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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.