UBC’s Energy & Water Infrastructure

UBC’s Energy &Water Services unit manages the UBC Vancouver campus’s high-voltage electricity, district energy (steam and hot water), natural gas, and water needs.

Our utilities infrastructure is quite unique for a university. On the simplest scale, we’re similar to a municipality in that we supply all the water on campus. We’re responsible not only for our potable water distribution system, but also for our sanitary and stormwater sewer systems. We’re also the primary owners and managers of the natural gas distribution piping systems on our 1,000 acre campus. The only exceptions are the piping systems in the University Neighbourhood Association (UNA) neighbourhoods.

In addition to natural gas, we own the high-voltage electrical system that distributes electricity across the campus, which includes two major sub-stations. We took responsibility for the system nearly 60 years ago, in exchange for receiving what’s referred to as the “heritage”, or transmission rate, for electricity supply from BC Hydro. BC Hydro also provides electricity directly to the market housing neighbourhoods on campus.

We also operate the university’s new hot water generation and distribution system, providing heat energy for domestic hot water and heating across the campus.

In this section

Building Management Systems (BMS)

Learn about the UBC Vancouver campus building management system's design and operation.

Bioenergy Research Demonstration Facility (BRDF)

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.

Hot Water District Energy System

Learn about the UBC Vancouver campus Academic District Energy System's design and operation.

Natural Gas

Learn about the UBC Vancouver campus natural gas distribution system's design and operation.

Sanitary Sewer

Learn about the UBC Vancouver campus sanitary sewer system's design and operation.

Storm Sewer

Learn about the UBC Vancouver campus storm sewer system's design and operation.


Learn about the UBC Vancouver campus potable and firefighting water system's design and operation.