UVic a leader
in campus energy conservation
by Marni Friesen
UVic has won an Energy Innovators Initiative
Award from Natural Resources Canada's office of energy
efficiency — the result of an energy assessment
that found UVic consumes less energy than almost any
other postsecondary institution in the province.
The 2002 energy audit by Prism Engineering
Ltd. found that UVic was second only to Vancouver Community
College in energy efficiency.
The secret of UVic's success is decades
of ongoing effort, according to Gerry Robson, executive
director of facilities management. "Significant
energy savings have come from lighting retrofits,"
he says, "but another big factor is that buildings
constructed on campus in the last 15 years have been
designed with energy efficiency as a priority."
The Centre for Innovative Teaching and
the Engineering Lab Wing, built during the 1990s, are
cases in point. The latter won B.C.'s Power Smart Award
for Excellence for Institutional Construction, in large
part due to the use of the Visionwall system, which
includes insulating window glazes and light shelves
that help keep the building cool and maximize natural
light. The Engineering Lab Wing alone saves UVic 723,000
kilowatt-hours per year, enough energy to serve 73 single-family
More than 80 per cent of all UVic's
indoor lighting has been retrofitted to use less power,
increasing efficiency by 30 to 40 per cent. UVic also
avoids air conditioning, using it only in sensitive
areas such as computer labs, the biology department's
snake lab, or the fine arts slide library. Campus-wide
monitoring systems allow facilities management to effectively
control heat and ventilation levels according to season
and time of day.
Efforts to save on power have been ongoing
since solar panels were installed to heat the McKinnon
pool in the early 80s, and over the years, facilities
management has always looked for other ways to conserve.
The latest UVic initiatives include investment in alternative
energy sources such as mini-hydro and wind power, by
purchasing "Green Power" certificates from
Lynn Bartle, UVic's sustainability coordinator,
emphasizes that energy efficiency on campus is part
of an overall sustainability plan that includes promoting
alternative transportation, and trying to limit UVic's
overall impact on the environment.
"Not only do we reduce greenhouse gas emissions
and lower our resource consumption by being energy efficient,"
says Bartle, "but we save money as well. It just
makes sense all around."
In the upcoming year, facilities management
will continue its efforts in the area of energy efficiency
by further investigating energy-saving opportunities
that still exist on campus and by continuing with lighting