U of C Meets National GHG Goal Decade Ahead of Schedule

Connector Fall 2018

The University of Calgary has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent since 2008, reaching the Government of Canada’s goal for emission reduction more than a decade before the national target of 2028.

According to a UToday article, the reduction is equivalent to 69,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually – roughly the same as the energy generated by 17 wind turbines in a year. Currently, the U of C’s annual carbon footprint is roughly 165,000 tonnes of carbon-dioxide equivalents, the equivalent of the energy use of 17,800 homes in a year.

The national target comes from the 2015 Paris Agreement – which Canada is a signatory of – that sets a 30-per-cent reduction target in greenhouse gas emissions from 2005 levels by 2028. The U of C’s 2010 CAP also lays out a further reduction target of 80 per cent by 2050.

One strategy adopted by the university as part of CAP is the 2012 installation of an on-campus cogeneration plant, which uses hot exhaust gasses released during the production of electricity to heat water to 205 C. The water is then pumped to buildings across campus, where it is used for space-heating and hot water.

Since 2011, the U of C has also invested in greater energy efficiencies in existing buildings through two programs: the Energy Savings Initiative (ESI) and the Utility Reductions Program (URPr). Since their introduction, building upgrades like retrofitting light fixtures with LED bulbs, optimization of heating, ventilation and air conditioning, and updating building control systems have all contributed to the reduction in campus emissions.

One visible part of the university’s climate initiatives is the redevelopment of MacKimmie Tower and Block. Part of the purpose of the project is to attain net carbon neutrality for the building, and to reduce the building’s energy use by 90 per cent.

Becoming a low-carbon campus has not come without hiccups. The original 2010 CAP set a more ambitious target of a 49 per cent of reduction in emissions from 2008 levels by 2015 – a reduction that has yet to be achieved three years after the target date. The CAP’s next goal is a 56 per cent reduction by 2020.

Source: The Gauntlet