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Summer sustainability

Queen’s takes part in a provincial program to reduce stress on the electricity grid by scheduling shut downs of air conditioning during peak times.

Queen’s is once again participating in Ontario’s Electricity Peak Demand Management Program this summer as part of its commitment to financial and environmental sustainability. The university has participated in this program since 2012.

Some air conditioning systems on campus will have scheduled shut down periods on some afternoons between May and September to reduce the university’s use of electricity on the Kingston grid. Programs like this are common for large electricity users such as Queen’s.

Physical Plant Services (PPS) will issue weekly updates to provide advance notice of expected shutdowns. The updates will also be posted on the Gazette and emailed to building managers for distribution to staff. The program will shut down air conditioning in some campus buildings from 3 to 9 pm on especially hot days throughout May, June, July, August, and the first week of September. These times are meant to coincide with expected peaks in provincial demand for electricity. The university is expecting to save over $3.6 million for the 2017-18 fiscal year through participating in this peak demand program.

“Our participation in this program promotes a sustainable energy system in Ontario by reducing the need for the province to purchase additional power, or build new power generating facilities, which can have both financial and environmental costs,” says Donna Janiec, Vice-Principal (Finance and Administration). “The university has also saved an estimated $10.8 million dollars by participating in the program since 2012.”

Air conditioning will not be turned off in buildings that have classes scheduled, and PPS will coordinate with Event Services to minimize the effects on conferences held on campus.

Staff may notice temperature increases during the shutdown time. PPS will attempt to mitigate this by cooling the buildings affected prior to shutdown periods. Anyone with health and safety concerns can contact PPS FIXIT at 613-533-6757 (or internally at extension 77301) or by email.

Find out more about the program on the Queen’s Sustainability website.