UBC has been working for several years on ambitious projects to help us address our energy and water needs now and in the future.
Our 100 year-old campus is home to many historic buildings, some of which, have been in use since they were originally constructed in the 1920s. Over the years, the campus has grown, the demand for energy and water services has increased, and so have our costs. In response, we’ve launched various initiatives to optimize, upgrade or replace our building’s energy and water systems, integrate new technologies into existing infrastructure, and help us operate as efficiently as possible.
The Academic District Energy System is the University’s largest infrastructure upgrade project to date. Spanning the northern half of the campus, the five-year project involves converting the campus from a steam energy system to a hot water energy system—and it brings our energy story full circle.
A Temporary Energy Centre is facilitating the steam to hot water conversion until our new Campus Energy Centre opens its doors in the fall of 2015. Soon after, our original powerhouse—built in 1925 and still in operation—will be decommissioned in phases, bringing in a new era of energy generation and consumption at UBC.
Bioenergy Research Demonstration Facility
UBC’s relatively new Bioenergy Research Demonstration Facility (BRDF) brings our Campus as a Living Lab initiative to life. Operational since 2012, the facility uses biomass cogeneration technology to produce steam, electricity and hot water for our campus, and illustrates how green technologies can be integrated into campus energy systems. The facility is built for innovation and recently added capabilities to operate using Renewable Natural Gas.
Energy Conservation and Efficiency Projects
We’ve launched a wide range of energy conservation and efficiency projects at UBC over the years, both large and small. Whether it’s the eight-year ECOTrek project, or the more straightforward HVAC coil cleaning project, all our initiatives have allowed us to operate more efficiently and reduce our energy consumption and costs significantly.