FAQ on UVic District Energy Plant

The University of Victoria can reduce its greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) by more than 50 per cent from 2010 levels—years ahead of its 2030 target—thanks in part to a $2.4-million investment from the Government of Canada’s Low Carbon Economy Fund. 

This funding will allow the university to replace one of the natural-gas boilers in its District Energy Plant with two electric boilers, reducing the emissions from district energy heating by nearly 5,200 tonnes of CO2 per year—equivalent to taking roughly 1,200 gas-powered cars off the road for a year. That compares with more than 9,200 tonnes emitted by the plant in 2010.

On campus on Friday, Julie Dabrusin, parliamentary secretary for the ministers of Environment and Climate Change Canada and Energy and Natural Resources Canada, launched the fund’s new application period by highlighting UVic’s project—a 2022 fund recipient. 

Q: What is UVic’s GHG reduction target?

A: UVic’s Climate and Sustainability Action Plan sets the target of reducing emissions by 50 per cent from 2010 levels (i.e., 15,545 tCO2e)

Q: How is UVic doing? 

A: UVic has already decreased emissions by 27 per cent to 11,294 tCO2e through multiple carbon-reduction initiatives like building-system upgrades, lighting replacements, purchasing initiatives, fleet electrification, etc.

Q: Will UVic reach its targets?

A: The District Energy Plant Electrification Project will further decrease campus emissions by 5,200 tCO2e per year, allowing UVic to achieve a projected 57 per cent emission reduction compared to 2010 levels by 2026—that’s four years ahead of schedule.

Q: Is electricity clean?

A: Electric boilers leverage the availability of clean hydroelectricity from BC Hydro, making them an environmentally friendly choice. BC electricity emits approximately 15 times less CO2 than natural gas.

Q: Will this be expensive? 

A: UVic has completed a detailed analysis of all the options available to decrease carbon emissions from campus buildings. The electric boiler option has by far the lowest lifecycle cost of all the options available and allows UVic to quickly leverage external funding opportunities like the Government of Canada’s Low Carbon Economy Fund.

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Keywords: community, sustainability, administrative, clean energy, climate, government, funding

People: Kristi Simpson

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