Brock University’s continued efforts to create a sustainable campus recently made strides with the help of $2.9 million in federal funding.
Environment and Climate Change Canada provided the support to Brock in January through its Low Carbon Economy Challenge, Champions Stream.
With a total of $200 million provided to public and private sector organizations, as well as government bodies, the program supports innovation, reduction of energy bills and the creation of jobs for Canadians.
At Brock, the funding, which is paired with the University’s own $3.1-million contribution, will allow for the District Energy System (DES) electrification project to move forward. Work commenced in April and is scheduled to be completed by March 31, 2025.
The project includes:
- Installation of an electric boiler in Welch Hall and a heat pump in the Roy and Lois Cairns Health and Bioscience Research Complex.
- Recovery of waste heat from the Cairns steam boiler.
- Piping retrofits at Schmon Tower, DeCew Residence, Welch Hall, Thistle Complex and Student-Alumni Centre.
- Optimization of control sequences for DES and satellite assets.
- Work on the DES distribution system and auxiliary equipment to enable the project’s other measures.
The electrification project will significantly reduce Brock’s carbon emissions by diversifying campus heat sources and reducing the use of natural gas in the DES, says Scott Johnstone, Senior Associate Vice-President, Infrastructure and Operations.
“This is a valuable addition to the ongoing work we do at Brock University every day to find new and innovative ways to reduce our environmental impact and advance our community’s sustainability goals,” he says. “As the work is completed, it won’t take long for us to see the positive impact the DES electrification is having on daily campus operations.”
Brock President and Vice-Chancellor Lesley Rigg says the University, located in a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, takes its commitment to climate action and sustainability seriously.
“We’re taking strong and measurable actions, through projects such as the DES electrification, to advance our sustainability efforts, a cause the Brock community is passionate about,” she says. “Support from the Low Carbon Economy Challenge program is instrumental in helping organizations like Brock to gain momentum towards sustainable operations. We’re proud and grateful to have been selected to receive this impactful funding.”
St. Catharines Member of Parliament Chris Bittle says the program is “an exciting step forward that reaffirms our government’s commitment to climate change action.”
“Brock University is a pillar of this community that has always set an example for sustainability, the DES electrification project being the latest effort that will create a greener Brock campus and help the university meet its sustainability targets,” he says.
In recent years, Brock University has introduced a variety of sustainable campus initiatives, such as:
- Installing a new Energy Management System to track performance in real-time.
- Enabling sustainability challenges for students, faculty and staff via a mobile app.
- Launching a seed library.
- Retrofitting lighting in Bob Davis and Ian Beddis gymnasiums.
- Adjusting building system schedules.
- Upgrading controls to better operate building systems.
- Obtaining a Silver rating under ASHEE’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System.
- Submitting to the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings, which saw Brock ranked 201 to 300th among 1,406 universities worldwide.
- Educating the Brock community about the benefits of District Energy Systems via tours, presentations and lectures.
- Obtaining Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold for Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts building, under the coveted Building Operations and Maintenance ranking system.
- Installing 17 new Level 2 Electric Vehicle charging stations and three Level 3 chargers, promoting the adoption of cleaner fuels.
- Holding education sessions about the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.