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Olympic International

Olympic International Experts in heating, ventilation, air conditioning and automation control equipment since 1963, Olympic International was central to the design and installation of heating and cooling systems at the Olympic Village. President Mike Mahannah says working on the Olympic Village was an opportunity to implement ideas he has learned elsewhere in the world.

“In Germany, there’s such a different paradigm in construction,” says Mahannah. “For example, everyone working in an office must sit within six or seven metres of a window, to have access to daylight. Their building shapes are different because of that one law. “They also build buildings to last 350 years, unlike our throwaway mentality in North America, where we consider buildings old when they’re 30. It’s a different mindset in terms of quality.”

Olympic International tackled many challenges that arose as new technology was implemented at Olympic Village. The company trained installers, developed detailed ceiling designs and helped a specialty manufacturer scale up to handle production of the energy transfer centres for each suite.

“Part of our vision as a company is to bring world-leading products to the local marketplace,” says Mahannah. “Our work on the Olympic Village was a part of that vision.”

Nick Farina

President of Enerpro Systems Corp.

Nick Farina, the co-founder of Enerpro, designs his systems with the future in mind. “When I look at my 4-year-old granddaughter,” he says, “I ask myself if we are moving forward fast enough. How do we collectively stop wasting our resources?”

Farina’s awareness of environmental issues, combined with his construction background led him to the world of energy management. Since 1996, Enerpro has offered full-service, customizable, energy management solutions. Enerpro’s programs maximize efficiencies in energy and water use, reduce consumption and provide numerous economic benefits for a diverse portfolio of new construction and infrastructure upgrades in retrofitted buildings. Enerpro brings all the fragmented steps of energy management together in one centralized iEMS (Integrated Energy Management System) that supports the on demand characteristics and complexities of energy and water management.

Enerpro Systems Corporation is a North American market leader in intelligent energy management of both traditional energy systems as well as new technologies such as geo-thermal, solar, wind and fuel cell. For Millennium Water, Enerpro has supplied energy management technology for 1,100 residential suites that will allow occupants to monitor their own energy and water use from an in-suite display.

Farina concludes, “When I see the results from our Energy Management programs, I know that we’re on the right track. There are tremendous opportunities ahead.”

Chris Baber

NEU Manager, City of Vancouver

As the City of Vancouver’s NEU Manager, Chris Baber has played the lead role in implementing the Southeast False Creek Neighbourhood Energy Utility. His involvement has ranged from management of NEU infrastructure, business development and bylaw enactment to regulate energy services, to managing the utility once it is operational.

Baber and his team have overcome many challenges along the way throughout concept design, implementation and construction. Beyond the technical and schedule challenges, complexity was added through stakeholder engagement requirements and the implementation of a new municipal utility business model that needs to (through its customer rates) recover its costs associated with capital intensive renewable energy infrastructure while being cost competitive with traditional forms of heating.

Baber’s job description changed considerably as the project moved from concept stage to implementation and operations. By assembling and managing a skilled team of City staff, consultants and contractors, the project’s challenging objectives were achieved. Having worked hard to address the challenges, Baber says, “I am excited to get the plant up and running and build on this experience to see district energy expanded to serve other areas of this city.”

Kieran McConnell


NEU Systems Engineer, City of Vancouver As Systems Engineer for the NEU, one of Kieran McConnell’s responsibilities during the design of the utility and the Olympic Village was to integrate the NEU system with the buildings at SEFC. “You don’t design buildings independently [of their energy systems],” says McConnell, who spent a good deal of time liaising with the engineers and architects of the Olympic Village buildings.

McConnell provided technical oversight for the entire project. There were a number of challenges in designing the system, largely because “low temperature district energy is new territory for Vancouver’s engineering community.” Where there were no precedents to some of the engineering challenges that arose, McConnell worked with the team to arrive at alternate solutions.

