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Financial Sustainability

Reducing energy demand

When temperatures soar the provincial power grid sees higher than usual power demand which translates into enormous costs for large users such as Queen’s. To reduce costs, Queen’s utilizes the two cogeneration units located at the Central Heating Plan on King Street that generate power for main campus and thereby reduce the quantity of power that Queen’s pulls off the grid.

"Sustainability Week"Additionally, Queen’s selectively turns off chillers in 15 buildings across campus to further reduce energy consumption. The measures to reduce power demand on campus have directly resulted in almost $10 million in avoided costs to the Queen’s electricity budget since 2012.

These avoided costs are made possible by the billing structure for large energy users – also called the Industrial Conservation Initiative – a billing structure that was implemented in part to reduce emissions from electricity generation in Ontario.

The incentive serves two purposes: to avoid the need for additional installed generating capacity, and to reduce reliance on natural gas generation.

The Ontario grid is supplied by a mix of generators at any given time, most of which do not contribute to GHG emissions. In fact only about 10 per cent of electricity in Ontario is generated from fossil fuels. The large majority of electricity comes from nuclear and hydroelectric generation. However, natural gas generators are relied on disproportionately during days of high power demand. This is because natural gas generators can easily modulate their output which is necessary to match the changing provincial demand. Other sources of energy such as nuclear don’t have the ability to vary their output quickly.

There can be serious consequences if the power demand in the province is not in balance with the available generation. However, if we are able to reduce power demand as a province on days when we might rely on natural gas the most – that is, days when we see a rapid spike in power consumption – then we can collectively reduce the carbon impact of all electrically powered devices.

“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).

Queen’s has participated in the Industrial Conservation Initiative since 2012. The university’s efforts over the past five years have been a small part of a provincial effort to make our grid as clean as it can be. 

Upcoming 2017-18 budget public presentations

Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Benoit-Antoine Bacon presents the 2017-18 budget to the Queen's Managerial and Professional Group. (University Communications)

Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic), Benoit-Antoine Bacon, and Vice-Principal (Finance and Administration), Donna Janiec, will deliver budget presentations to staff and faculty interested in learning more about the university’s financial priorities in the year ahead.

The presentations will include an overview of the overall budget and of new funded initiatives, an update on the university’s pension, and an opportunity for questions. There will be two presentations to choose from: Wednesday, October 11 from 10:30 to 11:30 am in the School of Kinesiology Room 101, and Friday, October 20 from 10:30 to 11:30 am in Duncan McArthur Hall Room A342 (NOTE: the location of this presentation was updated October 6).

Space is limited, so organizers request that you RSVP to secure your seat. Alternately, the October 20 presentation will be recorded and posted at a later date.

Those seeking an accommodation or presentation materials in an accessible format should contact the Office of the Provost or indicate this on their RSVP.

Campus Electricity Demand Reduction Notification: Sept. 25 and Sept. 26

In order to reduce electricity costs and contribute to the sustainability of the province’s energy system, the university is once again participating in an electricity peak demand reduction program this summer.

Due to increasing provincial demand and high temperatures, there will be demand reductions today (Monday, Sept. 25) and tomorrow (Tuesday, Sept. 26).

Please note that all academic buildings and libraries are exempt from the program on both dates.

Wednesday, Sept. 27 also has potential for a demand reduction; however, a separate notice will be issued on Wednesday morning to either confirm or cancel the reduction.

To learn more about the electricity peak demand reduction program, visit the Queen’s Sustainability Office website. Those with questions may also contact Fixit at extension 77301 (internal), 613-533-6757 (external) or email.

Campus Electricity Demand Reduction Notification: Sept. 20

In order to reduce electricity costs and contribute to the sustainability of the province’s energy system, the university is once again participating in an electricity peak demand reduction program this summer.

Due to increasing provincial demand and high temperatures, today (Wednesday, Sept. 20) will be our 12th demand reduction day of the summer. There is also potential for a demand reduction on Sept. 21, 22 and 23; however, a separate notice will be issued each morning to either confirm or cancel the reduction. Attached is a bulletin detailing the forecast for the balance of this week.

To learn more about the electricity peak demand reduction program, please visit the Queen’s Sustainability Office website. Those with questions may also contact Fixit at extension 77301 (internal), 613-533-6757 (external) or email.

Campus electricity demand reduction notification: Wed Jul 12

In order to reduce electricity costs and contribute to the sustainability of the province’s energy system, the university is once again participating in an electricity peak demand management program this summer. 

