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New heating system to reduce emissions on campus

Provincial funding supporting the switch to a new heating system for buildings on west campus.

Queen’s University has secured $8.9 million in funding to modernize the way the university heats buildings west of main campus with the West Campus District Energy Conversion project, or District Energy project.

Currently, Queen’s relies on a Central Heating Plant, located on main campus, to meet most of the university’s heating needs. The boilers in this system are fueled by natural gas to provide steam for heating and hot water. In order to transport the steam to West Campus, there are 2.5 kilometers of 46-year-old underground steam lines along Union Street that result in significant energy loss. Once the new District Energy system is in place, these steam and condensate lines will be decommissioned, addressing a $9 million deferred maintenance liability.

The District Energy project will transform the heating system for more than 700,000 square feet of academic and student residential space, including Duncan McArthur Hall, Jean Royce Halls 1 and 2, and John Orr Tower on west campus as well as the Donald Gordon Centre and the Saint Mary’s of the Lake building.

This project gives the university an opportunity to upgrade the heating systems to a cleaner, more efficient natural gas system with dedicated high-efficiency boilers located at each of the sites above.

“The District Energy project is a great example of the sustainable work being done at Queen’s to reach our carbon neutral target in 2040,” says Donna Janiec, Vice-Principal (Finance and Administration). “This project will support Queen’s sustainability and fiscal priorities by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, fuel costs, and the deferred maintenance liability. It will also provide data, project opportunities, and research topics for student research.”

Thanks to funding from the Ontario Ministry of Advanced Education and Skill Development, the project has commenced and will be completed by April 2019.

“I am so pleased that Queen’s University is receiving this funding through the Greenhouse Gas Retrofits program,” says Sophie Kiwala, MPP for Kingston and the Islands. “Through this investment, Ontario is not only reducing greenhouse gas pollution and supporting student achievement, but also working to prolong the life of the infrastructure at these institutions. By investing in repairs and retrofits, we are ensuring that institutions across the province will be here to educate students now and for generations to come.”

In addition to supporting the provincial Climate Change Action Plan’s GHG reduction targets, the District Energy Project will help achieve the Principal’s 2016 Climate Action Plan, which set the target for Queen’s to become carbon neutral by 2040. As of 2016, the university has achieved an overall reduction of greenhouse gas emissions of 24 percent from 2008 levels with current emission levels of 44,000 metric tonnes (MT) of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) per year. The new project will reduce Queen’s GHG emissions by 1,500 MT of CO2e annually, with a cumulative total reduction of 33,000 MT CO2e by 2040.