McConnell says that when the community moves into the Olympic Village and the NEU is operational, he is “looking forward to seeing actual usage data – how much (energy) is being used and at what time – and how our system is able to meet the demand.”

FVB Energy

FVB Energy Inc. is a management and engineering consultancy specializing in community energy. The Canadian company was founded in 1992 as a subsidiary of a Swedish parent company that has over 40 years of district energy experience globally. FVB was responsible for the feasibility study and conceptual system design of the NEU. FVB contributed to the design and construction of the Energy Centre, distribution system and building connection interfaces.

Bard Skagestad was the Engineer on Record for the NEU energy transfer stations (ETSs) – the interface between the NEU system and each building’s internal heating system. A key element of the district energy delivery system, ETSs consist of heat exchangers, controls and meters, piping and miscellaneous equipment.

“The most challenging part of the project was coordinating between all of the various disciplines, particularly given the imposition of a tight project schedule,” remarks Skagestad. The system’s capacity to accommodate other renewable sources of energy, is, to Skagestad, “perhaps the most innovative feature of the energy system.”

“My belief and hope is that this project will set a new standard for sustainable and adaptable energy supply systems for future developments in Metro Vancouver and beyond.”

Goran Ostojic

P. Eng, LEED
Partner, Cobalt Engineering

Goran Ostojic moved to Canada from Europe in 1994. Ostojic has been the lead partner on Cobalt Engineering’s Olympic Village project team, overseeing mechanical design issues across the site. He says the tight timeline, new technology and sheer size of the project added to its complexity.

“We had to integrate and understand the new technology, and we had to implement the new technology across 1.5 million square feet – you need people to build it, so they have to buy in and get understanding,” he says. “We went through some upsets and a lot of hoops together, but it was a great experience.”

“People could see the benefit and opportunity,” he says. “From the City’s ODP [official development plan] and its sustainability direction, to an open-minded client, it’s a great opportunity to create something different. And also the design team being brave enough to take this challenge and keep pushing the limits. We’ve had the chance to create something that’s not done every day, that’s going to be a benchmark of sustainability in North America on this size and scale.

“It’s an amazing project. We’ll reflect in the future and say hey, it was a challenge, but it turned out pretty good.”

Peter MacLellan

ESc Engineer
Partner, Olympic International

“We had a vision of what we wanted to do at Olympic Village,” says Peter MacLellan, of Olympic International. “We wanted to reduce energy consumption, increase the comfort of occupants, do it on a large scale and have it be commercially viable. We’ve been making it work – a big piece of the puzzle in making change.”

MacLellan is the lead project engineer for Olympic at the Millennium Water site. He says the fast paced and complex nature of the project was part of its attraction. “It’s not like a regular project where you design it, then everybody agrees and then you start building. In this case, they started before the design was completed and we had to keep up. There were many challenges coming up that you couldn’t foresee, so we solved them as we went.”

MacLellan says the integrated design process was a great experience. “Working with all the people we needed to, to make this thing go – often things were getting decided in a room with people from all different trades. Usually that’s a long process, but this was all about getting everyone in a room and deciding right there what you’re doing to do. For me, the experience was amazing.”

Janice Cheam

President, Co-founder of Energy Aware Technology Inc.

“We really need to upgrade our energy infrastructure,” says Janice Cheam. Her interest in this challenge led her to launch her energy-related company. After discussing the acceleration of climate change with a friend who had just returned from a United Nations conference, Janice became passionate about helping society waste less. Learning about climate change led her to an appreciation for energy conservation as a key area capable of delivering real environmental improvement. In 2005, Janice co-founded Energy Aware Technology with partner Lauren Kulokas.

Based in Vancouver, Energy Aware provides demand management solutions for today’s changing electrical grid. Energy Aware’s products allow utilities to gain maximum benefit from increased data flow with their customers, and allow individuals to better understand and control their consumption habits. By promoting resource-efficient behaviour and demonstrating sustainable practices, Energy Aware aims to protect and improve the well-being of future generations.