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Queen's University

Energy Practices

Power meters

Check out the power-use profiles of our campus buildings through the Live Building Lab

Co-generation: two in one generation of electricity and heat

  • In 2006, the University, in partnership with Kingston General Hospital, brought a new co-generation plant on-line to efficiently produce both steam heat and electricity.

    Why does it matter?The co-generation plant's high thermal efficiency (in excess of 80%) and low emissions (nitrous oxides are limited to less than 25 parts per million and carbon dioxide to less than 50 parts per million) place it at the forefront of world-wide fossil fuel power plants.

    This new plant is actually the third in a line of University co-generation plants that reach back over one hundred years. The first co-generation facility was constructed at Fleming Hall in 1904 and supplied both steam heat and electricity to the small cluster of buildings that made up the campus. In 1923, a larger co-generation plant was built in the University's Central Heating Plant to supply an expanding campus.

  • Cogeneration equipment

  • Provides emergency back-up power
  • Can generate up to 15 mega-watts of power depending on season (07/08 enough to power 3300 Kingston homes)
  • When not providing emergency power to KHG and Queen’s, the Co-Gen units are used to generate and sell electricity back to the grid when electrical pricing is favourable.

Computerized Control Systems

  • In the mid-1980s, the University began installing computerized building control systems to maximize environmental comfort and minimize energy use. Now, more than 90% of campus heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems are controlled by computers
  • Ventilation systems are turned off during unoccupied periods, reducing summer electrical loads, and winter fuel loads to a fifth of what they would otherwise be.
  • Variable-speed fans have been used in all new building since the construction of Stauffer Library in the early 1990s.

Heat Recovery

  • Since the early 1970s, Queen's has used systems that recover heat from building exhaust air and then reuse that heat to warm incoming fresh air.
  • In the Queen's Centre, the heat rejected by air conditioning will be used to heat domestic hot water and the pool, and the heat recovered from steam condensate will be used to heat domestic hot water.
  • Other long-standing examples: Heat recovered from Central Heating Plant chimney exhaust since 1969; heat recovered from the building exhaust system at Botterell Hall since 1976.
  • New building projects use computer-simulated whole building energy consumption models in order to optimize sustainable design.
  • Beamish-Munro/Integrated Learning Centre has, and the Queen's Centre will have, cooling/heating/ventilating systems with energy efficiency criteria that exceed the latest requirements of ASHRAE/IESNA 90.1 (mandatory requirements), Natural Resources Canada's "Commercial Building Incentive Program" (CBIP), and Model National Energy Code for Buildings (MNECB).

Solar Power

Solar panels on Goodwin Hall

  • Ground-breaking project began in 1985 where solar power was used to heat domestic hot water in the Physical Education Centre (panels are now obsolete but the project ran successfully for many years).
  • A photovoltaic array has been installed on Goodwin Hall as part of the Integrated Learning Centre renovation. Although this array is primarily a teaching tool, it does generate around 2% of the building's annual power requirement.


  • Thermo-pane windows have been used in all new construction and in major renovations since the 1960s.
  • Plans are underway to replace energy-inefficient windows in older buildings such as Richardson Hall.

Personal Computer Efficiency

  • On-going program through Physical Plant Services to substitute energy-efficient LCD computer monitors for less efficient CRT monitors.

Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6. 613.533.2000