January 12, 2017

Olympic Park Targets High Energy Performance

An energy efficiency project is underway at the Olympic Park which will reduce operating costs by $1.3M per year and greenhouse gas emissions by 57%.

The Olympic Park’s electromechanical systems are undergoing major upgrades with the goal of dramatically reducing energy bills, eliminating energy waste, and optimizing systems so they meet real needs without overconsuming. The project is being designed and built by Ecosystem. The work will take three years, and includes four extensive upgrades: converting the heating system from steam to hot water, an upgrade of the mechanical room, optimization of the ventilation system, and installation of LED lighting.

Once the project is finished, the Olympic Park’s energy bill will decrease by 26%. The project will be self-funded by these energy savings as well as subsidies.

Greenhouse gas emissions are set to drop by 57%. This reduction—5181 metric tons of CO2 per year—is equivalent to taking 1524 compact cars off the road. Several pollutants will also be removed during the project: R-22 refrigerant, mercury, and PCBs.

Guaranteed performance

Ecosystem is responsible for all project phases, including design, implementation, and optimization. The company is providing the Olympic Park with contractual guarantees for annual savings, construction costs, and eligible subsidies. Ecosystem has strong experience managing projects with similar complexity and scale to the Olympic Park. For example, upgrades performed at the Biodôme, next to the Olympic Stadium, reduced the Biodôme’s energy bill by 52%.

Ecosystem was selected as the project partner after a public call for tenders. The selection criteria were based on the technical quality of the proposed project as well as its total value over a 20-year period.

Greater value

The time had come for an asset renewal strategy at the Olympic Park since the electromechanical infrastructure was beginning to age. Simply replacing the older equipment would not have generated any long-term value. An energy efficiency project with guaranteed performance will meet the Olympic Park’s asset renewal needs while generating substantial annual savings, in addition to simplifying operations, reducing maintenance costs, improving systems reliability, and enhancing user comfort.

A modern and efficient urban park

The Olympic Park was built for the 1976 summer Olympics and has become a quintessential feature of Montreal’s skyline. With bold architectural design by Roger Taillibert, the Olympic Park includes the world’s tallest inclined tower, as well as the stadium, sports centre, and esplanade.

With three million visitors each year, the Olympic Park is an important driver for tourism, job creation, and economic development. This modern urban park is demonstrating its environmental leadership by greatly improving its energy footprint, while also making responsible use of public funds by opting for a project with guaranteed performance.

Mechanical room upgrade (2016)

From an energy standpoint, the mechanical room is the nerve center of the Olympic Park. It’s the place where heating and cooling are produced before being delivered to different sectors. The upgrade includes replacing the chillers and cooling towers with more efficient models, leading to significant energy savings and reduced maintenance. With improved controls, this new equipment further reduces energy use by modulating to meet the building’s genuine needs. A new heat recovery system was also added, which recovers heat from the boiler stacks.

Steam to hot water conversion of the heating system (2016-2017)

Steam systems are subject to energy losses (leaks, thermal losses through the pipes), especially in large systems like the Olympic Park’s. Heating the buildings will be more efficient with the new hot water system, and the boilers will require fewer chemical treatments, which lowers costs and simplifies operations. The conversion to a hot water system also makes it possible to use heat pumps, which will recover excess heat so it can be transferred to other spaces in the building.

Ventilation system optimization and centralized controls (2016-2017)

The Olympic Park’s mechanical systems are in high demand during events with large crowds. During slower periods, some of the equipment can be off or run at lower capacity. Operating hours will be reviewed and fine-tuned to correspond with user needs, and CO2 sensors will be added in the ventilation system to modulate fresh air intake based on occupancy. These improvements will enhance overall systems performance, make it simpler to manage the building according to real needs, and improve comfort levels for visitors.

LED lighting installation (2016)

The lighting in several areas was improved by installing LEDs. This technology has a long lifespan, consumes far less energy (up to five times more efficient than the previous lighting), and offers better lighting quality that is fully adapted to the activities at the Olympic Park.

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