180 Toronto buildings have abandoned energy-intensive air conditioning by pumping freezing water from the depths of Lake Ontario through pipes in the walls and floors.
What do City Hall, General Hospital, hotels, data centers and the stadium that houses the Raptors have in common in Toronto? They are "water cooled" buildings. 5 million square meters (54 million square feet) of real estate saves 90.000 megawatt hours of electricity per year. Enough energy to power 25.000 homes.
Deepfake Lake Water Cooling (DLWC), buildings cooled with water from Lake Ontario.
Toronto is the largest system of its kind on Earth. It is based on three pipes that are located nearly 6 kilometers (3,5 miles) south of the city, 85 meters (280 feet) below Lake Ontario. These pipes suck the cold water (4 ° C, 39 ° F) and pump it to a central station, which then sends it to the buildings. The hot water that comes out of the buildings reached by the system is returned to the lake to compensate for the difference, dissipating the heat it absorbs.
An ambitious project that is winning the game
At first, Toronto's DLWC system (worth around 120 million euros), built and operated by the Enwave company, struggled to find customers in the city. It took tangible results (for example a bank, Scotiabank, which saved 3 million kilowatt hours a year) to grow its adoption. And now the project is increasing in volume.
A new program (from 70 million euros) to increase capacity in the city by a further 60% testifies to the popularity of the DLWC as a low-emission cooling system. "It's a great investment", said Carlyle Coutinho, president of Enwave. "It would be difficult to continue growing commercially without increasing the base load." And he is right.
Clear as water (from Toronto)
Time is teaching us more and more of something that already seemed obvious to some. Which? If you use the unique characteristics of each territory, the energy resources are found. If the characteristics of each territory are exploited without respect, the resources run out. Trivial, right? Yet at times it seems utopia.
In Toronto the water cooling projects works. In Hong Kong for now it reaches only one building (and with sea water): it is the large HSBC headquarters, which I visited when it was still under construction.