Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Posted: 06/24/2013 1:00 AM | Comments: 0
Last Modified: 06/24/2013 8:02 AM | Updates
Manitoba is the geothermal capital of Canada, installing the energy-saving heating and cooling systems at nearly three times the national per capita average, according to the manager of the province's geothermal program.
"We're leaders in adoption rates and have been for a while," Robert Walger said in a recent interview. "We're out-punching our weight by more than a factor of three."
Geothermal systems take heat from the ground -- below the frost line, where the temperature remains relatively constant -- and carry it through a network of pipes to heat a building. The process can also be reversed to cool the building. While geothermal systems are more expensive to install than conventional heating and cooling systems, they pay for themselves through energy savings in about eight years.
According to the Department of Innovation, Energy and Mines, which oversees the province's geothermal program, more than 11,000 geothermal-pump units have been installed to date in Manitoba.
Walger said homeowners in southwestern Manitoba were the first to adopt the technology in a meaningful way in the early 1990s. But now the systems are being installed in almost every type of building imaginable, including private homes, apartment and condominium complexes, schools, retail shopping centres, office buildings and industrial plants.
"Hutterite colonies are also great adopters of geothermal," he added.
Walger has several theories for why Manitoba builders and developers are adopting geothermal technology at a faster pace than many of their provincial counterparts.
Manitobans have a reputation for being very value-conscious, "and I think it (the savings that can be achieved) speaks to their sense of value," he said.
"We're also very attuned to managing our expenses, and heating is a major expense," he added, noting Manitoba also has some of the most energy-efficient homes in the country.
One of the latest commercial developments to join the geothermal party in Manitoba is the Stanley Business Centre, located off Highway 3 between Winkler and Morden. All three office buildings in the $10-million centre, which celebrated its official opening last week, are heated and cooled simultaneously by a central, or district, geothermal system.
Walger said although there are other office buildings in the province that are heated and cooled by a geothermal system -- Manitoba Hydro's downtown corporate headquarters is one of the better-known examples -- the Stanley Business Centre is the first where a central system has been used to heat and cool more than one office building at the same time.
"It (sharing a central system) is more difficult to do because it takes a lot of co-operation," Walger said. "But the upside is that... it allows them to achieve greater efficiencies and therefore greater savings."
How much greater? Walger said the operating costs are about half what they would have been if they'd installed a separate system for each building.
Reducing operating expenses was one of the reasons the centre's three tenants -- the Rural Municipality of Stanley, the corporate headquarters of Access Credit and BDO Canada -- opted for a geothermal system rather than a conventional solution. But it wasn't the main reason.
"It was very important for us to go with a green solution. We didn't want to use conventional fossil fuels," said the project's manager, Hank Hildebrand. "And it was a collective decision between all three entities."
He said the business centre was built with the help of a $76,000 provincial grant issued under the Manitoba Geothermal Energy Incentive Program, and $74,000 in provincial Green Energy Equipment Tax Credits.
The province says more than 1,000 homes and businesses have received more than $3 million in grants and tax credits since the incentive program was launched in 2009.
Know of any newsworthy or interesting trends or developments in the local office, retail or industrial real estate sectors? Let real estate reporter Murray McNeill know at the email address below, or at 204-697-7254.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 24, 2013 B5
Updated on Monday, June 24, 2013 at 6:55 AM CDT: replaces photo
8:02 AM: adds fact box
Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories? Please use the form below and let us know.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
New stock exchange aims for fairer trading
NATO to hold major cyber defence drill in Estonia
Housing market healthy despite listings influx, experts say
Olympic athlete pushes for pot gold
Mac & cheese colour to be all real
Newspaper lawsuit against Palin stalled over confidentiality
Police cite Megabus driver for speeding in Indiana crash
Lawmakers stand by New York Senate leader amid federal probe
Most actively traded companies on the TSX
Yahoo's 1Q shows company remains mired in revenue rut
Amgen tops Street 1Q forecasts
Chipotle profit rises but sales growth slower than expected
Amgen tops estimates with 51 per cent spike in 1Q profit
Tories barely balance election budget 2015
How the Dow Jones industrial average fared Tuesday
Perrigo rejects $29B offer from generic drugmaker Mylan
Sales at Taco Bell, KFC help Yum top 1Q profit forecast
Yahoo misses Street 1Q forecasts
Discover 1Q profit drops but beats Wall Street estimate
Budget targets big thinkers, small business
Feds: Firm dropped part for SC nuclear plant, covered it up
Highlights of the 2015 federal budget
Green Tree to pay $63M to settle loan servicing allegations
Rogers CEO says he's fixing customer service
Vegas welcome sign's designer never liked look of 'fabulous'
Nielsen's top programs for April 13-19
Grain mostly lower, livestock higher
Country awards help CBS dominate ratings
Commercial National Declares $1.00 Per Share Special Dividend
US intervenes in whistleblower cases against nursing homes
Patients struggling to legally access pot: study
Cruise wows CinemaCon with look at 'Mission' stunts
US Treasury freezes assets of Japanese yakuza
FDA: Safety problems prompted review of homeopathic remedies
ICE targets 700 Miami firms for money laundering scrutiny
Teva offers to buy Mylan in $40.1B cash-and-stock deal
The top iPhone and iPad apps on App Store
Futures trader charged for alleged role in 'Flash Crash'
Local anti-microbial technology company wins San Francisco office, opportunity
Nissan launches production of redesigned Maxima sedan