The conversion will help to reduce the college’s energy consumption and CO2 emissions considerably and in turn save millions of dollars over the coming years.
When it comes to district energy both North America and Canada rely primarily on their existing steam systems which can be costly to operate and maintain, as well as being a potential safety hazard. As a result many operators across both countries, including an increasing number of colleges, are therefore looking to convert their existing steam systems to more modern lower temperature hot water district energy systems.
Sheridan College in Ontario, Canada, is one of those colleges. Sheridan currently educates more than 50,000 students on four campuses in three cities in the Greater Toronto area – Oakville, Brampton and Mississauga, and is considered to be one of the province’s leading post-secondary institutions.
Rising energy prices
In 2010, Sheridan determined that it spent CAN$4.4M on natural gas and electricity - a 42% increase since 2005. Given the substantial uncertainties in future energy prices driven by global market forces, environmental regulations and local policies forecasted that its yearly energy cost could rise to between CAN$7.5M and CAN$10.6M by 2030. These large forecasted cost increases resulted in a decision to begin an extensive transformation of the college’s energy supply with the aim of reducing its energy consumption and CO2 emissions in line with a European level of best practice. The college predicted that in achieving this goal a 40-100% reduction in energy costs would be realised.
A 7-year investment plan to cut energy consumption and CO2 emissions
The College conducted an Integrated Energy and Climate Master Plan which established the framework for a 7-year investment, covering a number of individual energy efficiency projects.
With respect to distribution upgrades, the focus was on improvements of the heating and hot water systems, which represent almost 41% of Sheridan’s overall utility consumption. The College therefore identified the upgrade of the existing systems at Davis and Trafalgar to Campus wide district energy systems as being the individual energy efficiency projects with the largest potential saving. Other benefits of upgrading to a new district energy system include a more flexible system with the increased possibility of integrating current and future renewable energy technologies.
The plan outlines an impressive reduction of 65% in the campus’ energy consumption and 47% in CO2 emissions from 2010 levels to 2030.
Ramboll’s role: Owner's engineer
To assist Sheridan in achieving its energy and climate plan goals, Ramboll is working with the college to complete the engineering design and pre-construction phases for the new district heating and cooling networks for both the Davis and Trafalgar campuses, the central plant at Trafalgar and the tie-ins to the new and existing building systems at both campuses. Ramboll is also employed as the owner’s engineer during the construction of the pre-insulated piped network.
Ramboll is also currently working with three other North American/Canadian institutions with the aim of reducing energy consumption and CO2 emissions through steam to hot water conversions - Dartmouth College in Hannover, New Hampshire, US; Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Massachusetts, US; and Humber College, Ontario, Canada.