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The Humaniti project in Montréal: Pooling energy to consume less and better

January 24, 2024    3 min.

Located at the corner of Bleury Street and Viger Avenue, in the heart of Montréal’s International District, the Humaniti project is a new-generation mixed use complex with residential units, a hotel, and retail and office space. Its multiple uses demanded an innovative approach to energy management.

A living environment connected to the future

Launched and operated by COGIR Real Estate since 2020, Humaniti stands out as Montréal’s first “Smart Vertical Community” offering a fully connected smart environment. The complex is a bold architectural concept by Lemay. It boasts 3 buildings with 151 condominiums, 314 rental apartments, a prestigious Autograph Marriott Collection hotel (the first in Québec), 2 restaurants, a state-of-the-art training room, 2 rooftop pools, 2 Sky Lounges, an office building and retail spaces.

Efficiency on every floor

Determined to “push the boundaries of sustainability,” the project’s designers set very high environmental targets for the project, with LEED certification at the centre. To make this happen, they invested in a high-performance curtain-wall envelope and sound water management via efficient appliances and rainwater recovery. But perhaps most importantly, they also installed a mixed water loop system connected to heat pumps to optimize energy efficiency throughout the complex.

Vertical synergy

Using thermal power generation and Cooling tower equipped with a chiller, the system recovers heat and cold from the heat pumps to reduce the complex’s energy needs – and its carbon emissions as a result.

“It’s an energy loop, but vertical. When the loop needs to be heated, the thermal power plant provides the heat; when it needs to be cooled, the heat is sent back to the Cooling tower and chiller,” explains Martin Brière-Provencher, Senior Energy Advisor, DATECH Group. Martin helped guide Cogir through process of securing an Efficient construction and renovation grant from Énergir.

The benefits of mixed-use projects

The advantage of this project is that not all spaces have the same purpose, so peak energy demand isn’t simultaneous. This allows the system to maximize energy exchange between the various uses to reduce the complex’s total energy consumption. Another advantage of mixed use is that the total capacity of thermal power generation doesn’t have to match the total max. demand of all users.

“If we had needed to deploy four stations (one for each use), the consumption of each plant wouldn’t have been one quarter of the total consumption; it probably would have been much more,” explains Martin Brière-Provencher.

In addition, the heat pumps are highly efficient, in the range of 200% to 300%, which boosts the projects total energy efficiency.

Finally, notes Martin Brière-Provencher,

“An energy loop provides significant flexibility. For example, we could switch to dual energy by simply adding one piece of equipment, rather than having to rethink the entire system.”

Knowing that a dual-energy solution could reduce the natural gas consumption of the mixed water loop by about 70%, this potential holds promise for further greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions from the Humaniti project.

Sustainability and well-being: A winning combination

This holistic approach to energy management has resulted in a 34% reduction in energy consumption compared to the benchmark—per the Québec NECB 2015 standards in effect. This translates into annual natural gas savings of 220,000 m3, the equivalent of 421.52 tonnes of GHGs. The approach also helped secure LEED Silver certification, a recognition of the Humaniti project’s excellence in sustainable practices. This certification is complemented by a WELL Silver certification for the rental condominiums. WELL focuses on projects that promote the well-being and health of occupants—an essential aspect of Humaniti, which places humanity at the heart of its design.

Martin Brière-Provencher.
Senior Advisor, Energy expertise
DATECH Group – Development and technical assistance

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