Drilling begins for Minto Communities GTA and Creative Energy’s geo-exchange community energy system, the first step in bringing low-carbon energy to Oakvillage’s master-planned development
Serving the North Oak towers as part of the larger 38-hectare Oakvillage community, this new geo-exchange community energy system is one of the first of its kind in the GTA and will reduce fossil fuel use for space heating and cooling by up to 95%
Oakville, ON (March 28, 2022) – Today, Minto Communities GTA and Creative Energy, broke ground on one of the GTA’s first geo-exchange community energy systems for the North Oak towers located at Dundas St. E and Trafalgar Rd. by commencing the drilling process of 800 ft. deep vertical closed-loop boreholes. Through Minto Communities GTA and Creative Energy’s partnership, the system will connect various geo-exchange fields through an ambient temperature distribution network, enabling the different buildings to share energy with one another, and to use the earth as the source of low-carbon space heating and cooling for the buildings to reduce the use of fossil fuels by up to 95%. In addition to the significant decrease in fossil fuel usage, the geo-exchange system will protect residents from rising utility and energy costs while enhancing their comfort levels.
From left to right: Diego Mandelbaum, VP of Development, Creative Energy, Krishnan Iyer, President and CEO, Creative Energy, Mayor of Oakville Rob Burton, Ward 7 Regional and Town Councillor Pavan Parmar, Carl Pawlowski, Project Manager, Sustainability, Minto Communities GTA, Mike LaPlante, Vice President of Land Development, Minto Communities GTA.
Geo-exchange works by allowing the earth beneath the buildings to act as a thermal battery. In the winter, when buildings need heating, heat is removed from the earth and used by the buildings avoiding the need to burn natural gas. In the summer, when the buildings need cooling, heat is removed from the buildings and put back into the earth, avoiding the need to run a cooling tower which consumes both potable water and electricity. The heat is moved into and out of the earth by heat pumps, and the geo-exchange system connected to the heat pumps acts as a heat exchanger with the earth. This drilling marks the beginning of what will eventually be hundreds of underground boreholes beneath the footprint of each building, which circulate water as the heat exchange medium.
“Today, we are proud to be commencing work on the geo-exchange system at our North Oak towers, after years of research and planning,” says Mike LaPlante, Vice President of Land Development, Minto Communities GTA. “Sustainability has always been a core tenet of our work and we pledge to continue to push the needle on sustainable infrastructure and implementing innovative technologies that benefit homeowners, our communities, and our world. This is an important step in significantly reducing carbon emissions, protecting future residents from rising energy costs, and supporting the Town of Oakville’s Community Energy Strategy.”
“In 2019, the Town of Oakville declared a climate emergency and established community-wide targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2041. This initiative is a great example of the joint effort needed – between Town staff and Council, businesses, and residents – towards a sustainable energy transition and a more livable future,” says Oakville Mayor Rob Burton.
“Protecting our natural environment will require progressive developers to not only meet sustainability quotas, but to surpass them,” says Krishnan Iyer, President and Chief Executive Officer, Creative Energy. “We are proud to partner with Minto Communities GTA in bringing low carbon heating and cooling to the new North Oak development, implementing an innovative geo-exchange community energy system.”
“Ensuring new construction is delivered to the highest energy standards is essential to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The geo-exchange system that Minto’s North Oak is deploying is exactly the kind of solution that will help Oakville achieve its Community Energy Strategy goals. We hope systems like these become a standard across all of Oakville’s new developments,” says John Matthiesen, Chair, Future Energy Oakville.
The geo-exchange system at North Oak represents one of the first community energy systems for Minto Communities GTA as they continue to explore solutions to reduce carbon emissions, having launched Net Zero Energy upgrades for select single-family homes in some low-rise communities, including The Heights of Harmony and Union Village last year. Committed deeply to sustainability and integrating wellness throughout their projects, North Oak’s towers have a series of features incorporated in the design to support the health and well-being of residents. These features include:
Targeting ENERGY STAR® Multifamily High-Rise Certification. Performance-tested efficiency and third-party verified inspections ensures the building is at least 15% more efficient than building code
Energy recovery ventilators, a fresh air system for suites that provide fresh, filtered outdoor air directly into the unit
Compartmentalized suites which significantly reduce air transfer between units, verified through third party testing
Enhanced air filtration system in all common and amenity areas, reducing airborne pollutants, volatile organic compounds, odors and pollen
Individual enhanced water filtration under every kitchen sink
In-suite, 3-stream under counter kitchen waste sorting station
Alongside Minto Communities GTA’s commitment to pursuing the best in sustainability, the community builder has also sought innovative partnerships and emerging thought-leaders to explore new ideas and solutions. To this effect, Minto Communities GTA participated in the Canadian Circular Economy Hackathon in partnership with the Town of Oakville and the Nordic Trade Promotion Organizers in Canada to explore sustainable solutions that could be applied to phase 4 of Oakvillage. Winning team Melt Collective was selected by a panel of judges including the Town of Oakville and the Vancouver Economic Commission for their holistic vision of the community.
North Oak phase 4A launched in March 2021, with the launch of phase 4B following in July 2021. Once complete, they will be part of a 5-tower block in the 38-hectare master-planned community which offered a mix of traditional, back-to-back and rear lane townhomes and condos, connections to green space, including a scenic 1.5 km multi-use trail woven throughout the site and connections to retail, restaurants, public transit, and major highways including highway 407, 403, and QEW. The community is currently under construction with completion slated for 2027, and a new tower launch planned for the summer. To register for future phases of Oakvillage, visit: www.minto.com
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About Minto Communities
Minto Communities is a family-owned, fully integrated real estate development, construction and management company with operations in Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary, South Carolina and Florida, and has been instrumental in the design and construction of more than 90,000 homes.
An industry leader for 65 years, Minto Communities is known for high-quality and sustainable urban developments. A testament to its outstanding leadership, Minto Communities has been recognized by Durham Region Home Builders' Association as Green Builder of The Year, EnerQuality Ontario Green Builder of the Year and more.
About Creative Energy
Based in Vancouver, Creative Energy operates one of the largest district energy systems in North America, maintaining a 99.99% reliability record for over 50 years. Creative Energy is committed to facilitating significant reductions in the GHG emissions of the cities where they operate. With a mission to decarbonize the built environment, they are currently developing 15 new energy systems in Ontario, British Columbia, and Washington State. In Vancouver, Creative Energy is undertaking a significant redevelopment of their original downtown Vancouver plant, one of the largest fuel switch projects in North America. To learn more: https://creative.energy/