Energy Efficiency Solutions | VEC NEU

Challenge Synopsis:

In Vancouver, buildings are the largest source of carbon pollution with nearly 55% of community greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions coming from burning natural gas for space heating and hot water. To reduce these emissions, the Neighbourhood Energy Utility (NEU) plans to transition from 70% renewable energy to 100% renewable energy by 2030. As part of this goal, the City is seeking new technologies and energy efficiency solutions pertaining to demand-side energy management and operational efficiency.



The NEU is a City-owned district energy system. It was established in 2010 to provide cost-effective, low-carbon space heating and domestic hot water to buildings in Vancouver’s False Creek area. The core of the NEU is situated in a dense and mixed-use urban environment, servicing a total of 38 buildings, including residential, commercial and institutional space. The system is rapidly expanding and projected to triple in size over the next 20 years.

A significant challenge in the operation of a thermal utility is the large variation in system demand driven by daily and season peak demands. The NEU’s daily peak is observed between 7-8:30am, coinciding with when people wake-up, turn on their heating and take showers. As the temperature decreases in the winter months a seasonal peak is observed driven by space heating demand.

The NEU currently aims to provide its customers with a 70 percent renewable energy supply, from a combination of its innovative sewage waste heat recovery system, clean electricity, and renewable natural gas.

Under the Climate Emergency Action Plan, the NEU has committed to developing a roadmap that will set the course to support its transition to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030 (the “100% RE Roadmap”). The 100% RE Roadmap will be brought forward to City Council for approval in 2023.

Please review the NEU Supporting Technical Information link for further information on load demand, peak load requirements, current service area and available infrastructure.


Response Criteria:

  • Proponents must discuss how the solution can integrate with the existing NEU system (please review the supporting technical information to understand the current system).
  • Proponents should explain their on-going servicing, maintenance and site-support model, including costs, where applicable.
  • Please explain how the solution will reduce emissions and help the NEU achieve its goal of 100% renewable energy by 2030.
  • Provide an overview of the CAPEX of the solution, as well as payback period or ROI.
  • The City of Vancouver is targeting companies with solutions that land TRL 6-9 on the technology readiness scale (TRL), although it will consider lower TRL solutions on a demonstration basis if they are especially novel.
  • Proponents must explain how their solutions meets safety and regulatory standards.
  • If applicable, proponents should discuss “smart” technology components of the solution (i.e., real-time data asset monitoring, internet of things [IoT], data management, ownership and protection, etc.).

Eligible EU companies can apply to the targeted challenge using the Project Greenlight application portal:

The Opportunity:

  • If chosen, conduct a demonstration project of the solution with the NEU.
  • Meet new customers and access new markets.

About City of Vancouver:

Vancouver is the third largest metropolitan region in Canada and has the 3rd largest Port in North America. Vancouver as a major infrastructure owner, manages $25 billion of capital assets encompassing facilities, parks, street and underground infrastructure. Since 2011, the City has adopted a service-based capital planning framework to drive accountability, enhance transparency, and enhance a more holistic, city-wide approach to long-term capital investment decision making.

***Only non-confidential information should be included in your response ***