Projects / Energy

Île-des-Chênes innovates with district geothermal heating & cooling system

In 2011, the Town of Île-des-Chênes in the RM of Ritchot just south of Winnipeg became one of the province’s first communities to truly ‘go green’ as it proudly opened its new LEED-certified Centre TransCanada Centre, complete with geothermal district heating and cooling system.

The project began taking shape in 2008-09 after the community’s Vision Plan was completed, followed by a social and recreational needs survey which identified certain priorities for the town. Among these was a concern for the local arena’s aging ice plant, by then over 30 years old.

Everything quickly fell into place as funding was secured from the federal government (Canada’s Economic Action Plan) as well as the Province of Manitoba’s ‘Building Manitoba Fund,’ and other sources, including the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ ‘Green Municipal Fund.’

The $1.3 million project resulted in the installation of a district geothermal heating and cooling system for the new 30,000 sq. ft. community centre, the arena as well as the local fire hall. The energy field had to be large enough to service the three interconnected facilities, and so a total of 504 thermal boreholes with two lines per holes were drilled to a depth of 60 feet, equalling 60,000 feet of recirculating conduits. The construction even required the builders to tunnel under TransCanada Pipeline’s main export line of natural gas to the U.S. in order to connect the system to the fire hall.

The results of the project:

  • Extended use of the arena facility (prolonged ice season) with a 40% energy savings on an annual basis
  • Bleachers and players’ benches heated with geothermal energy
  • The space heating for the arena – four natural gas heaters were replaced with geothermal heat pumps
  • A brand new 30,000 sq. ft., LEED-certified community centre with banquet hall for up to 500 people, daycare services, etc.
  • New heating system for the fire hall

Thanks to the contribution of the various levels of government, the FCM and private donors (TransCanada Pipeline eventually acquired the naming rights for the new community centre), Île-des-Chêne’s community vision became a reality.

The project’s success received its crowning achievement the following year in 2012 as it was named a co-winner of the FCM’s Sustainable Communities Award, in the category of ‘energy.’ An FCM video of the project can be seen by clicking on the following link: