What is a District Energy Sharing System (DESS)?

The DESS is a high efficiency energy delivery system that replaces traditional furnaces, air conditioners and boilers in homes and buildings. This centralized system distributes and shares heating and cooling energy between buildings throughout the entire neighbourhood.

The first stage of the District Energy Sharing System uses a geoexchange field as its main renewable energy source. Geoexchange harnesses the shallow geothermal energy below the earth’s surface. In the winter, a geoexchange system draws heat from the ground for heating, and in the summer, it uses the ground to reject excess heat to provide cooling.

The DESS is a highly flexible system, capable of incorporating the latest innovations in renewable energy technology.

Proven Technology

District energy systems are operated all over the world, including right in our own backyard! In Edmonton, the University of Alberta owns and operates a district energy system to serve their greater campus area. In Canada, a number of other cities, towns and neighbourhoods are using district energy sharing systems, including Whistler, Vancouver, Richmond, Langford and Surrey in British Columbia, as well as Toronto, Ontario. If we look even further to Europe, cities like Copenhagen have historically built systems where over 90% of the buildings are connected to a district energy system.

Green Infrastructure

A best of both world’s approach has been taken in designing the Blatchford landscape. The landscaping will be both beautiful and environmentally smart.


A combination of low impact development design features such as bioswales, rain gardens and stormwater ponds will slow down and capture water runoff in Blatchford, and will improve the water quality before it enters the drainage system. Many of these areas will also provide micro-habitats where plants, trees and birds can thrive, adding more green space and biodiversity.


Elements like treed boulevards, edible landscaping and ornamental plantings will be incorporated in Blatchford. Parks and open spaces will be landscaped primarily with native, drought-resistant species and community gardens will be watered using rainwater collected in cisterns. For even more amenity space within the neighbourhood, building roofs and terraces may be used for communal or private patios, decks and gardens.


Blatchford recognizes the important role food and urban agriculture will play in the community — not only increasing sustainability, but for also increasing your quality of life. Community gardens, fruit tree orchards and edible landscaping will be located throughout the neighbourhood.


Biodiversity is an integral part of Blatchford’s design. Naturalized landscapes (wetlands, bioswales), a variety of tree species, and native plantings will be integrated into the neighbourhood.

Green Buildings

Blatchford homes will be some of the greenest in Canada. Right from the very start builders will be required to have a comprehensive recycling program during building construction to reduce the amount of materials going to the landfill.

To decrease the amount of energy needed to run a home, builders will be required to build energy-efficient homes that exceed the current building code. Homes will have features like increased insulation, smart room thermostats, energy- and water-efficient appliances, low-flow fixtures, high-quality windows, and a tighter building envelope to reduce heat loss.

For homeowners, this means less energy and water usage, healthier indoor air quality, more durable construction, and contributing to more life across our planet.