Canadian Consulting Engineer

Simon Fraser U building biomass district heating plant

October 11, 2017

The new plant will reduce greenhouse gas emissions at SFU Burnaby’s campus and UniverCity by 85%.


Rendering of the proposed biomass facility (source:

Simon Fraser University (SFU) and SFU Community Trust are collaborating with Corix Multi-Utility Services Inc. , on a $33-million community-based biomass project called the Burnaby Mountain District Energy Utility (BMDEU).

The project, approved by the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC), involves a high-efficiency heating plant using biomass as the primary fuel source.

“The BMDEU is the fulfillment of a vision for a high-efficiency biomass heating plant that began with UniverCity’s original Neighbourhood Utility Service in 2011 providing reliable, cost-effective, low-carbon thermal energy service to residents of UniverCity on Burnaby Mountain,” says Gordon Harris, president and CEO of SFU Community Trust, in a media release issued by SFU.

Situated on Burnaby Mountain in Metro Vancouver, and adjacent to SFU, UniverCity is a mixed-use community that positions itself as a model of sustainable living.


Currently, the community’s energy needs are being met by two small Temporary Energy Centres (TECs), installed in 2012 and 2016, that use high-efficiency condensing natural gas boilers.

This biomass plant will start serving SFU as well as UniverCity residents with green energy in 2019.

According to the release, the new plant will reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions at SFU Burnaby’s campus and UniverCity by 85%, and the entire, region-wide SFU GHG emissions from all sources by 69%.

“The development of this biomass heating plant will allow SFU to surpass the provincial mandated greenhouse gas reduction target for 2020,” says Larry Waddell, SFU’s chief facilities officer, in the release. “It would also put SFU on the path to achieving the 2050 reduction target and make SFU public sector lead in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”



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