Developing buildings that rely as little as possible on fossil fuels is the next big goal of the development industry. Recently, Minto Communities GTA and Creative Energy broke ground on one of the GTA’s first geo-exchange community energy systems for the North Oak towers located at Dundas Street East and Trafalgar Road in Oakville. The teams got together to commence the drilling process of 800 foot deep vertical closed-loop boreholes at the site of the project. 

The new system will connect geo-exchange fields through a temperature distribution network, enabling the different buildings to share geothermal energy with one another, using the earth as the source of low-carbon space heating and cooling, and reducing the buildings' use of fossil fuels by up to 95%. At the same time, the geo-exchange system will protect residents from rising utility and energy costs, while enhancing their comfort levels. 

From left to right: Diego Mandelbaum, VP of Development, Creative Energy, Krishnan Iyer, President and CEO, Creative Energy, Mayor of Oakville Rob Burton, Ward 7 Regional and Town Councillor Pavan Parmar, Carl Pawlowski, Project Manager, Sustainability, Minto Communities GTA, Mike LaPlante, Vice President of Land Development, Minto Communities

The geo-exchange system at North Oak represents one of the first community energy systems for Minto Communities, as they continue to explore solutions to reduce carbon emissions.

Geo-exchange works by allowing the earth beneath the buildings to act as a thermal battery. In the winter, when buildings need heating, heat is removed from the earth and used by the buildings – avoiding the need to burn natural gas. In the summer, when the buildings need cooling, heat is removed from the buildings and put back into the earth, avoiding the need to run a cooling tower which consumes both potable water and electricity.The heat is then moved into and out of the earth by heat pumps.

Today's drilling marks the beginning of what will eventually be hundreds of underground boreholes beneath the footprint of each building, which circulate water as the heat exchange medium.

North Oak, designed by BDP Quadrangle for Minto Communities in Oakville

North Oak phase 4A launched in March, 2021 with phase 4B having followed in July, 2021. Once complete, the two towers will be part of a 5-tower block in the 38-hectare master-planned Oakvillage community which will offer a mix of traditional, back-to-back, and rear lane townhomes and condos, connections to green space, including a scenic 1.5 km multi-use trail woven throughout the site and connections to retail, restaurants, public transit, and major highways including highway 407, 403, and QEW. The community is currently under construction with completion slated for 2027, and a new tower launch planned for the summer.

You can learn more from our Database file for the project, linked below. If you'd like, you can join in on the conversation in the associated Project Forum thread, or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.

* * *

UrbanToronto’s new data research service, UrbanToronto Pro, offers comprehensive information on construction projects in the Greater Toronto Area—from proposal right through to completion stages. In addition, our subscription newsletter, New Development Insider, drops in your mailbox daily to help you track projects through the planning process.

Related Companies:  BDP Quadrangle, Doka Canada Ltd./Ltee, Figure3, Minto Communities GTA, NAK Design Strategies