Case studies: University of Calgary

The University of Calgary is one of Canada's top research universities. With a student population of 31,000, the University's campus spans over 200 hectares - an area larger than downtown Calgary. There are over 60 buildings that combined, cover a floor area of over 789,676 m2 (8.5 million ft2). All of the university's buildings are fully occupied and most of the buildings are between 20 to 40 years old. With the economic boom in Alberta, the University is experiencing significant growth in attendance and, as a result, has been embarking on a large capital expansion.

As signatories to the voluntary University and College Presidents' Climate Change Statement of Action for Canada initiative, the University has recently released a Climate Action Plan. The Plan indicates the University's commitment from the top level of management to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to achieve targets of a 45% reduction by 2015 and 80% by 2050Footnote 3.

To support implementation and achievement of targets outlined in the University's Climate Change, the University enrolled 35 of their buildings into the Canada Green Building Council's GREEN UP® to benchmark the energy and water use of these buildings against other similar buildings in Canada. The GREEN UP database also normalizes for weather and allows the buildings to track their performance over time. In addition, a building performance audit was conducted in each of the buildings. The performance metrics collected from the various building systems were compared against metrics from other buildings. This enabled the University to prioritize key areas for retrofits, identify potential operational improvements and establish performance targetsFootnote 4.

The University is in the process of implementing operational saving-initiatives and low-cost measures. Once implemented, the savings will feed a revolving energy fund that will be used to finance re-commissioning, implement controls and various retrofit measures.