condo cooling equipment, resulting in significantly fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

“If you’re talking about living green, you have to talk about it in the macro perspective,” says Tridel’s environmental consultant, Jamie James. “If we can create more energy-efficient homes, we can reduce urban air pollution and we can improve the province’s ability to deliver stable electricity.”

element condos - 20 blue jays way

Element Condos - 20 Blue Jays Way

Indeed, this method of cooling alone cuts Element’s energy consumption by about half a million kilowatt-hours per year. Aside from the obvious cost savings, the bonus for residents is that their heating and cooling will not be seasonal, as in typical condos, but rather available all year round. And, certainly, no one’s going to miss the extra noise, pollution and humidity a giant chiller would generate at the juncture of Toronto’s busy sports and entertainment districts.

“We’re now in an age where we have to look at building performance,” Mr. James adds, “because that also impacts quality of life in the city,”

To that end, in-suite energy-saving features, such as Energy Star appliances, further reduce consumption by 300,000 to 400,000 kilowatt-hours. Motion-triggered lighting in the underground garage will reap additional savings. The 354 units also have low-flow faucets and dual-flush toilets, which are expected to cut water use by at least one quarter.

Overall, the building will outperform national energy standards by about 25%, which qualifies Tridel for a $60,000 grant from Natural Resources Canada, under its Commercial Building Incentive Program (far less than the estimated half-million-dollar premium it cost to construct Element — a cost the company absorbed when the City turned down its request to build a few storeys higher than the planned 24). Of course, they could have just raised the prices of the suites, but Mr. James says it was important to the developer to keep them at market prices.

For its efforts, Element won the 2006 Green Toronto Award for energy conservation and was featured on the Discovery Channel’s Daily Planet program this past spring.

Now, a second condo has just announced it will tap in to DLWC. When the 70-storey Trump International Hotel and Towers is completed at Bay and Adelaide, this symbol of luxury and excess will actually be helping reduce harmful emissions by 3,224 tonnes per year and reduce energy consumption by close to three-million kilowatt-hours — an amount comparable to the electricity used by nearly 300 homes — by cooling its residences, hotel rooms, spa, business centre and restaurants with DLWC.

Mr. Fotinos, who recently returned from an industry conference in Nashville, says Toronto is seen as “a real leader” in forward thinking and environmentally friendly energy solutions. At the same time, though he lauds his clients’ efforts at being green, he isn’t sure that’s their only — or even their most important — motivation for using DLWC. “At the end of the day,” he says, “the reason they do it is because it makes economic sense.”

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Contact the Jeffrey Team for more information¬† –¬† 416-388-1960

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