Opened in June 2019, the West Village District Energy Centre is the first of three district energy centres planned for Surrey’s City Centre neighbourhood. The facility is operated by Surrey City Energy, Surrey’s municipality-owned district energy system, and it supplies local, connected buildings with heat and hot water via a subterranean network of pipes.
The pipes run on a closed loop, carrying hot water to and from heat exchangers at each connected. The water is heated by boilers fuelled, in part, by natural gas produced at Surrey’s Biofuel Facility, where organic waste is turned into sustainable fuel. Additionally, through 400 boreholes, the system connects to a geothermal field 200 feet below the surface.
While most energy facilities maintain a pragmatic appearance, one of stacks, cladding, and concrete, the West Village District Energy Centre lies low, built 5 metres below grade, surrounded by trees, lawns, and picnic tables. The building’s three stacks are capped by installation art, titled Blankets, which depicts the three states of energy: stored, waiting, and in use.
The greenspace and artwork certainly help allay the centre’s otherwise industrial look, but noise from the facility’s boilers, exhaust systems, and mechanical services had potential to disrupt the area’s soundscape. Thus, a few careful acoustical treatments were necessary to ensure the building’s discreet presence in the neighbourhood.
Working with project architects, FRANCL, BKL consulted on noise and vibration for this project. The BKL team reviewed architectural and mechanical plans, and assessed the potential impacts for facility noise on nearby homes. BKL created a 3-D noise model that incorporated sound power data from the boilers, exhaust fans, air conditioning units, gas regulators, the transformer and emergency backup generator, as well as results from baseline noise measurements carried out in the area by BKL acousticians. The model considered current residences as well as future buildings.
After analyzing results from its study, BKL provided detailed recommendations to control noise from boiler exhaust stacks and ventilation intakes. The team also suggested design elements to improve acoustics in the office spaces, and upgrade the exteriors of the boiler room—including walls, windows, and the roof—and emergency backup generator room.
Moreover, BKL consulted on vibration isolation of mechanical and electrical equipment, and provided recommendations to control vibration from water pumps, boilers, and the main transformer.
By tapping into renewable sources like biofuel and geothermal heat, the West Village District Energy Centre improves energy efficiency and reduces emissions, while providing consistent, competitively priced heat and hot water to connected buildings. By constructing the centre below grade in a new park, the design team sought to limit the structure’s skyline presence. BKL’s analysis and advice helped support these efforts, and ensured the energy centre would likewise fit the neighbourhood’s acoustical environment.
West Village District Energy Centre