Fighting climate change, one building at a time

Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2020

University of Ottawa Energy and Environment Manager Faizal Sudoollah talks to three Enbridge Gas executives in a mechanical room

Enbridge Gas officials, accompanied by Faizal Sudoollah, Energy and Environment Manager at uOttawa, tour the facilities in the basement of Morisset Hall. This hall has achieved net zero energy efficiency, meaning that it generates as much energy as it uses.

When it comes to protecting the environment, every little bit counts. Even so, large-scale measures are vital in the fight against climate change.

Recently, the Biosciences Complex and Colonel By Hall underwent extensive retrofitting to reduce their energy consumption and improve their carbon footprint. These improvements have reduce their CO2 emissions by 2,263 tons a year, the equivalent of removing 686 vehicles from the road. What’s more, these efforts have earned the University a $220,000 incentive from Enbridge Gas, which will be reinvested in more energy efficiency projects across campus. 

This brings the University one step closer to its climate change target: a 30% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by by 2030.

Leading by example

As an institution of higher education, the University of Ottawa has the ability to find solutions to global challenges and the responsibility be a leader in sustainable development. For this reason, the University has set ambitious goals for itself.

As a matter of fact, the Transformation 2030 strategic plan includes a comprehensive medium- to long-term roadmap to retrofit our buildings in order to ensure responsible and sustainable growth of our infrastructure.

The EcoProsperity program is one of these sustainability initiatives. This program guides the planning for major campus building retrofits that aim to significantly reduce energy consumption, decrease operating costs, and minimize GHG emissions.

The Biosciences Complex and Colonel By Hall are the ninth and tenth campus facilities to be retrofitted as part of this program. 

Recycling heat helps reduce the campus’ carbon footprint 

Several facilities at the University of Ottawa were built long before the establishment of today’s energy efficiency standards and methods. Consequently, renovations generally include replacing outdated systems with new technology that is cleaner, more efficient, and more intelligent. 

For example, heat recovery systems have been installed that heat air coming into buildings using stale warm air which is being exhausted outdoors. Any extra heat is shared with other buildings. We apply the same principle to the thermal energy in wastewater, which can be used to heat or cool other systems. 

And there are more sources of energy on campus than you might think. For example, consider the heat generated in rooms that house furnaces, boilers, or the many computer servers used in day-to-day operations. This formerly wasted energy can now be recovered and used. We even go so far as to harness the body heat produced by the many people who work and study in our facilities.

By optimizing our resources, we decrease the energy needed to maintain comfortable room temperature in our buildings. The equation is simple: by reducing our natural gas consumption, we reduce our GHG emissions. 

However, the renovations themselves are not always so simple. Teams of experts laboured for two-and-a-half years to complete the most recent projects, which were even more challenging due to the many labs in the Biosciences Complex and Colonel By Hall. Kudos to these teams for their achievement!

Receiving industry recognition 

Partnering with Enbridge has allowed us not only to assess the actual results and effectiveness of these retrofits, but also to reinvest in a fund that helps us finance and more quickly instigate the next round of energy efficiency measures.

To date, the University of Ottawa has received nearly $1 million in energy efficiency retrofit rebates from Enbridge, whose expertise allows us to confirm that these efforts are really making a difference.

A group of dignitaries hold the giant cheque presented by Enbridge Gas to the University of Ottawa, with the amount of $220,000 written on it.

Enbridge Gas officials deliver a cheque to the University of Ottawa for the recent energy efficiency retrofits to the Biosciences Complex and Colonel By Hall. From left to right: Damir Naden, P. Eng., CEM., Supervisor Large Industrial and Institutional Sales at Enbridge Gas; Faizal Sudoollah, Energy and Environment Manager at uOttawa; Malini Giridhar, CFA, Vice President Business Development and Regulatory at Enbridge Gas; Robert Bourgeois, Interim Vice-President, Resources at uOttawa; Marc-Antoine Joly, Associate Vice-President, Facilities at uOttawa; Michael Fakhouri; P. Eng., MBA, Senior Advisor Energy Solutions at Enbridge Gas. 

A history of energy efficiency retrofits on campus 

2019 Colonel By Hall 

2019 Biosciences Complex 

2017 Minto Sports Complex 

2016 Roger Guindon Hall 

2013 Morisset Hall 

2012 Roger Guindon Hall 

2012 SITE Building 

2012 Desmarais Building 

2011 Power Plant 

2009 Fauteux Hall 

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