How a green energy system could benefit downtown Sydney

International specialists in green energy are working with the Cape Breton Regional Municipality to find new ways to heat buildings in Sydney's downtown.

'It would be cheaper than what we are doing now'

This artist's rendition shows some of the Sydney area that could benefit from green energy. (submitted by Efficiency Nova Scotia)

Experts in green energy heating are meeting with the Cape Breton Regional Municipality this week to discuss the potential for a district system for downtown Sydney, N.S.

"It would be cheaper than what we are doing now and is particularly beneficial to Sydney where there is no natural gas available," said David Brushett, a manager with Efficiency Nova Scotia.

Efficiency Nova Scotia is partnering with CBRM, along with Enwave Energy Corporation, a North American leader in sustainable energy services.

Enwave generally operates in larger municipalities, said Brushett. "So it is very exciting and innovative." 

Sydney's downtown district sees new life

A $7.5M redesign is in the works for downtown Sydney

He said the cheaper heat would be great for revitalizing the downtown and encouraging future development.

Options include geothermal heat from water in the harbour, recovering heat from sewage and using bio-gas from the waste treatment plant to produce heat.

Centre 200 is one of the buildings that could be heated using green technology. (Joan Weeks/ CBC)

Brushett said an exchange system could recover heat from a sewage main near Centre 200. It could be used to heat water for buildings.

A similar system using underwater pipes could extract heat from the harbour. As well, bio-gas from the waste water treatment plant could be put to use.

Halifax already using geothermal

There are already a number of buildings in Halifax using the harbour as a source of heat, including Purdy's Wharf and Nova Scotia Power's headquarters.

Brushett said a study will be completed by the end of the summer. At that point, Enwave will decide if it wants to build and operate a system.

"So the cost will be completely paid for by the private company," he said.

Downtown building owners could then decide whether to convert their heating systems and buy from Enwave.

with files from Information Morning Cape Breton