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'Monumental undertaking': U of S seeks plan for net-zero campus

By District Energy posted 03-01-2022 15:30


Saskatoon StarPhoenix


The University of Saskatchewan has put out a call for help with mapping out a strategy to get its Saskatoon campus to net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

“We know that any changes would be a monumental undertaking,” said Wade Epp, the university’s associate vice-president of services.

Epp oversees the university’s District Energy Systems, the department responsible for delivering heating, cooling and electricity to campus. A university request for proposals issued this month seeks an engineering planning firm to put together a study on options to “decarbonize” the campus.

A natural gas plant is used to generate steam for heating. Electricity is used to cool water in warmer months for air conditioning.

Epp said the campus had a carbon footprint of about 170,000 tonnes in 2020; temperature control and power accounted for about 85 per cent of those emissions.

The campus currently incurs utility bills in the range of $27 million a year to service about four million square feet of interior space — an area about six times the size of Saskatoon’s Midtown shopping mall. Beyond what most people would think of as the campus proper, Epp said District Energy Systems also handles Royal University Hospital and the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital.

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