Going green in Squamish, BC.

The rise of geothermal energy in homes.

Date26.09.2023
Words byREW Editor
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Introduction
Nestled amidst the breathtaking landscapes of Howe Sound and the surrounding mountains, University Heights in Squamish stands as a testament to what modern, eco-friendly living can look like.

This picturesque neighbourhood was first developed roughly 15 years ago. Families here are surrounded by nature trails, the serene Squamish River and captivating views of Sky Pilot Mountain and the Stawamus Chief. But what truly sets University Heights apart is its commitment to sustainable living, prominently highlighted by its adoption of geothermal energy.

By utilizing the earth’s constant soil temperatures, geothermal energy is used as a low-carbon heating and cooling system that circulates fluid through an underground system of pipes to transfer heat from the earth into homes (and vice versa). It’s cost-effective, clean energy - and it’s in high demand right now.

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The grass is greener in Squamish.

Squamish is growing quickly, and the green lifestyle is a big part of that. Between the last two census periods, the population has risen 26%, making Squamish the fourth fastest-growing BC subdivision with over 5,000 people.

The commitment to eco-friendly living is evident in the new developments sprouting across the town. Diamond Head Development, for instance, has recently announced its partnership with Terrasource to infuse geothermal energy into its upcoming community projects. Phase 1 and 2 of the Finch Drive development are set to benefit from this sustainable energy source, marking a significant step towards a greener future in BC.

Dollars and sense.

In an era where the cost of living is skyrocketing, every penny saved counts. Adopting geothermal energy is not just an environmentally conscious decision but also a financially prudent one. Residents of University Heights have experienced firsthand the savings on their Hydro bills, thanks to eco-friendly geothermal heat pumps with heat recovery ventilation for energy-efficient climate control. As homeowners and businesses tap into this green energy, they stand to save substantially on electricity bills, making geothermal systems a worthy investment in the long run. According to BC Hydro, a geothermal heat pump system is 300% more energy efficient than baseboard heating, and 50% more efficient than a window air conditioning unit.

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A breath of fresh air.

But is geothermal energy truly better for our planet? The answer is a resounding yes.

Unlike conventional energy sources that rely heavily on fossil fuels, geothermal energy harnesses the earth's innate thermal power. This means minimal carbon emissions and a significantly reduced environmental footprint. Natural Resources Canada even posits that if 100,000 homes made the switch from traditional heating and cooling systems to geo-exchange systems, the country could see a reduction of 400,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. It's a step towards a cleaner, greener future.

BC's growing geothermal communities.

Squamish isn't the only community in BC catching the geothermal wave. Across the province, more neighbourhoods are recognizing the myriad benefits of this renewable energy source. Richmond has seen many homes built that employ geo-exchange systems, right across the city from Sea Island to Steveston. And it’s not just single detached homes - those in the industry say that growth in the geothermal systems market is also being driven by condos.

Terrasource, a BC-based geothermal utility provider, is at the forefront of this movement, offering an integrated design/build process that emphasizes reducing fossil fuel dependency. Their mission resonates with consumers who are actively seeking homes that prioritize earth-friendly, sustainable solutions without compromising on quality.

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Image captured from: terrasource.ca

Gassing out.

The winds of change are blowing in British Columbia, with Squamish leading the charge in championing geothermal energy for homes. As communities like University Heights and upcoming projects like Finch Drive by Diamond Head Development embrace this sustainable energy source, they're setting a precedent for the rest of the province. Geothermal energy is more than just a trend; it's a testament to BC's commitment to a sustainable future, where the environment and economy coexist in harmony.

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