Creative Energy

Neighbourhood Energy

Switching to alternative fuels will cut greenhouse gas emissions by more than 80,000 tonnes


What is neighbourhood energy?

Neighbourhood energy, also known as district energy, means that one plant delivers heat and hot water through a network of pipes to a few buildings, such as a university campus or hospital, or an entire neighbourhood. By adding smaller plants, or community energy hubs, to the network it’s possible to service an entire city.

Neighbourhood energy is an ancient platform that dates back to Roman times. Incredibly reliable, it’s also an increasingly important pillar of the sustainability efforts of many cities today, and has an important role to play in cities of the future.

Why do we need neighbourhood energy now?

of the worlds population will live in cities by 2030

of Canadians living in cities

in Canada’s four largest cities

We are in the middle of the largest human migration in history as millions of people around the world move to cities. Today, over 80% of Canadians live in cities. By 2030, 60% of the world’s population will live in cities.

As well as this rapid population growth, other challenges facing cities include aging infrastructure, climate change and energy instability. This makes it more important than ever that essential infrastructure, such as energy systems, is as resilient as possible to handle whatever the future holds.

What are the benefits?

Neighbourhood energy is an important tool for transforming our energy infrastructure and making cities more sustainable. It means lower risk and less maintenance for individual buildings, making the city’s energy infrastructure as a whole more reliable and resilient.

Every individual boiler stack increases greenhouse gas emissions, and each building controls what is emitted through them. With neighbourhood energy, power engineers work 24/7 to ensure the system runs as efficiently as possible, and the systems are flexible enough to use a variety of alternative, renewable and locally sourced fuels.


In a dense downtown neighbourhood of 200 buildings, a neighbourhood energy system means one central ‘boiler’ instead of 200 individual boilers.