District Energy System

Did you know that Brock’s Facilities Management team operates a sustainability-forward Central Utilities Building on campus? Although it was built in 1964, modifications were made in 1995 and again in 2018 to reduce carbon emissions and reflect the need for more energy efficient systems, allowing Brock to be an early leader in campus sustainability. 

Friday, February 21, 2020 marked the completion of Brock’s District Energy Efficiency Project. Pictured cutting the ribbon are Brock Vice-President, Academic Greg Finn, Brock Board of Trustees Chair Gary Comerford, Brock Vice-President, Research Tim Kenyon, Brock Senior Associate Vice-President of Operations and Infrastructure Services Scott Johnstone, Minister of International Development the Hon. Karina Gould, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Colleges and Universities David Piccini, Brock President Gervan Fearon, Niagara Centre MP Vance Badawey, Niagara Falls MP Tony Baldinelli and Brock University Graduate Students’ Association President Christopher Yendt.

Low-Carbon District Energy System

Brock University recently completed its District Energy Efficiency Project (DEEP), which has upgraded and modernized the University’s co-generation facility – a reliable and energy-efficient source of electricity, heating, and cooling on campus.  As part of DEEP, Brock added Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) system on each engine exhaust to reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx)  emissions and non-methane hydrocarbons. Another example of environmental improvements made through DEEP is the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 15% via increased engine efficiency.

Through the completion of the DEEP project Brock University has significantly improved its energy efficiency, lowered its carbon emissions, and assists Brock in continuing in its commitment to meeting environmental sustainability targets.

Brock’s innovative 7.9 MW natural gas-fired cogeneration plant produces power to cover most of the Main Campus’ needs.  Each of these four 2750 HP internal combustion engines produces up to 1,976 Kilowatts of electricity at 4160 volts. This power is used for lighting and research equipment operation, building ventilation systems, operation of cafeterias, etc. As the generators produce power, for every 1 Kilowatt of electricity produced approximately 3,412 btu/h is also generated for a total of up to 6.7MMbtu/h of heat per engine. The recovered heat from the cogeneration engines is used to feed the campus hot water heating system.

Did you know? Hot water is less carbon-intensive than steam production, which is why hot water is used instead of steam to heat many campus buildings during winter and produce domestic hot water around campus. In the summertime, the recovered heat is converted by a Lithium Bromide Absorption Chiller to produce chilled water which is used for campus air conditioning systems.

District Energy System Tour

Taking a tour of the district energy system within the Central Utilities Building on campus is a great way to learn more about campus sustainability. The tour walks you through the building’s key features, which includes a complex district energy system. This system consists of a hot water co-generation plant that feeds energy to 80% of Brock’s main campus. The co-generation plant is designed within a tunnel which spans over 2km, allowing water to flow in and out of the plant at the necessary temperatures to heat or cool buildings. Once the water has reached the buildings on campus and completed its “job”, it is pumped back into the Central Utilities Building for reconditioning in order to cool or warm the water once again as needed. 

Interested in learning more and seeing Brock’s district energy system for yourself? Book a tour of the facilities by emailing Drew Cullen at dcullen@brocku.ca.

Scott Johnstone providing tour of the Central Utilities Building.
Scott Johnstone providing tour of the Central Utilities Building.
Scott Johnstone providing tour of the Central Utilities Building.

To learn more about the completion of the District Energy Efficiency Project and the official ribbon cutting ceremony, which took place in February 2020, please visit The Brock News.