Biomass District Heating Facility


The Town of Banff has created a biomass district heating system to provideBiomass2 Opens in new window renewable heat for four municipal buildings. 

Located in the Town’s Operations compound in the Industrial District, the biomass district heating system uses a high-tech boiler to burn waste wood like wood chips that previously would go to landfill. The advanced combustion chambers produces extremely clean emissions, representing less than a single campfire. Eliminating fossil fuels from heating and reducing waste going to landfill significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The energy centre building turns wood waste into super-heated water that is pumped through an underground pipe network to heat four buildings:

  • Roam Transit Operations & Training Centre
  • Fleet Services Building
  • Operations Maintenance Shop 
  • Waste Transfer Station

 Fast Facts:

  • Project complete and operational in summer 2021
  • Heats 4 large buildings, including the new Roam Transit Storage Facility
  • High-efficiency wood-chip boiler with ultra-clean burning system replaces fossil fuels
  • Eliminates 200 tonnes of wood waste from going to landfill each year 
  • Eliminates more than 4,000 tonnes of GHG emissions over 2 decades
  • Total project cost $1.3 million

Environmental benefits

The project will see a cumulative reduction of about 6,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions over the lifetime of this project. That’s equivalent to removing approximatively 1,800 cars from the road for one year by replacing natural gas with sustainable wood waste. 

The biomass system reduces the need to haul waste to the landfill and moves away from fossil fuels to heat buildings, which will save costs.

The project also demonstrates the technology opportunity to other organizations in the community. Cost savings and greenhouse gas reductions will grow as more buildings connect to district heating systems.

The energy centre building that houses the biomass system also has a 30-panel solar PV array that produces 12kW to offset energy needed from the grid to power lighting in the building and electrical components that support the advanced biomass district heating system. The small solar project is the eighth solar PV array on Banff municipal facilities.  

Environmental targets for Town of Banff:

  • 100% renewable energy by 2050 
  • cut greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030, and 80% by 2050
  • 70% community‐wide waste diversion by 2028
    • 90% community‐wide waste diversion by 2045
    • Zero waste sent to landfill by 2050

Biomass Project Funding:

  • Total: $1.3 million
    • $530,000 – Low Carbon Economy Fund, Environment and Climate Change, Government of Canada
    • $770,000 – Town of Banff

Solar array:

  • Total cost $25,400 
    • $10,200 – Low Carbon Economy Fund, Government of Canada
    • $7,600 – Municipal Climate Change Action Centre’s Alberta Municipal Solar Program
    • $7,600 – Town of Banff