Pharmaceutical Sciences

UBC's Pharmaceutical Sciences building

UBC’s Pharmaceutical Sciences building

The Pharmaceutical Sciences building is one of UBC’s newest and most mechanically advanced buildings. Housing not only the Pharmaceutical Sciences program but also the campus’s main data centre, the building’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system demands are high.

After construction was completed in 2013, building operators and occupants noticed some areas of the building were always too hot or too cold. The building’s electrical consumption was also abnormally high. The UBC Energy Planning and Innovation (EPI) group investigated.

System Tweaks Lead to Impressive Savings

The team discovered that there were some oversights in the programming of the computer-based Building Management System (BMS), which controls HVAC system functions. The building’s HVAC system is complex, and the BMS was not optimized for the equipment present.

Heating temperatures were set incorrectly, or didn’t match design specifications. Equipment would turn on, but wouldn’t turn off. Sometimes, spaces would be heated and cooled at the same time. Through extensive tweaks and some BMS program rewrites, EPI managed to reduce the building’s energy consumption drastically.

  • Peak electrical demand was reduced by around 25 per cent, from 1.8 megawatts (MW) to 1.4 MW
  • Daily electrical consumption went down from 40 megawatt hours (MWh) to 35 MWh
  • Overall, we estimate that the BMS system tweaks will save UBC around $150,000 per year in energy costs
  • Reduced building equipment maintenance will also provide additional cost savings