The Ironstone is a 16-storey, 210-unit mid-rise that broke ground last month in Burlington’s developing uptown core near Upper Middle Road and Appleby Line. The architectural firm Raw Design created a LEED silver standard building by including geothermal energy, low flow plumbing fixtures, and green roofs. The developer Davies Smith Developments took an innovative approach on implementing a geothermal heating and cooling system into the development.

Geothermal Energy at Ironstone condos, Burlington, by Davies Smith DevelopmentsGeothermal Pipes under the Ironstone, image courtesy of Davies Smith Developments

Davies Smith Developments partnered with GeoXperts Energy to implement a business model that is a win-win for all parties involved with the Ironstone building. The high capital costs of drilling, that a geothermal system requires, is taken on by GeoXperts.  In return a long term contract with the developer and soon to be condo owners/corporation is created that provides fixed payments to GeoXperts for the geothermal energy over the course of several years.  

The residents win by having very predictable energy costs for several years.  They also use “green” energy for most of their heating and cooling.  The geothermal system brings water to each unit at a constant temperatire of around 11’C.  Each resident then has their own thermostat to further heat or cool their unit.  Heating or cooling from 11’C is 30%-40% more efficient than doing the same from -20’C or +30’C.  

GeoXperts wins by getting a steady flow of income to pay off the initial capital expenditure and maintain the system.  GeoXperts improves their profit margins by finding ways to lower installation costs and maximize the efficiency of the systems.  Davies Smith Developments wins by geting an efficient heating and cooling system installed without outlaying the huge capital expenditures they require.

The Ironstone Development has shown that subdividing the infrastructure costs of geothermal among several owners over several years makes this environmentally friendly option practical to finance.

Ironstone condo's green roof-terrace, Burlington, by Davies Smith DevelopmentsThe Ironstone's green roof-terrace, image courtesy of Davies Smith Developments

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