Temporary Energy Centre

What's inside?

Transferring heat from UBC’s steam system to the new hot water grid, the temporary energy centre is a creative component of the hot water conversion project.

Temporary Energy Centre

The Temporary Energy Centre (TEC) is facilitating UBC’s transition from an aging steam heat distribution system to a new hot water heat distribution system. It takes about five years to convert a campus the size of UBC (1,000 acres) from one system to the other.

The conversion process for UBC involves:

  • Laying 11 kilometres of district energy hot water pipework across campus
  • Installing hot water conversion equipment in 110 UBC buildings
  • Commissioning a new 45 megawatt hot water Campus Energy centre (CEC)
  • Decommissioning the UBC powerhouse

Prior to the completion of the new CEC, pipework is being laid and new building energy transfer stations are being installed. The TEC allows us to commission converted buildings as soon as they’re ready for hot water heat, instead of having to wait until the end of the project when the CEC is in operation.

TEC Technology

The TEC operates using some clever synergy between the old and the new heating systems. Steam is converted to hot water inside a temporary container housing two large steam to hot water heat exchangers. The container is currently located at University Boulevard on campus.

Up to 15 megawatts (MW) of thermal energy are generated by the TEC to energize the new hot water pipework. As a result, UBC buildings are converted to the hot water system as the new pipe system reaches them. We expect the TEC to convert around 75 per cent of UBC buildings to hot water, and to energize the whole district pipe system, prior to the new CEC coming into service.

Advancing Energy Savings

Through the TEC, UBC is reaping the energy efficiency, financial and greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction benefits of the hot water conversion two years ahead of schedule. We forecast that the TEC will reduce natural gas consumption at the UBC Powerhouse by 80,000 gigajoules (GJ) in 2015—that’s equivalent to a 4,000 tonne reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Once the CEC is operational in the fall of 2015, the TEC will no longer be in use. The TEC will most likely be sold to another institution or a municipal authority developing a similar energy conversion program.