Canadian Consulting Engineer

UBC retrofits 50 buildings on campus

The University of British Columbia, which is leading the way in green building design, is implementing "the largest...

June 18, 2003   Canadian Consulting Engineer

The University of British Columbia, which is leading the way in green building design, is implementing “the largest energy retrofit in Canadian university history.”
By January the university had already saved $600,000 a year by upgrading the lighting in 50 buildings across the Vancouver campus. The savings amounted to an 11% reduction in consumption of electricity.
One of the highlights of the retrofit was the introduction of the induction lamp, a new technology, which was showcased in 10 heritage chandeliers in the campus’s Main Library Chapman Learning Commons. The induction lamp is a high efficiency lamp that produces an intense, white light simply by generating an electromagnetic field inside a coated bulb. Because the lamp does not have a filament, there’s nothing to burn out. The lamp could theoretically last for ever, although the ballast would give out after 25 years. The university has showcased the induction lamps
The lighting upgrade included replacing incandescent lights with compact fluorescent bulbs that last eight times longer and use 75% less energy for the same amount of light. T12 fluorescent lights were replaced with T8 light bulbs, which use 25% less electricity and provide more light and better colour. Approximately 100,000 kilograms of old magnetic ballasts containing the harmful PCBs were removed and replaced.
The university has also just embarked on a more comprehensive program called ECOTrek which is a $36 million energy, water, gas and sewer retrofit. It will be carried out on buildings in the core academic campus, and is being done by MCW Consultants (Gerry Nunn) in coordination with the university’s Sustainability Office and Land and Building Services.
The environmental program at UBC aims to reduce energy use by 20% annually, reduce CO2 emissions by 20,000 tonnes annually, and water use in the core facilities by about 40% every year.
Larry Bell, Chair and CEO of BC Hydro, has pointed out UBC’s leadership in sustainable design: “UBC has demonstrated a deep-seated commitment to make its university campus the most sustainable in the country. … UBC’s initiatives have set the benchmark for other colleges and universities across the country to strive towards.”


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