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University of New Brunswick Fredericton Campus: Energy Conservation - A Long-Term Commitment


Please note: This publication may refer to programs that are no longer available. For current information, please visit ecoENERGY or contact us.

University Profile

Founded in 1785, the University of New Brunswick has two campuses, one in Fredericton and the other in Saint John, New Brunswick. This case study deals specifically with the Fredericton campus, which has 1410 full-time employees and an enrolment of 9609 full-time and 2279 parttime students in 1999. Canada's oldest Englishspeaking university, the University of New Brunswick now offers 70 undergraduate and 60 postgraduate degree programs. The Fredericton campus consists of 58 buildings, with a total area of 208 946 m2 (2 247 930 sq. ft.).


The university has been investing in energy conservation measures for three decades. These investments have enabled the university to control the rate at which its utility costs have increased, and students have profited by an improved learning environment.

University tuition fees are increasing across Canada to compensate for government cutbacks in the education sector and increasing operating and maintenance expenses. The university is committed to investing in new energy improvement projects as developments in technology open up new opportunities. Such investment allows the university to maintain control of increases in utility costs and address Canada's commitment to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, a growing international climatic concern.

To enhance its energy management program, the university joined the Energy Innovators Initiative of Natural Resources Canada's Office of Energy Efficiency and registered with Canada's Climate Change Voluntary Challenge and Registry Inc. (VCR Inc.) in 1998.

University of New Brunswick Fredericton Campus



The 18 144 kg/hr. (40 000 lb./hrr.) capacity waste wood-fired boiler and two 54 431 kg/hr. (120 000 lb./hrr.) capacity fossil fuel boilers in the university's central heating plant produce steam that is distributed to the majority of the buildings on campus through nearly five kilometres of underground tunnels. The central heating plant also produces steam to heat buildings operated by St. Thomas University and the Research and Productivity Council, and to heat and cool Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital. These three facilities consume approximately 30 percent of the steam that is produced by the plant.


The university purchases all its electricity from NB Power.

Cost of electricity (1999):

Demand charge: $8.50 per kW per month
Consumption charge: $0.0587 per kWh

In the fiscal year 1998/1999, the university purchased 22 990 915 kWh of electricity and paid demand charges for 56 964.8 kW over the 12-month period at a cost of $2,031,149. With the ever-increasing demand for computers in teaching laboratories at the university, equipment loads are growing at a steady pace, as are energy costs. Implementation of energy conservation projects is a pro-active means of controlling the rate at which electrical energy costs will increase.


The university purchases all fresh water from the City of Fredericton. The combined cost of water and sewage in 1999 was $0.92/m3. In the fiscal year 1998/1999, the university purchased 418 800 m3 of fresh water at a cost of $399,910.

History of Energy Conservation Initiatives at the University of New Brunswick

Building Automation Systems

During the energy crisis of the 1970s, the university installed an automated energy management system that utilized Honeywell Delta 1000 panels and was monitored by a central computer located in the Services Building. The system introduced, for the first time, occupancy scheduling and monitoring of heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems.

In 1991 the front end of the Automated Energy Management System was upgraded to a Honeywell Graphic Central System. The Graphic Central System was accessible from one work station utilizing a Dell 425E computer. The upgraded system was user friendly and it dramatically increased the capacity of the automation system. Occupancy scheduling and monitoring of 50 heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems in 11 facilities was provided by the system.

These two generations of building automation systems have saved in excess of $1 million in electricity and fuel over the past 24 years. As energy costs have been reduced, significant unnecessary wear and tear on mechanical systems has also been avoided. Estimated electrical consumption reduction for the 24-year period is 43 000 000 kWh.

The Honeywell Graphic Central System installed in 1991 had grown to a system of over 500 graphics with an estimated 4400 control points by 1997. It had reached capacity and its reliability was being compromised. In order for the university to continue to upgrade outdated pneumatic control systems to direct digital control (DDC) systems monitored by the building automation system, an upgrade of the Honeywell Graphic Central System was essential.

In 1999, after several months of reviewing the available options, the university upgraded the Honeywell Graphic Central System with a Honeywell XBS system utilizing Dell OptiPlex computers. The system is accessible from three work stations that communicate on a dedicated LAN system. Expansion capabilities of the upgraded system will allow the university to eventually convert all heating and air-conditioning systems on campus to DDC.

The new system is a great improvement over the previous generations of controls in its capability to modify occupancy schedules. This allows the operator to fine-tune weekly schedules with ease and to handle exception scheduling such as holidays with little effort. This results in maximum energy savings.

