Envision Energy Reduction

Since 1975, the University of Alberta has been researching and implementing energy efficiency and conservation measures. With an annual utilities bill that tops $40 million, and growing concern over climate change, the university has entered a new era of accelerated innovation in energy management.

In 2012, the next generation of the Energy Management Program, Envision, was launched. The University of Alberta is investing $35 million into the program over the next seven years to implement energy techniques around campus. With these investments, the institution will reduce its CO2 emissions by 30,000 tonnes per year and will save approximately $4.5 million dollars annually.

Green Computing

Information Services and Technology is acting to save energy in campus computer labs, offices and facilities. New equipment, including LCD displays and servers, are reducing electricity-use and require less air conditioning to operate. Virtualization consolidates multiple computing systems into one, more efficient server. Default settings in computer labs shut everything down at night, saving as much as 50 per cent on energy use.

Help make our computer labs more energy-efficient

In March 2015, users in GSB 217 and GSB 866 participated  in a new energy-saving initiative. Computer display settings where changed to sleep-mode when the computer was left idle. To wake the computer up, users could press any key.

Tips for home and at work

  • Power down your computer, laptop or tablet when not in use.
  • Ensure power saving settings are activated.
  • Plug into a power bar to eliminate standby power.
  • When it’s time to upgrade, ensure you buy an ENERGY STAR certified product.

Supporting Programs

The Office of Sustainability offers a number of projects supporting energy initiatives:

  • Campus-wide Prompts & Events invited the campus community to reduce the amount of energy consumed by lights and grow both energy awareness and conservation activities. .
  • Outreach Communications shared information about outreach activities, building-specific facts, energy saving tips and facts, and engaged the audience in conversations about potential energy-conserving practices.
  • Computer Labs were engaged to reduce energy consumption of computing equipment and labs, and grow awareness/adoption of Green IT practices.
  • Green Spaces Certification emphasized energy-saving practices in offices and labs, and delivered activities focused on spaces containing variable air volume fume hoods.
  • Green Labs program inspiring lab users to improve energy efficiency and water conservation practices.
  • Residences Initiatives raised general energy awareness through competitions in residences.
  • Academic Projects raised profile of energy-related courses offered by the university, profiled an academic working on the topic of energy, and inspired additional dialogue on related topics.

Take Action

The efforts of everyone at the University of Alberta—students, faculty and staff—are crucial to creating a sustainable campus. There are many ways you can reduce the impact of energy use on campus.

  • Turn off lights when areas are unoccupied
  • Shut the sash on variable air volume fume hoods
  • Power down computers and other equipment when not in use
  • Use green computing practices
  • Use artificial lighting only when daylight is insufficient for the task at hand
  • Plug electronics into a power strip and turn it off at the end of each day
  • Keep exterior doors and windows closed when HVAC systems are operating
  • Use a shared coffee maker and refrigerator for your work unit, instead of personal appliances
  • Use efficient task-lighting instead of overhead lighting
  • Ensure air exchanges are unobstructed.
  • Close blinds in the summer to keep out excess solar heat in the summer.
  • Close blinds in the evening in the winter to retain heat in the building during the night.
  • Report energy waste or request maintenance servicing by calling 780-492-4833

Programs you can get involved with:

Check out these programs and events offered by the Office of Sustainability that offer advice on how you can become more energy efficient at home, school, and work.

Learn more about the university's Energy Management and Sustainable Operations initiatives.


View the Envision brochure to learn more about the program.

Did you know?

  • Since the mid-1970s, an energy reduction program has been in place at UAlberta. This program has resulted in an accumulated costs savings of $353 million and a nearly 2.5 million tonne reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.
  • As part of the next generation of the Energy Management Program, Envision, UAlberta is planning on incorporating renewable energy generation such as photovoltaic, solar thermal heating, and potentially geo-thermal.
  • Solar-powered trash compactors have been added to high volume waste locations on campus.
  • There are 45 solar-powered parking dispensers installed in a number of surface lots and short-term parking locations on North and South Campus.
  • UAlberta's District Energy System uses cogeneration technology with a 13 MW steam turbine generator. The generator captures the excess steam to help heat our buildings, using less natural gas than traditional boilers.