Canadian Biomass Magazine

BC community to swap recreation facility gas boilers with biomass

July 8, 2022
By District of Saanich

Photo supplied.

The District of Saanich will begin construction this fall to upgrade the existing natural gas boilers at Saanich Commonwealth Place (SCP) to new biomass boilers with the goal of reducing the facility’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 90 per cent.

SCP is Saanich’s largest recreation facility and currently the largest source of GHG emissions for all of the district’s facilities. This conversion enables the facility to use renewable fuel instead of fossil fuels.

“This major project is another important and positive step in our journey to reduce our corporate carbon footprint and meet our goal of becoming a 100 per cent renewable community,” said Mayor Fred Haynes. “The new heating system will use a locally sourced renewable biomass fuel which will reduce costs, increase efficiency and support our local economy and climate goals.”

Set up will begin this summer with construction starting in early September 2022. The new system is anticipated to be in operation by fall 2023. The project is fully supported by $4 million in Federal Gas Tax Funding which Saanich was awarded in 2018.


Biomass energy is the creation of heat and/or power from biofuel such as solid wood or wood residues, agricultural crop residues, aquatic plants and animal wastes. As a renewable form of energy, it can help Saanich reduce its carbon footprint and achieve its climate target of becoming a 100 per cent renewable energy community.

BioFlame Briquettes Ltd., located in Chemainus in the Cowichan Valley, was awarded the contract to manufacture Saanich’s biomass pucks for the new boilers. The biomass they will supply is a highly efficient woodfibre by-product created from post-industrial milling operations. As such, Saanich has sourced a local supply of renewable biomass fuel that will significantly reduce our corporate carbon footprint while supporting local business and helping pre-consumer and post-consumer industries and markets.

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