Reduced Wattage for Fluorescent Lighting Systems

The university has utilized T-12 fluorescent lighting systems as its primary light source for decades. Over the past 10 years, standard 40-watt T-12 lamps have been replaced by 34-watt energy-saving T-12 lamps, creating an estimated reduction in electrical demand load of 175 kW. Estimated electrical consumption reduction for the 10-year period is 5 000 000 kWh.

Energy Performance Contract (1992)

In 1992, the university entered into a $1.3 million energy performance contract (EPC) with Honeywell Ltd. The resulting reduction in electricity and fuel costs realized a simple payback on the investment of less than five years.

The scope of work carried out by the EPC included the following:

  • lighting retrofits in 11 buildings with a total area of 77 152 2(830 000 sq. ft.). At that time, lighting retrofits were carried out by removing lamps and ballasts in areas with excessive levels of lighting and by installing current-limiting devices on fluorescent fixtures between the ballasts and the lamps;
  • DDC upgrades for HVAC systems in two facilities; and
  • installation of plate heat exchangers on central chilled water systems for two major laboratory facilities to facilitate the shutdown of electrically powered water chillers during the heating season. The combined capacity of the two chillers is 325 cooling tons. The chilled water systems provides cooling on a year-round basis for lab and computer equipment. Cooling loads during the heating season are approximately 15 percent of the installed capacity of the electrically powered chillers. This light loading caused the chillers to cycle frequently, and electrical demand penalties to operate this large equipment during light-load conditions were severe. The installation of the plate heat exchangers has resulted in a very efficient, reliable means of providing cooling for equipment during the heating season.

Present Energy Management Program

In 1996, the university's Board of Governors approved an energy management program for the Fredericton campus. The program calls for an investment in energy conservation projects of up to $1,900,000. Projected annual cost avoidance of all projects was $436,000, resulting in a simple pay-back of 4.36 years.

As of December 31, 1999, 30 energy improvement projects with a total investment of $985,900 had been implemented under the program. The estimated annual cost avoidance for the group of projects is $295,543, which represents a simple payback of 3.34 years.

Breakdown of investments:
Water conservation projects  $ 170,574
Lighting retrofit projects  $ 500,436
HVAC control upgrades  $ 314,890

Water Conservation Projects

For decades, fresh water has been used to cool equipment such as magnets, liquid nitrogen generators, air compressors and electron microscopes. Recent energy improvement projects have converted 18 installations in which fresh water was being used to cool equipment. This equipment is now mechanically cooled using recirculated water. The projected reduction in fresh water volume is 44,500 m3/year, resulting in an estimated annual cost avoidance of $45,160.

Lighting Retrofit Projects

Lighting retrofit projects have been completed in 10 buildings with a total area of 52 052 m2 (560 000 sq. ft.) under the current energy management program. With a projected annual electrical demand load reduction of 334 kW, the annual electrical consumption is expected to be reduced by nearly 1 500 000 kWh. The annual cost reduction for the purchase of electricity is projected to be $133,954, which will result in a 3.74-year simple payback on the investment of $500,436.

Lighting retrofit projects are being carried out with the following goals in mind:

  • convert T-12 fluorescent lighting systems with magnetic ballasts to T-8 fluorescent lighting with electronic ballasts;
  • convert 40- to 150-watt incandescent lamps to compact fluorescent or halogen, or replace incandescent light fixtures with fixtures utilizing T-8 fluorescent with electronic ballasts;
  • convert 200- and 300-watt incandescent lamps to halogen or replace incandescent light fixtures with fixtures utilizing a metal halide light source or T-8 fluorescent with electronic ballasts;
  • install new reflectors to improve the efficiency of light fixtures, allowing a reduction in the number of lamps that are required to provide adequate lighting levels;
  • remove fixtures or lamps in areas that are excessively lit;
  • replace high-output T-12 fluorescent fixtures with light fixtures utilizing a metal halide light source;
  • install multi-level lighting controls in areas such as gymnasiums and the ice rink for lighting level adjustments to suit various occupancy requirements;
  • replace discoloured lenses;
  • replace incandescent exit signs with signs using a LED light source; and
  • rotate lighting fixtures in library stack areas where feasible so that lighting is located parallel to stacks and centred over aisles.

HVAC Control Upgrades

Control upgrade projects have been completed for 35 HVAC systems in nine buildings under the current energy management program. Projections indicate that these control upgrades will result in a reduction in steam consumption of 4 989 600 kg/yr. (11 000 000 lbs./yr.) and an annual electrical consumption reduction of 407 000 kWh. Annual cost savings for the purchase of fuel and electricity is projected to be $81,350, representing a simple payback of 3.87 years on the investment of $314,890. The main objectives of the control upgrades were to replace redundant pneumatic controls and Honeywell Delta 1000 panels with DDC systems. Honeywell XL 5000 control panels were installed.

