Toronto hospital introduces innovative system to heat and cool its buildings using wastewater

Toronto Western Hospital will soon be home to world’s largest raw wastewater energy transfer systems. Faiza Amin reports on the significant impacts the project will have on the environment.

By Faiza Amin

In what’s being called a groundbreaking innovation, a Toronto hospital, along with its partners, have found an environmentally friendly way to heat and cool its buildings that will significantly reduce its carbon emissions.

Noventa Energy Partners and the City Of Toronto teamed up with Toronto Western Hospital, part of the University Health network, to develop the project that uses thermal energy from wastewater flowing to provide 90 per cent of the heating and cooling for the buildings.

The project was announced last year with the goal of also helping the region meet its climate change commitments. In the next 30 years, there could be a cumulative reduction of 250,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.

“We’re going to be drilling a hole here that’s 35 feet wide, 165 feet deep, and five feet beyond the Midtown sewer. The energy transfer between the wastewater and the heat pumps, from that building, clean water, hot water and chilled water which will be supplied to the hospital without any carbon emissions,” said CEO of Noventa, Dennis Fotinos

The WET system will take energy from the wastewater in the sewer and use that to provide heating and cooling to buildings.

“It’s actually absolutely astonishing, the impact this project is going to have on the city and this is the first of many. And so, on that note it’s the first of many because we have the support of the city,” added Fotinos.

“Fewer people will need to be admitted to hospitals, including University Health Network, because of projects like these. Climate change is likely the number one threat to well-being of society and human beings to planet,” said Dr. Kevin Smith, the CEO of UHN.

“Toronto needs to be that beacon, that destination of best in the world, whether that’s in science and medicine, or civic government or civil society. Exactly what’s happening here will help us contribute to that”

Toronto Mayor John Tory, who was on hand as shovels went into the ground Monday morning, said there are many opportunities to replicate this project elsewhere in the city, adding it’s a win-win all around.

“This is a pioneer project of its kind at scale,” said Tory. “The hospital wins in terms of what the savings will be and other benefits for them over time. The City of Toronto wins in the context of its environmental goals and the overall state of the city’s environment. And so I’m very proud of this.”

Noventa says there are several similar projects with other public institutions, including hospitals and universities, currently being negotiated. Those are expected to be announced sometime in the near future.

With files from Meredith Bond

Top Stories

Top Stories

Most Watched Today