Sustainability Office

Sustainable Queen's
Sustainable Queen's

CAPit (2014 - 2018)

Through a variety of funding programs, CAPit provided an opportunity to complete significant energy conservation renewal projects involving campus infrastructure and facilities. Completion of these projects has benefited the university in three major ways:

  • Reduction of energy consumption and GHG emissions
  • Generation of savings within the utility budget
  • Replacement of outdated equipment and reduction to the deferred maintenance liability.

Program timeline

  • The first study was done in 2014
  • Completed the concept report in 2015
  • Started construction in 2016
  • Completed construction in 2018

The program was divided into two distinct phases. The first phase involved an energy performance contract and the second phase convert west campus to a district energy system.

Phase 1

The first phase included the development of an ASHRAE Level One Energy Audit of campus and a summary report of the entire campus’ energy consumption, a study of past utility bills, an energy profile for buildings and a list of energy conservation measures, savings potential, high level implementation cost, and potential utility incentives. The audit included the majority of primary campus buildings as well as the supporting infrastructure such as the central heating plant and steam distribution system.

Based on the list of energy conservation measures, the first phase also saw the implementation of over 9000 fluorescent tube light replacements, 1666 LED light retrofits, and over 3000 upgrades to toilets, showers, and faucets. Along with 170 other conservation measures, including building envelope repairs and climate control improvements, these upgrades resulted in a 2800 MTCO2e reduction, and a 185,000 m3 reduction in water usage across 66 buildings at Queen's University.

Funding for phase 1 was secured from the savings to the utility budget through a performance contract with Honeywell, an Energy Service Company (ESCo).

Phase 2

The second phase of CAPit, completed in 2018, included the West Campus District Energy Conversion Project. The project involved the decommissioning of a 2.5 km steam line that runs underground along Union Street from the Central Heating Plant on main campus to the West Campus, and the installation of a new, more efficient boiler system. In contrast to phase 1, the funding for this project was secured as part of the 2017-2018 Ontario Government’s Greenhouse Gas Retrofits program (GGRP).

Lighting Measures

T8 Fluorescent Lighting – Where existing fixtures are in good shape, lamps and ballasts are replaced with new high efficiency T-8 lamps and electronic ballasts. Where existing fixtures are in poor shape, fixtures are replaced with new luminaires containing new T8 lamps and electronic ballasts. As part of the upgrade process, the existing ballasts and lamps are removed from the fixture and disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner.

Advantages of T8 fluorescent lighting, when compared to incandescent lighting, include:

  • Fluorescent bulbs have a longer lamp life lasting up to 20 times longer
  • Tend to burn out less after continuous use
  • Lamps do not give off heat making them ideal for area lighting or heat sensitive areas
  • More energy efficient

LED lighting – selected indoor light fixtures will be replaced with LED style lamps. A light-emitting diode (LED) is a solid state lighting system that creates light far more efficiently and with less wasteful heat produced. Existing incandescent and compact fluorescent lamps are replaced with new LED bulbs.  In some areas new LED fixtures will be installed to replace old fixtures that are in poor shape.

Key advantages of LED lights, especially compared to incandescent lighting, are:

  • low energy consumption/reducing ecological impact
  • low maintenance requirements
  • small size
  • long lifetime – can last up to 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs
  • typically more rugged
  • fast switching time between on/off cycles
  • low heat output
Building Automation Measures

The building automation system (BAS) will be upgraded or expanded using Direct Digital Control (DDC) systems to allow better control of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and other mechanical equipment in selected buildings. A Building Automation System (BAS) controls building heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and other systems. It provides the building operator the ability to monitor and troubleshoot the operation of associated equipment. Connecting multiple mechanical sub-systems, rather than operating them independently, optimizes building operation, lowers energy use, improves occupant comfort and allows off-site building control.

Room temperature and air supply will be automatically controlled by the BAS. Mechanical equipment will be scheduled to turn on and off based on building occupancy schedules. Override buttons will be installed where applicable to start fan systems for occasional after-hours use.

Air Handling Unit Measures - An air handling unit (AHU) is a device used to regulate and circulate air as part of a heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. An air handler connects to ductwork systems that distribute conditioned air through the building and returns it to the AHU. The AHU contains a fan, motor, heating or cooling coils, filters, and dampers. Various components of air handling units will be upgraded to provide better control of air flow to match occupancy requirements.

Zone Dampers - Throughout the university there are several air handling systems that provide ventilation to multiple areas in a building with different occupancy schedules and hours of operation. In order to provide the required amount of ventilation to each unique area, zone dampers are used to isolate shorter occupancy zones from longer ones.  Motorized zone dampers will be installed in the air distribution ductwork that will be controlled by the BAS. Motion detectors, occupancy schedules and temperature sensors located in zones will control the damper operation.

Variable Frequency Drives - A variable frequency drive (VFD) is a type of motor controller that variates the frequency supplied to an electric motor. If an application doesn’t need an electric motor to run at full speed, the VFD can slow down the motor by reducing the frequency to just meet the requirements of the electric motor load, thus not using unneeded energy.

VFDs will be installed on the supply and return fan motors to control air flow rates. Existing fan motors will be replaced with high efficiency models.

Air Handling Unit Heat Recovery - In buildings with a large amount of exhaust and fresh supply air there is the opportunity to reuse energy exhausted from the building to pre-heat or pre-cool outside air. This involves adding a heat recovery system between the air intake and the air exhaust ducts.

Steam Traps

For buildings with steam heating systems, steam traps prevent steam from passing through the system by ensuring that steam has condensed back to liquid water before returning to the heating plant.  Steam traps can leak or fail allowing hot steam to pass through the system or escape to the atmosphere wasting heating energy.  All steam traps in the buildings will be tested and failing traps will be replaced with new ones.  This can significantly reduce energy loss in heating systems.

Water Conservation Measures

Plumbing Fixtures - There are many water efficient technologies available today that can significantly reduce water use as well as operating and maintenance costs. Low-flow plumbing fixtures offer water efficiency without compromising their effectiveness. New low-flow plumbing fixtures will be installed in select areas including aerators, shower heads, toilet tanks, flush valves and urinals.

Process Water Systems - Many refrigeration and cooling systems use a significant amount of city water during their operation.  Heat is removed from the refrigeration systems using city water which is then dumped down the drain which is wasteful. These systems will be retrofitted to a closed loop water cooling system that reuses the water or to air cooled system.

Building Envelope Measures

Air leakage is uncontrolled migration of conditioned air through the building envelope and is caused by pressure differences due to wind, stack effect and mechanical system imbalances. Air leakage represents a significant source of heat loss or gain through the building envelope. In addition to the potential for energy savings, uncontrolled air leakage can affect occupant comfort and air quality and damage the building’s structural integrity due to moisture migration.

Controlling air leakage involves sealing gaps, cracks and holes with materials and systems that create a continuous “air-tight” barrier around the building envelope. Primary areas of focus are doors, windows, wall penetrations and roof/wall joints which will be sealed as part of this project.


By the numbers

2800 tonne carbon reduction 185,000 m3 water reduction
66 campus buildings 170 conservation measures
1147 toilet retrofits 61 urinals retrofits
353 shower head replacements 1523 faucet moderators installed
1666 LED retrofits 1364 upgraded ballasts
9216 fluorescent tube replacements