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U of Calgary Targets $38 Million Savings from Energy Efficiency Program

The University of Calgary has signed on for a seven-year energy management program that will yield a forecasted $38 million in energy savings. It will be the catalyst for a new generation of sustainability initiatives and buildings on campus, with built-in technologies directly involving students and researchers.

"There is no doubt that this partnership means millions of dollars in energy savings for the U of C," said Dr. Harvey Weingarten, president and vice chancellor. "What makes it unique in Canada is the integration of energy, research, and the direct support for students and their academic programs." The initiative is unfolding under the umbrella of the University's Institute for Sustainable Energy, Environment, and Economy.

"We're not just saving energy, we're changing the way we use energy. We are creating a living laboratory on campus," Weingarten said.

The University of Calgary campus is the single largest point of energy usage in the city, with the main campus' energy costs topping $17 million per year. In addition to projected energy consumption reductions of more than $30 million, the university's new energy management program, dubbed "evolve," is expected to reduce campus CO2 emissions by 14,500 metric tons -- the equivalent of taking 2,960 vehicles off the road.

The agreement includes:
  • $3.5 million in student scholarships
  • $3 million for sustainable energy education and research
  • $1.75 million in research Chair in Sustainable Energy
  • $16.8 million in savings on energy usage of current facilities
  • $13.3 million in energy savings in planned facilities for the future
For example, students and faculty will be able to walk into any building on campus and see a real-time monitor that shows how much energy is being consumed, the improvement in energy usage year-over-year, and how their own activities and behavior can change usage.

As part of the project, Direct Energy Business Services will also explore alternate energy sources such as wind power to ensure evolve aligns with the University of Calgary's six attributes of energy sustainability: energy alternatives, procurement, conversion, distribution, green building technologies, and utilization.

The partnership is also linked to the University's Sustainability Initiative. "Our challenge is to implement a campus-wide environmental management system. Waste minimization, water management, and resource conservation are all priorities that dovetail with this partnership," said Mike McAdam, vice president of finance and services. "It is everything from using hybrid cars to 'smart' buildings -- and all of it tied to student academic programs."

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