Steam to Hot Water Conversion Project

Academic District Energy System’s Steam to Hot Water Conversion Project

From 2011-2017 UBC’s aging gas-fired steam district energy system has been replaced, piece by piece, into a state-of-the-art medium temperature hot water system. The ADES steam to hot water conversion project replaced 14 kilometres of 90-year-old steam piping, and connected more than 160 buildings to a highly efficient hot water district energy system. In 2017, UBC shut the doors of its steam plant replacing the system’s primary energy source with the new 45 MWt Campus Energy Centre which, together with the distribution, improves energy efficiency by greater than 24 per cent.

The map below highlights all the buildings that connected to the new hot water grid, orphan steam buildings, and legacy steam buildings that were awaiting renewals/demolition at the time of project completion.


To view a presentation given to the International District Energy Association (IDEA) of how UBC’s Steam to Hot Water Conversion Project was conceived, implemented, and the lessons learned, please see IDEA 2018 Steam to Hot Water Conversion Presentation. To lean more about latest state of UBC’s Academic District Energy System and supporting activities, please see 2019 UBC_EWS_DES.

Campus Energy Centre

The Campus Energy Centre (CEC) is UBC’s $24 million state-of-the-art hot water boiler facility. Located in the heart of our 1,000 acre campus, the facility is capable of meeting all of UBC’s heating requirements.

The CEC is the primary energy source for our new hot water district energy system.

Orphan Buildings

There are a handful of “orphan” buildings that were not connected to the new hot water system. Most of these sites were either being converted to electric baseboard, or are scheduled for major building refurbishment—with subsequent conversion to hot water—or demolition. Buildings awaiting conversion or demolition receive steam energy from the Bioenergy Research Demonstration Facility (BRDF).