Toronto, ON — Humber College is looking at reducing its carbon emissions by retrofitting its entire heating system.
The North Campus location, located in Etobicoke, Ont, will switch its steam-based system, which was constructed in 1972, to a hot water system that generates heat using mostly electricity.
Once operational, the Switch Project is projected to result in a 70 per cent reduction in natural gas use, along with a 40 per cent reduction in carbon emissions.
“I am proud to be a part of an institution with such a strong commitment and high standards for building a better future for all. I see Humber’s value of sustainability lived each day, and Switch is a very important milestone for our campus and our climate,” said Anne Marie Vaughan, Humber’s president and CEO.
The 2023 phase of the project will replace more than four km of pipe across all campus buildings and install new equipment in “I Building,” the campus’ Central Plant. The campus will install an electric boiler that will provide heating to the campus during off-peak times and utilize heat pumps.
In 2024, the project will see the campus install a heat recovery chiller system, convert the bulk of campus buildings to its new system and the final decommissioning of steam heating system. In 2025, it will see the installation of energy-recovering ventilators and the project’s final commissioning.
Humber College expects that the project will save about $55 million in utility bills over the next 30 years.
The college is also incorporating the Switch Project into capstone projects for students by presenting students with design challenges related to it. Students in related programs will also be able to tour the facility and the construction work being done.
Ecosystem Energy, the company hired for the designing and building of the project, also hired several Humber co-op students to work on a project benefitting their college as part of their work placement.
The college adds that the installed infrastructure for Switch is laying the groundwork for future decarbonization initiatives.