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Green initiatives moving full steam ahead

Construction underway on new heating system for West Campus.

Construction work being done on the steam line.
Work is underway on the West Campus District Energy Conversion Project. (Supplied Photo)

Construction has begun on the West Campus District Energy Conversion Project – a $10.5 million retrofit that will replace an inefficient 46-year-old underground steam line with a new heating system. Transitioning to the new infrastructure will reduce Queen’s University’s greenhouse gas emissions by another 1,500 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year. The project was made possible through an $8.9 million provincial government funding contribution.

“Queen’s has made tremendous progress toward the sustainability and fiscal goals laid out in our Climate Action Plan,” says Donna Janiec, Vice-Principal (Finance and Administration). “With projects like the West Campus District Energy Conversion Project underway, we continue to push toward our target of being carbon neutral by 2040.”

Work on the West Campus District Energy Conversion Project is scheduled to be completed by April 2019. Plans involve decommissioning a 2.5-kilometre steam line that runs underground along Union Street from the Central Heating Plant on main campus to West Campus. New, more efficient boiler systems at West Campus locations will be installed. The upgrade will address a $9 million deferred maintenance liability and put Queen’s on pace to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by a cumulative 33,000 metric tonnes over the next two decades.

This project follows the successful completion of the CAPit Program, which saw over 9,000 fluorescent tube lights replaced, 1,666 LED lights retrofitted, and upgrades to more than 3,000 toilets, showers, and faucets. Between building envelope repairs, climate control improvements, and 170 other conservation measures, these upgrades resulted in a 2,800-tonne reduction in carbon emissions, and a 185,000-cubic metre reduction in water usage across 66 buildings at Queen's University.

“That’s the equivalent of taking 944 mid-sized cars off Canadian roads and conserving 84 Queen’s Centre swimming pools worth of water,” says Aaron Ball, Queen’s Sustainability Manager. “These figures, together with the projected reductions from the steam line project, show us that real results are possible – and we are excited to carry this momentum forward as we identify more ways to promote and enhance sustainability at the university.”

Learn more about the West Campus District Energy Conversion Project and more campus green initiatives on the Queen’s Sustainability website.