Top of QNC Building with blue sky and tree


We're committed to managing energy use on campus.

Waterloo's buildings and equipment are a major source of emissions. Waterloo is committed to managing energy use on campus through conservation and efficiency measures. These programs and investments are guided by the Shift:Neutral climate and energy action plan.

Guage on utility pipe

Energy audit 

In 2020 and 2021, Waterloo worked with external auditors to conduct a review of campus buildings to better understand the use of energy throughout the campus and to identify opportunities for efficiency improvements. The auditors conducted an ASHRAE Level 1 audit of all campus buildings, with a representative sample of six buildings receiving a more detailed Level 2 audit. The audit generated a list of hundreds of energy conservation measures, which are currently being prioritized for implementation.

LEED Platinum Environment 3

Building standards 

In fall 2021, Waterloo approved energy and emissions performance standards for the development of new buildings and released the first Net Neutral Building Guideline for all new construction. The University has historically shadowed LEED Silver design, and occasionally pursued certification, as it did for the LEED Platinum Certified Environment 3. The new building design guidelines emphasize passive design and strict energy efficiency targets.  

Aerial view of district energy central plant

Central Plant 

Waterloo's central plant is a district heating and cooling system that supports most of South Campus. It produces steam and chilled water to circulate among campus buildings. This system is more cost efficient than individual boilers and air conditioners in each building. Additional energy-saving measures include pipe insulation to reduce heat loss, heat recovery systems to improve boiler efficiency that save ~2 million m3 of natural gas annually, and variable speed pumps that save ~250,000 kilowatt hours of energy each year.


Energy efficiency 

Waterloo has integrated energy efficiency measures across campus through various projects and programs. These vary from building to building, but include lighting retrofits, server upgrades, variable refrigerant flow (VRF) systems, daylight and motion sensors, and energy recovery ventilation (ERV).

Solar panels on roof of EV3

Renewable energy 

Waterloo has two solar panel arrays operating on its south campus. The first was installed in 2003 on Federation Hall through the Solar Technology Education Project as a demonstration. In 2011, Waterloo also installed a 60 kWh solar array on top of Environment 3.

Three piles of coins with seedlings coming out of top to symbolize green funding

Revolving Fund 

The Revolving Fund is a new tool to catalyze projects across campus that generate competitive cost savings and help Waterloo improve its energy and water efficiency, managed by the Sustainability Office and Plant Operations. 

White plastic home with tiered A through G ranking system to symbolize home energy efficiency

Community resources 

There are also several community programs and resources to help you conserve energy at home, such as: