UNB News
News and stories from one of Canada’s top universities

Energy program recognized for nearly 30 years of sustainability initiatives

Author: Alex Graham

Posted on Dec 15, 2023

Category: UNB Fredericton

Photo: Solar panels on the Facilities Management building in Fredericton.

University administrators and local utilities have recognized the University of New Brunswick (UNB) Energy Management Program for its nearly three decades of energy efficiency and sustainability work on Fredericton and Saint John campuses.

“UNB has a longstanding Energy Management Program; it goes back to 1996,” said Tom Gilmore, Director of Energy and Sustainability.

Each year, the program reports to various UNB committees and the board about its impact.

“UNB decided to invest in the energy-saving opportunities for ourselves,” said Gilmore.

And it’s paid off. Over the years, the program has made a significant environmental impact:

  • Total steam reduction of 817M pounds = 3.9 years of steam
  • Total electricity reduction 98M kWh = 9030 homes for one year
  • Total electricity demand 208k kW reduction = 897k solar panels
  • Total water reduction of 2.6M cubic meters = 1407 City of Fredericton Water Towers
  • CO2 reduction equivalent to planting 7.2M trees or taking 17,500 vehicles off the road for one year

“It’s a good news story we get to tell year after year about all the things we do because it’s all cumulative,” he said. “We are still able to report on the benefits of projects that were done 20 years ago.”

Initially, the program took on projects like upgrades to heating and ventilation controls and heat recovery systems; recently, they’ve focused on building controls optimizations, LED lighting and solar.

“Balancing efficiency with occupancy and comfort is always a challenge,” he said.

The program has received $19.4 million in approved funding for both campuses since its inception in 1996, the latest influx was $2M in 2020.

With a 20-year simple payback on the investment, funding from NB Power was used to help complete solar panel projects on the Capital Planning and Operations building and soon at the kinesiology building.

In October, both the Fredericton and the Saint John campuses were recipients of NB Power’s new Energy Champion designation for efforts to become more energy efficient.

“It’s all about helping the province and ourselves reach our climate change action goals,” said Gilmore.