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Renewable heating and cooling systems

This image shows a view from inside a modern building, looking out through a large glass wall with the sun shining in. Other buildings can be seen in the distance.

Buildings take up nearly 40% of all energy consumed worldwide and are responsible for 33% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In Canada, buildings represent 28% of energy end use and 26% of greenhouse gas emissions. Achieving the Paris Agreement targets and those of Canada – 30% GHG reduction in 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2050 – depends upon the deep decarbonization of the energy used in buildings. The way forward lies in the use of highly efficient heating and cooling technologies as well as low-carbon and renewable electricity.

Our areas of focus

Our highly experienced and multidisciplinary team focuses its innovation on efficient and cost-effective heating and cooling systems that are adapted to the Canadian climate and suitable for new and existing buildings, while offering significant decarbonization impacts. Our research and development (R&D) activities focus primarily on:

  • advanced heat pump systems using CO2 or other low global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants and providing flexibility in a context of smart grids
  • thermal energy management including breakthrough solutions to optimize the way thermal energy is produced, distributed and stored
  • thermally-activated systems for space heating and cooling, with minimal electricity demand for regions rich in natural gas

Projects underway at CanmetENERGY in Varennes

Our activities include technology development, the assessment of close-to-market technologies, the development of system design tools, and the demonstration and transfer of technologies and know-how. Our Centre currently leads the following projects to support the decarbonization of the Canadian buildings sector:

Heating and cooling CO2 network
Ground-source energy systems using CO2
Heat pumps with integrated thermal storage for operational flexibility
High-temperature heat pumps with low GWP refrigerant
Thermally-driven ejector cooling systems

Transcritical CO2 heat pumps using ejector technology for enhanced performance
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Featured item

A graphic image shows an aerial view of a building and parking lot. An open view of the rooftop shows yellow lines winding through the building, along with blue and red lines underground, representing the circulation system. Three arrows point to the CO2 loop, the CO2 circulation system and the outdoor units on the graphic.

Single-pipe CO2 loop integrated with mini local heat pumps in an office building

The use of CO2 as a refrigerant and heating medium fluid

A team at CanmetENERGY in Varennes designed a new thermal management system for buildings to leverage the utilization of heat pumps and renewable sources. The system offers significant potential for energy savings through energy recovery in buildings with simultaneous heating and cooling demands. A pilot-scale prototype was built and tested to showcase the system’s practicalities and advantages for office buildings.

Read the article on the new technology

Find out more about renewable heating and cooling systems

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