The Ministry of the Environment supports moving forward on renewable forms of energy, including earth energy systems, also known as geothermal systems, and doing so in a manner that protects the environment, human health and public safety. Under its Green Energy Act, the province is promoting the use of renewable energy including geothermal energy. Geothermal systems are covered by a wide variety of legislative requirements in Ontario, including the Environmental Protection Act and its associated Ontario Regulation 98/12 (Ground Source Heat Pump Regulation), the Ontario Water Resources Act, and its Regulation 903 (Wells Regulation), and the Ontario Building Code Act and Building Code Regulation.
The March 2013 Technical Bulletin on Earth Energy Systems provides information on:
- the Ontario legislative framework, including the legislation of other ministries and Ministry of the Environment's recent environmental compliance approval regulation related to encountering hazardous gas (i.e. Ontario Regulation 98/12);
- common risks associated with earth energy systems and mitigation strategies, including those related to the encountering of hazardous gas; and,
- the different types of earth energy systems, including the direct exchange type of system.
It is important that the installation, maintenance and decommissioning of these systems be undertaken in a manner that protects public health and safety, and the environment, including groundwater and surface water. When installed in a safe manner, earth energy systems provide an excellent source of green heating and cooling for a variety of uses including residential, commercial, agricultural and industrial applications.
This updated Technical Bulletin was prepared with involvement from other ministries, specifically the Ministries of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Natural Resources, and Training, Colleges and Universities. As well, a final draft was shared with industry stakeholders in order to secure technical input prior to finalizing the Bulletin.