A proposed new housing development in Markham will be the first neighbourhood in Canada to be run on geothermal power. Three hundred homes will be connected to an energy grid deep in the ground that will both cool and warm the houses.

The subdivision, dubbed Berczy Glen, is planned in the area of Elgin Mills and Warden Avenues. It’s slated to break ground around 2020, or soon after.

Already used in places as Iceland and California, geothermal energy systems utilize the warmth of underground to run electricity. Ideally, its effective use should not only make a home less reliant on fossil fuels, but has the potential to result in what is known as a net-zero footprint, where energy produced is roughly equivalent to energy consumed.

In simple terms, the process involves harnessing the energy from buried tubes that contain liquid refrigerant. They help emit heat in the winter and, in the warmer months, absorb the home’s heat.

Berczy Glen is a project in partnership with the City of Markham, Mattamy Homes and Enwave Energy Corporation, who will install and operate the geothermal system.

Photo: Submitted graphic illustration of the proposed Berczy Glen neighbourhood.