Way back when we were developing the first towns and villages, we built them by the water. We built them by rivers so we could use the rivers for transport and fresh water, and by lakes for the fresh water and by the sea because we love the ocean.
Now it turns out that it is a very fortunate accident of history that we found that water made for such easy hauling. Early roads got muddy and it was easier to move stuff along waterways. As a result many big cities like New York City and Hong Kong and Toronto are now ideally situated to use that cold water nearby for carbon-neutral district air conditioning.
These cities now are virtually artificial cliffs, right at waters edge, right where they need to be to take advantage of a very simple concept. Cold water from the depths can be piped very efficiently up through these “cliffs” at water’s edge to cool the towers of downtown office buildings.
Canadian Company Enwave leverages this difference between the cold ocean depths and warm surface temperatures – using lake water to cool downtown Toronto office buildings.
The company’s interactive diagram gives a clear illustration of how it works. The deep water cooling system utilizes the icy-cold water of Lake Ontario. The renewable resource of the naturally chilled deep lake water makes this a carbon neutral municipal cooling technology. Just clean green energy that capitalizes on our luck in building where we did.
And is this some barely tested new technology?
Hardly. Enwave has operated this particular project for a solid twenty five years. Yet it’s one of North America’s largest district energy systems. They deliver a broad array of services like plant operations and management; engineering design and optimization; project management; consulting and peer review. Enwave provides district heating systems too.
So if a city or a Federal building or a municipal organization or hospital or university campus wanted to save money and cut carbon emissions with the PACE-funded energy efficiency program; here’s an idea that’s tried and tested!
Image: Flikr user paul (dex)