Thanks to $11.6 million in provincial funding, Western University just got greener.
Announced today, the new provincial Greenhouse Gas Reduction Program has awarded the university an $11.6 million grant to reduce fossil fuel and greenhouse gas emissions to below mandated levels.
This grant will allow Western to use waste heat from its power plant in other buildings, and further, to transition from steam to low-temperature heating systems in two facilities: the Spencer Engineering Building and the Claudette MacKay-Lassonde Pavilion. These changes will increase efficiencies by centralizing steam production at Western's power plant thereby reducing the university's natural gas consumption.
President Amit Chakma announced the new funding on April 3 at Western's Innovation and Impact Symposium, and he commented on the promise of this program.
"The impact of this investment will reduce our emissions by 12 per cent [from 2016 levels] and our cost savings in the amount of $1.5 million annually," Chakma said.
Overall, the proposed upgrades could reduce the amount of steam the university requires for heating and improve efficiencies at Western's power plant; this would reduce the amount of natural gas used for generating steam and chilled water.
The Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development allotted $85.2 million to Ontario’s universities to aid in the reduction of greenhouse gases. Western was chosen as one of eight schools to receive funding through a competitive application process where a sustainability program was proposed.
Construction at Spencer Engineering will commence in July and is predicted to be completed in March 2019.
"We have a student body that is very supportive of sustainability," Chakma said. "Sustainability is alive and well at Western."