Burnaby Campus Biomass Facility Celebrates 2nd Year Anniversary After Smashing Renewable Energy Records

January 10, 2023

Having forgone in-person milestone celebrations like our grand opening and first anniversary during the pandemic, the Burnaby Mountain District Energy Utility (BMDEU), a collaboration between Simon Fraser University (SFU), SFU Community Trust and Corix Utilities, finally celebrated our second anniversary this past October alongside 35 plus consulting, trade and contracting companies who contributed to the creation of the project.

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction as a goal

“I think it’s important to emphasize just how much the biomass energy centre aligns and contributes to SFU’s sustainability and our mutual goals of making a difference when it comes to GHG emissions reductions,”  says Todd Gattinger, director of maintenance and operations at Facilities Services on the collaboration with Corix Utilities and building the biomass energy centre.

So far, things are looking good. The biomass energy centre has reduced SFU’s Burnaby campus carbon footprint by 85 per cent (or 11,600 tCO2e annually).

With the help of the biomass energy centre, SFU has exceeded its provincially-mandated goal - a 40 per cent reduction of GHG emissions by 2025 – years ahead of schedule. 

Read more about how we exceeded this goal.

How it started

Located on 8500 South Campus Road, the BMDEU has been providing heat and hot water to both Burnaby campus and UniverCity for over two years.

When a biomass energy centre was envisioned for Burnaby Mountain, SFU was immediately interested in improving our district energy utility system by adding this renewable carbon neutral energy source. 

This huge undertaking started with a feasibility study for a thermal energy solution for SFU and UniverCity in 2009, resulting in the Biomass Thermal Energy Project agreement formed between Corix Utilities and SFU in 2017.

With the formal agreement signed, design and construction proceeded with the first flame lit in October 2020.

Learn more about how the BMDEU diverts wood waste from landfills to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our FAQs.

Building greener buildings

One of the ways SFU reduces emissions is being smarter with construction projects on campus. With the Applied Sciences Building’s recent renewal, the existing boiler remains as a backup. Now the entire building is serviced by the biomass energy centre and runs on renewable energy.

Learn more about the many ways SFU is reducing emissions in our 2021 Climate Change Accountability Report.