In 2015, the City of Vancouver enlisted Prism Engineering to conduct recommissioning investigation studies for six of their community centres, City of Vancouver’s top greenhouse gas emitters. 

Kitsilano Community Centre is a popular neighbourhood recreational facility located in Vancouver. The multiplex facility incorporates a hockey rink, a gymnasium, a fitness centre, multipurpose community rooms, a whirlpool and offices. The recommissioning investigation and detailed energy study revealed measures to enhance HVAC efficiency, optimize operation, and also identified capital upgrades that had potential to reduce over 80% of the site’s emissions, which aligned with the City’s aggressive emission reduction targets.

In 2017, the City of Vancouver hired Prism to carry out a detailed design and specification to integrate heat recovery chillers (ammonia plant heat recovery) to transfer heat from the ice plant to the building’s HVAC and domestic hot water systems. The new recovery system was designed to be the primary heating system, with existing boilers reconfigured to feed supplementary heating into the source side only, in the event heating load exceeds ice plant heat rejection.

Optimizing Controls

The greatest challenge in projects with a similar configuration is in the control integration between the equipment’s manufacturer internal control and the central building automated system. Detailed specifications and coordination of the control systems integration, including specific settings integrated controllers, was the key to properly commissioning the system and achieving the expected performance.


Commissioned in 2018, these measures have cut GHG emissions by over 80% and nearly eliminated the need for natural gas to heat the facility.

The above diagram represents savings to date (data was updated April 2020 to include all of 2019 savings). Higher greenhouse gas savings are anticipated once heat pump in the community centre gymnasium is in operation.

This project was recently featured in the Engineers and Geoscientists of BC’s spring issue of Innovation Magazine