Due to persisting high temperatures and humidity levels across the province, today (Wednesday, July 12) will be the third Electricity Demand Response Day of the summer. During the hours of 3 - 8 p.m., the following buildings will be affected:

Chiller to remain running with reduced load:

  • BioSciences Complex - Atrium and Lecture Theatres
  • Chernoff Hall - Administration Wing & Auditorium
  • Douglas Library - Except Special Collections

Chiller to remain off for expected response duration:

  • Beamish-Munro Hall
  • Gordon Hall
  • Jeffery Hall
  • Macdonald Hall
  • Rideau Building
  • Stauffer Library
  • Watson Hall

Exceptions:

  • Dunning Hall and Richardson Hall (4 PM - 6 PM only)
  • Queen’s Centre and School of Kinesiology (4 PM - 6 PM only)

Note: If thunderstorms enter the province as expected late this afternoon, the Electricity Demand Response may be cancelled.

If you are interested in helping with the response, please turn off non-essential lighting during the day and shutdown your computers and other non-essential equipment before you leave at the end of the day. 

To learn more about the electricity peak demand management program, visit the Queen’s Sustainability Office website. Those with questions may also contact Fixit at extension 77301 (internal), 613-533-6757 (external) or email.

Campus electricity demand reduction notification: Tues Jul 11 (confirmed)

In order to reduce electricity costs and contribute to the sustainability of the province’s energy system, the university is once again participating in an electricity peak demand management program this summer. 

Due to high temperatures and humidity levels across the province, today (Tuesday, July 11) will be the second Electricity Demand Response Day of the summer.

Chiller to remain running with reduced load:

  • BioSciences Complex - Atrium and Lecture Theatres
  • Chernoff Hall - Administration Wing & Auditorium
  • Douglas Library - Except Special Collections

Chiller to remain off for expected response duration:

  • Beamish-Munro Hall
  • Gordon Hall
  • Jeffery Hall
  • Macdonald Hall
  • Rideau Building
  • Stauffer Library
  • Watson Hall

Exceptions:

  • Dunning Hall and Richardson Hall (4 PM - 6 PM only)
  • Queen’s Centre and School of Kinesiology (4 PM - 6 PM only)

More information about the electricity peak demand management program is available on the sustainability website. Those with questions may also contact Fixit at extension 77301 (internal), 613-533-6757 (external) or email.

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.

Responsible Investing Policy approved

The Queen’s Board of Trustees approved a new Responsible Investing Policy for the university during its meeting on Saturday, May 13.

The Responsible Investing Policy and corresponding procedures were unanimously approved by the board, replacing the March 2009 Statement on Responsible Investing.

“A new policy was necessary to ensure that Queen’s is consistent with institutional best practices in the area of responsible investing,” says Don Raymond, Chair of the Board of Trustees and former chair of the Board’s Investment Committee. “The new policy balances the overall goal of maximizing returns while also providing an avenue for members of the Queen’s community to make special requests, as we saw with the discussion on divestment from fossil fuels by the Principal’s Advisory Committee.”

The approval completes a nearly two-year process and builds upon recommendations made by the Principal’s Advisory Committee on Divestment: Fossil Fuels in its October 2015 final report. Following the release of the report feedback was sought from the Queen’s community to help inform the revisions.

The new policy sets the principles that govern responsible investing practices at the university, and recognizes that the university can make an impact through several means, highlighting shareholder engagement with corporations and through its core mission as an educational and research institution.

The new procedures provide a mechanism for the university to engage with its external investment managers on environmental, social, and governance factors, and outline criteria for consideration and a process for handling a special request that is received from the university community.

“This process has drawn valuable feedback and information and I would like to thank all of those who have expressed interest and devoted their time and expertise in creating a policy that meets the principles and needs of the university and the diverse stakeholders that make up the Queen’s community,” says Mr. Raymond, adding that the process received input from groups and individuals with a range of views, including Queen’s Backing Action on Climate Change.

Visit the University Secretariat and Legal Counsel website to review  the procedure on External Investment Manager ESG Monitoring and the procedure on Special Requests.

Board of Trustees approves 2017-18 budget

The Queen’s University Board of Trustees approved the university’s 2017-18 budget at its May meeting, ensuring the university can make critical reinvestments in its academic mission while maintaining a stable financial footing for the future.

