Energy Management Program
A very successful Energy Management Program has been in place at the University of Alberta since the mid-1970s. In the four decades since, the university has avoided $353 million in utility costs, while preventing over 2.5 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. Annual savings reached $16.9 million in the most recent year on record (2015-16).
The Energy Management and Sustainable Operations (EMSO) unit oversees the program, implementing energy efficiency and conservation measures across campus. Some EMSO initiatives include:
- The Heritage Medical Research Centre lighting retrofit invested $800,000 to reduce the university’s overall greenhouse gas emissions by 900 tonnes per year (also saving $90,000 per year).
- The Medical Isotope and Cyclotron Facility’s building-integrated solar photovoltaic (BIPV) system went live in 2013. The solar panels' capacity is 23 kW, potentially reducing the university’s greenhouse gas emissions by 25 tonnes per year.
- The Jeanne and Peter Lougheed Performing Arts Centre at UAlberta’s Augustana Campus has the largest building-integrated solar PV (BIPV) installation in Canada and is one of the first in North America to exclusively use LED stage lighting. The BIPV’s capacity is 122kW, avoiding $10,000 and 110 TCO2e annually.
- An Aircuity OptiNet system has been retrofitted into four UAlberta buildings to monitor indoor environmental air quality factors in real time and lowers or raises the amount of ventilation depending on the building’s activities and occupancy levels. Aircuity’s systems will be implemented in laboratories and other valuable occupancy areas, optimizing building operations.
- Enterprise Energy Information Management System (EEIMS). Over the last several years UAlberta has been evaluating the feasibility of deploying a campus wide system for energy information and analytics. Much work has already been done to develop a campus wide facilities network, automate and control buildings, and develop an integrated campus utility infrastructure. The university is now implementing a system that can normalize, analyze and present data from these systems to assist in making decisions related to operations and energy efficiency.
In 2012-13, EMSO completed a seven-year $25 million energy management program, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 27,000 tonnes and generating $3.5 million in annual savings. Under the next seven year plan (Envision), EMSO will continue to build on this success with further lighting retrofits, and more installations of variable speed drives and heat recovery systems.
Envision: Intelligent Energy Reduction
Envision is the name of the current seven-year energy management program. Envision speaks to the university’s commitment to advancing sustainability today, while continuously looking to the future for new technologies and approaches.
From 2011 to 2018, Envision will invest $35 million to prevent 30,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year. Improvements will save approximately $4.5 million annually on energy costs. Innovative new facets of the Envision energy management program include:
- water conservation
- incorporation of energy projects with facility system renewals
- energy reduction in ancillary facilities
- renewable energy technologies
- education and awareness programs
- occupant counters
- plug load sensors
In addition to technological solutions, conservation practices are an important part of the university’s energy management plan. The Office of Sustainability grows familiarity about campus energy consumption and engage students, faculty, and visitors to our campus in energy conservation behaviours. Activities supporting this work include:
- Events & prompts invite the campus community to reduce the lighting costs, and raise awareness of conservation activities.
- Green Spaces Certification draws attention to energy-saving practices in offices and labs.
- Green Labs initiative to advance sustainable and safe practices.
- Residences will raise general energy awareness through competitions.
Did You Know?
The Graduate Residences in East Campus Village are piloting several sustainability features. Individual suites are outfitted with utility meters, enabling residents to take responsibility for their own energy use—and energy savings.
Mike Versteege, Manager
Energy Management & Sustainable Operations