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Reducing peak energy consumption

Entering its sixth year, the Queen’s Electricity Demand Management program continues to help the university reduce its energy expenditures.

A key part of the university’s commitment to financial and environmental sustainability, the program involves shutting down air conditioning systems in a number of campus buildings on afternoons when electricity demand is at its highest.

In the 2016-17 fiscal year about 60 per cent of the university’s nearly $10 million electricity budget was dedicated to a “global adjustment” charge, which is calculated based on Queen’s share of the total provincial electricity demand during the five peak hours from the previous year.

“This program is a real success story for Queen’s in terms of our ongoing commitment to environmental and financial sustainability,” says Donna Janiec, Vice-Principal (Finance and Administration). “In 2016 the cost avoidance from participating in the program totaled approximately $2.6 million.”

Under the program Physical Plant Services (PPS) will shut down air conditioning systems in a number of buildings on days in July, August and early September when provincial electricity demand is at its highest. Combined with the university’s cogeneration activities, the program is expected to result in reducing the university’s electricity bill by $5 million in fiscal year 2017-18.

“This program is a real success story for Queen’s in terms of our ongoing commitment to environmental and financial sustainability. In 2016 the cost avoidance from participating in the program totaled approximately $2.6 million.”
                                             – Donna Janiec, Vice-Principal (Finance and Administration)

Building occupants will notice temperature increases, but where possible PPS will mitigate this effect by cooling buildings before the shutdown. Health and safety is a top priority and building temperatures will be closely monitored.

PPS will issue weekly notices to inform building occupants of the timing of the shutdowns. Air conditioning systems will not be turned off in buildings when there are classes scheduled and PPS will coordinate with Event Services to minimize the effects on conferences that are being held on campus.

“By participating in the Electricity Demand Management program Queen’s is helping promote a sustainable energy system in Ontario by reducing the need for the province to purchase additional power or build new generation facilities,” says Vice-Principal Janiec.

Created in 2005, the global adjustment offsets the costs of renewable power generation and provides an incentive for large electricity users to cut their usage during provincial peaks. This reduces or delays the need to purchase electricity or increase power generation capacity in the province, both of which carry financial and environmental costs.

More information about the program, including which buildings will be affected, is available on the Queen’s Sustainability website. Anybody with questions about the program may contact FIXIT at ext. 77301, 613-533-6757 or by email.