“We have had to make some tough decisions over the past several years, and our hard work is paying off. The time has come for a serious reinvestment in our faculty, the primary creators of both our student learning experience and our research achievements,” says Queen’s Principal Daniel Woolf. “I am pleased that important priorities like faculty renewal, the hiring of faculty-based research facilitators, and diversity and equity initiatives can now proceed. It will be important, as we re-invest over the coming years, that we take advantage of this opportunity to diversify our professorial ranks while continuing to allocate resources in strategic ways.”

Balanced budget

The 2017-18 budget is balanced with projected revenues of $555.2 million. The university is committed to presenting balanced budgets for the next two fiscal years. This will be achieved both due to careful management of costs, and by achieving the enrolment targets set by the university’s Strategic Enrolment Management Group (SEMG). The undergraduate entry class remains the same size as in the previous two years, since the opening of the new residences, but the university will experience modest overall growth as the first of these slightly larger entering classes now flows through to third year.

The university continues to face challenges with a large pension deficit and deferred maintenance issues. Ongoing efforts are being made to mitigate these risks, with specific allocations amounting to $6.9 million for the pension reserve and $10.3 million for facilities repairs and upkeep.

Faculty growth and renewal

The approval of this new budget means Queen’s is hiring – up to 41 new tenure stream faculty will be hired in 2017-18, as part of a five-year plan that aims to bring up to 200 new faculty positions to Queen’s, including up to 20 Queen’s National Scholars positions.

“We remain focused on enhancing our student learning experience and bolstering the impact of our research, and these new tenure stream positions will make a difference today and ensure our continued success in the future,” says Benoit-Antoine Bacon, Provost and Vice Principal (Academic). “I want to thank all the stakeholders who took part in the 2017-18 budget planning process, especially the decanal team who has made this ambitious hiring plan possible.”

In addition, the university is adding four faculty-based research facilitators – individuals who will provide systematic support in the preparation and administration of grants to facilitate and advance the work of Queen’s researchers.

Ongoing funding has also been allocated for classroom renewals, IT upgrades, and staffing for the sexual violence prevention and student conduct office.

Institutional priorities

As per the final report from the Principal’s Implementation Committee on Diversity, Racism, and Inclusion, there will be ongoing central allocations for equity, diversity, and inclusion initiatives every year for the next three years. Central funds also continue to flow towards the revitalization of our teaching spaces. Additionally, beginning in 2017-18, the university will be allocating money to support industry partnerships and technology transfer. This funding relates to the outcome of the technology transfer and commercialization review, the results of which were announced earlier this year as PARTEQ Innovations, the university’s technology transfer arm, was absorbed into the institution

The 2017-18 Budget Report can be viewed on the Financial Services website.

New procurement system set to launch

Queen’s new electronic procurement system will start rolling out across campus later this month.

“After extensive collaboration and engagement with the Queen’s community, we are excited to launch acQuire,” says Heather Woermke, Associate Vice-Principal (Finance). “Faculty, staff, and researchers will soon have an easy-to-use system that will better support their procure to pay activities.”

[acQuire]
acQuire, Queen's new electronic procurement system, will start rolling out across campus later this month.

The implementation of acQuire will be staggered, with the Faculty of Education, the Department of Chemistry, Environmental Health and Safety, and the Finance and Administration portfolio receiving access first. Shared service business units will begin using acQuire in June, while the rest of the faculties will have access in July and August.

The project team will co-ordinate the rollout with business officers and departmental administrators for each faculty and shared service.

Benefits of acQuire

Queen’s is one of several Ontario universities that have implemented e-procurement systems in recent years. With online systems in place, universities have realized efficiencies and cost savings. acQuire will also:

  • Eliminate the need for multiple usernames and passwords for different vendors.
  • Allow users to shop from multiple vendors, adding items to their shopping cart but only having to check out once.
  • Provide automated workflow for purchase orders and invoice approvals.
  • Make it easier for shoppers to find, compare, and make their selection of products from suppliers.
  • Reduce the wait time between placing an order and having it filled by the supplier.
  • Provide clear tracking and visibility of where purchase requisitions, orders, and invoicing are in the process.
  • Support electronic supplier invoices, improving the efficiency of accounts payable processes.

“The new tool set will drive improved efficiency for Queen’s, and our team is very excited and looking forward to the go-live date,” says Andy Green, Director, Strategic Procurement Services.

Training resources available

The acQuire project team will be working with departmental administrators and faculty business officers to coordinate training for each department. Online training resources will also be available on demand.

If anyone has any questions on training or on the acQuire system, they can go to www.queensu.ca/procurement/acquire or send an email to acquire@queensu.ca. Any researchers who would like customized training for their lab should contact the acQuire team at acquire@queensu.ca

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