Ottawa’s first carbon neutral community is here

What happens when you use a network of hot and cold water pipes, bury them underground, and then use them to efficiently heat and cool buildings – or even whole communities? You get something called district energy. 

Earlier this month, Hydro Ottawa joined our partners, Zibi Canada and Kruger Products, in launching the region’s first central district energy system known as the Zibi Community Utility. A first in North America for post-industrial waste recovery to be used in a master-planned community, the utility will meet the energy needs of this unique community without the use of fossil fuels. With Hydro Ottawa’s commitment to sustainability and net-zero operations by 2030 goal, Zibi will help guide the way for not only our community but it will hopefully provide a greener roadmap for others, as well.

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What is Zibi?

The rushing water of nearby Chaudiere Falls, astounding rooftop views, and clean, renewable energy. The doors have officially opened at Zibi.

This 34-acre waterfront community straddling the interprovincial border of Ontario and Quebec will be one of Canada’s most sustainable communities, providing net-zero carbon heating and cooling to four million square feet of residential and commercial buildings where thousands will live, work and play.

Zibi brings living, shopping, restaurants, and more together to create a diverse district that is full of both new and sentimental characteristics - all in the shadow of our historic Parliament. The new? Its source of zero-carbon-emission energy. 

How does the system work?

When completed, the space at Zibi will be interconnected through a hydronic loop that will deliver heating and cooling energy. Low-grade heat from effluents will be recovered from the end of the tissue-making process from the neighbouring Kruger Products’ Gatineau tissue plant and injected into the new Zibi Community Utility central energy plant. In the summer, heat will be rejected through chillers into the Ottawa River to efficiently produce chilled water to cool the buildings. Currently, the Zibi Community Utility plant, located on the lower level of a residential building on the Gatineau side, is visible to allow everyone to see the operations and learn about the innovative technology. 

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How is Hydro Ottawa involved?

Hydro Ottawa is the district energy system operator. Through this equal partnership with Zibi, Hydro Ottawa will provide more than 100 years of trusted utility experience, a century of renewable energy expertise, and will work to integrate innovative clean energy solutions into the Zibi project in support of the group’s One Planet Action Plan, which focuses on zero-carbon and zero-waste development, among other sustainable benefits. 

“The launch of the Zibi Community Utility represents a significant turning point in our history,” says Bryce Conrad, President and CEO of Hydro Ottawa. “Our legacy will be defined by every decision we make and every step we take to help our customers and our community achieve a sustainable energy future. This project not only showcases the innovation possible within the energy sector, but how we can all adapt our businesses, products and strategies for a better and healthier planet with zero-carbon, zero-waste and net-zero operations.” Investing in partnerships and innovative solutions that will help our customers and our community meet their energy needs more sustainably is something Hydro Ottawa wholeheartedly supports. In addition to providing safe and reliable power to our National Capital Region, we are focused on accelerating and achieving community sustainability goals, including our own goal to be net zero by 2030.

Plan your visit!

With summer just around the corner, take a stroll to visit this up and coming new waterfront community. Centrally located, Zibi expands across both downtown Ottawa and Hull. With its many parks, walking trails, and sights to see, it is the perfect place to explore our city, have a picnic, or take a bike ride.  

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