Energy and Emissions

As a global leader in sustainability and climate action, UBC uses its land, assets and utilities as a hub for sustainability innovations. UBC has set aggressive greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets. The Vancouver campus now produces 30 percent less GHG emissions than it did in 2007. Our next GHG reduction target is fast approaching – with the actions outlined in the Climate Action Plan 2020 Update, the Vancouver campus is aiming for a 67 percent reduction by 2020.

KEY ACHIEVEMENTS

ENERGY CONSERVATION WITH BUILDING TUNE UP

The ongoing implementation of the Building Tune Up program has so far reduced energy use in over 50 buildings, saves $2.3 million a year in operating costs, and has eliminated over nine percent of campus GHG emissions compared to 2007 levels.

ACADEMIC DISTRICT ENERGY SYSTEM STEAM TO HOT WATER CONVERSION PROJECT

After nearly one hundred years of operation, UBC’s aging steam plant was decommissioned in 2017 as part of UBC’s Academic District Energy System steam to hot water conversion project and has been replaced with a highly efficient 45MW hot water Campus Energy Centre. The project replaced 14km of 90-year-old steam piping and connected over 100 buildings to a more efficient hot water district energy system – altogether improving energy efficiency by over 24 percent.

CLIMATE ACTION PLAN UPDATE AND BRDF EXPANSION

The Climate Action Plan 2020 Update was created to define the actions UBC can take to advance towards a 67 percent GHG emissions reduction by 2020 compared to 2007 levels, and ultimately a 100 percent reduction by 2050.

The plan outlines strategies to reduce GHG emissions through demand-side management for building operations, fleets and paper consumption, as well as increasing renewable energy supply on campus through the expansion of the Bioenergy Research and Demonstration Facility (BRDF).

UBC Okanagan is integrating actions to reduce energy and emissions in campus planning, development and operations. The continued implementation of our Whole Systems Infrastructure Plan (WSIP) is critical to support campus growth and future capital projects. The plan provides direction for achieving reductions in energy use and operational emissions; utility and carbon cost savings; innovative building and infrastructure design; and campus engagement that work towards our Whole Systems Performance Goals.

KEY ACHIEVEMENTS

DISTRICT ENERGY EXPANSION

District energy provides ground-sourced energy to buildings from an aquifer underlying the campus, and significantly reduces consumption of conventional natural gas and associated greenhouse gas emissions. Major projects completed this year included expanding the district energy system to the new Okanagan Commons. District energy system improvements included the addition of a third cooling tower to increase the system’s cooling capacity. In addition, three academic buildings underwent retrofitting to improve energy efficiency and compatibility with the district energy system.

OPERATIONAL SAVINGS THROUGH ENERGY DEMAND REDUCTION

Two demand-side management projects completed this year under the direction of the WSIP and our campus Strategic Energy Management Plan achieved over $100K in utility savings and helped reduce campus GHG emissions. The projects focused on building energy efficiency, energy conservation via behavior change, and other strategies to reduce consumption of energy. Cumulatively, these efforts amount to nearly $900K in savings since 2013.

CLIMATE POLICY DEVELOPMENT

Last year UBC Okanagan’s proposed and aspirational GHG reduction targets were re-calibrated to account for updated campus growth projections. New targets are currently under review, while related capital projects – new student housing developments and the commons building – prioritize low carbon construction and operations toward the achievement of UBC Okanagan’s Whole System Goals.

WHOLE SYSTEMS PERFORMANCE GOALS

#1 Achieve a net-positive performance in operational energy and carbon

#2 Implement a framework that supports low embodied carbon in
future development