The University of British Columbia (UBC), which has a commitment to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 through climate-action initiatives such as its District Waste Heat Recovery Project, has received approximately $974,000 in funding from the Low Carbon Economy Fund.

This initiative will install heat-recovery systems that will reduce the university’s reliance on natural gas. The new system will redirect the heat recovered to the campus’s hot-water district energy system, which supplies the majority of its buildings with heat and hot water so that students can live and work in a cleaner environment.

“Canadian universities are leading by example with climate-change solutions through research, technology, and innovative ideas,” said Minister of Environment and Climate Change Jonathan Wilkinson. “Our government will continue to invest in projects that support clean energy in educational institutions like the University of British Columbia so that students can live and work in cleaner, more sustainable environments for generations to come.”

This funding builds on a 2019 investment of $7.6 million under the Low Carbon Economy Challenge’s Champions stream to support the university’s biomass-expansion project, which increases its renewable-energy capacity.

Over the lifetime of this project, the UBC will see a cumulative reduction of about 14,600 tonnes of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions—equivalent to removing approximately 4,500 cars off the road for one year. The university will also save $1 million in heating costs annually through this project.

“This investment from the Government of Canada will help UBC maintain our global leadership in climate action and move us closer to our goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050,” said Santa Ono, president and vice-chancellor of UBC.

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“The new heat-recovery systems will enhance the efficiency of UBC’s already state-of-the-art Bioenergy Research Demonstration Facility, which is currently being upgraded to produce up to 70 percent of our Vancouver campus’s thermal energy using clean, locally sourced wood waste. The new heat-recovery systems will reduce UBC’s emissions by over 1,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.”


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