The strategies used in control upgrade projects included the following:

  • providing or enhancing occupancy scheduling;
  • shutting down building relief fans during the heating season;
  • providing mixed air and supply air temperature reset schedules based on outside air temperature;
  • utilizing carbon dioxide sensors to monitor indoor air quality and make automatic adjustments to fresh air volumes being introduced to air-handling systems;
  • replacing damaged mixing dampers;
  • installing chemical storage cabinets so that fume hoods can be emptied and scheduled to be off when not in use;
  • programming lockouts to eliminate simultaneous heating and cooling;
  • providing enthalpy control of mixing dampers, allowing fresh air to provide free cooling and assist mechanical cooling when conditions are favourable;
  • installing dedicated air-conditioning units for spaces that require air conditioning on a year-round basis to avoid operating central HVAC systems at low mixed-air temperatures requiring significant amounts of reheat;
  • programming initialization of cooling stages to prevent frequent cycling of cooling equipment and overshooting of cooling set points and requirement for reheating;
  • replacing worn and inefficient inlet vanes with variable frequency drives; and
  • removing redundant devices in air streams to minimize the static pressure requirements of the fans and reducing fan speed to adjust the air balance.


The energy management program requires that all energy conservation projects be monitored for a period of 10 years. Reconciliation reports are submitted semi-annually.

Future Energy Improvements

In the first two years of the new millennium, the university will be developing energy conservation projects to complete the commitment made in its current energy management program.

Feasibility studies are presently being developed for the following projects:

  • energy-efficient lighting retrofits in several buildings;
  • automatic controls for the refrigeration equipment at the ice rink;
  • converting flow-through systems to recirculation systems in the aquaculture labs;
  • upgrading controls for HVAC systems in several buildings; and
  • converting from fresh water cooling to mechanically cooled recirculation systems in two laboratories

Summary of Reductions in Utility Consumption

Summary of reductions in water, steam and electricity consumption as a result of energy conservation measures that have been completed since 1990 at the University of New Brunswick

Honeywell energy performance contract (1992):

Consumption Estimated annual reduction
Steam 3 850 016 kg (8 487 690 lb.)
Electricity 1 831 940  kWh

Work completed by December 31, 1999, under current energy management program:

Consumption Estimated annual reduction
Steam 4 989 600 kg (11 000 000 lb.)
Electricity 1 907 000 kWh
Fresh water 44 500 m3

Greenhouse gas emissions

Summary of estimated annual GHG emissions for base
year (1991/1992)

Emissions are expressed as metric tonne carbon dioxide equivalent (tonne CO2 e):

Electricity: GHG emissions
based on consumption of
24 769 541 kWh in NB:
13 524 tonnes
Heavy oil: GHG emissions
based on heavy oil consumption
of 6 375 083 L:
19 744 tonnes
Waste wood: GHG emissions
based on consumption
of 26 437 tonnes:
17 440 tonnes
Total GHG emissions produced
50 708 tonnes CO2 e
Reduction in annual greenhouse gas emissions as a result of energy conservation measures that have been completed since 1990 at the University of New Brunswick
  • Honeywell energy performance contract (1992): 1760 tonnes

  • Work completed by December 31, 1999 under current energy management program: 2025 tonnes

  • Work to be carried out in 2000/2001 under current energy management program: 1500 tonnes

Total estimated reduction in annual GHG emissions: 5285 tonnes CO2 e

Adjusted total estimated annual GHG emissions produced: 45 423 tonnes CO2 e

Percentage reduction in estimated annual GHG emissions: 10 percent

Proposed Conversion of the University of New Brunswick Central Heating Plant to Natural Gas

The university is in the very early stages of investigating the potential for conversion to natural gas. Full conversion of the central heating plant at the university would result in an annual GHG emissions reduction of approximately 16 000 tonnes CO2 e for steam production. The resulting overall reduction in total estimated annual GHG emissions would be 42 percent.

University of New Brunswick Fredericton Campus

You can find other buildings publications from the Office of Energy Efficiency. To order paper copies, or to discuss how we can help you make your property more energy efficient, please contact us.

Buildings Division
Office of Energy Efficiency
Natural Resources Canada
580 Booth Street, 18th floor
Ottawa ON  K1A 0E4
Tel.: 877-360-5500 (toll free)
Fax: 613-947-4121
Web site

University of New Brunswick
Richard A. Watson, P. Eng. Energy Coordinator University of New Brunswick
P.O. Box 4400
Fredericton NB  E3B 5A3
Tel.: 506-453-4889
Fax: 506-453-5183