Residents at the Atrium II, located at 65 Spring Garden Ave. in Toronto’s prestigious and vibrant Willowdale neighbourhood, had long enjoyed the benefits of living in one of North Toronto’s premier condominium buildings.
Accessibility to transit and major highways? Check.
Proximity to high-end shopping and culinary destinations? Check.
Generous living spaces, luxurious shared spaces and unmatched amenities? Check, check, check.
Since its construction in 1985, the Atrium II had boasted an illustrious list of residents, including politicians, business executives and notable philanthropists. But a place within the building’s capacious confines—248 units spanning across 23 stories—came at a price. Two and three- bedroom condo units, ranging from roughly 1,500 to 1,900 square feet, sold at 1.1 million in 2017, with maintenance fees, right on the Willowdale condo average, quickly approaching $1,000 each month.
Electricity was the largest component of the condominium’s monthly cost. See in Figure 1 below how electricity prices were expected to rise.
Forecasted: Average Monthly Hydro Bill
Figure 1: Condo owners in the GTA could count on bills to double between 2017 and 2047.
Getting a lift toward savings
Figure 2: Rikos Energy quarterbacked the installation, which included the hoisting of a 14,000-kilogram container 26 storeys up
The management group and condo corporation at the Atrium II keeps its residents at top of mind, which is why in 2017, they looked to put a halt to rising energy costs by making a big change. A really big change. A 14,000-kilogram steel container-sized change.
Who could have thought that when Rikos Energy hoisted that container high above street-level and onto the roof of the Atrium II, that it would be the second-most exciting thing to happen to owners and managers in the building? They had even more reason to be excited about the weeks,
months and years that awaited them after the installation of the two generators contained within the container, which would become the source of $96,000 in total annual savings.
This one-of-a-kind project, seen during the installation process in Figure 2, marked the first time a North American domestic high-rise more than 20 stories tall had a 500-kilowatt Combined Heat and Power (CHP) unit hoisted to its roof. Since it ran for more than 8,000 hours annually, it helped the Atrium II condominium corporation to dramatically reduce its carbon footprint.
This combined heat and power system not only kept the lights on during power outages, but also kept the suites warm, by using the heat from the engines for space heating. This combination was not only capable of producing 90 percent of the building’s electrical load, but also maintains an overall 85 percent efficiency, as shown in figure 3 below. During a power outage, residents now enjoy sustained occupancy, in situations that would have once driven them from their suites.
Efficiency Achieved Through CHP
Figure 3 Combined Heat and Power units turn energy into both heat and electricity to maximize efficiency.
CHP System Performance and Financial Analysis
For full project insight to date, download the complete case study here Case Study: Combined Heat and Power System Installation at Atrium II Condominium, 65 Spring Garden Avenue, Toronto