The Ontario government is investing close to $5.2 million to support a new project at Conestoga College that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and move the college’s Fountain Street campus in Cambridge towards a net zero carbon footprint.
The funding is being provided through the province’s Greenhouse Gas Campus Retrofits Program Innovation Fund, which includes more than $214 million in grants as well as $300 million in interest-free loans to improve energy efficiency at college and university facilities across Ontario.
The program is part of Ontario's five-year Climate Change Action Plan, funded by proceeds from the province's cap on pollution and carbon market.
“Ontario’s colleges and universities are preparing a generation of workers to succeed and innovate in the years to come — so it makes sense that the campuses themselves reflect that kind of innovation and sustainability,” said Kathryn McGarry, MPP Cambridge. “Conestoga is exactly that type of campus, and our government’s investment will help the college reduce its greenhouse gas pollution and become a leader for its students in the fight against climate change.”
Through the retrofit project, Conestoga will install a ground source heat pump system to provide thermal energy as well as a solar photovoltaic system that will provide renewable electricity for the college’s Fountain Street campus in Cambridge. The geothermal heating and cooling system will reduce the vast majority of carbon produced at the campus by significantly reducing the natural gas required for space heating and providing space cooling from a renewable energy source. The solar photovoltaic system will offset 100 per cent of the annual load of the geothermal system and provide additional renewable electricity for use at the campus.
“Conestoga appreciates the opportunity to participate in the Greenhouse Gas Campus Retrofits Program,” said President John Tibbits. “Enhancing the sustainability of our campuses is a strategic priority for our college. Support provided through this initiative will help us to upgrade facilities to further increase energy efficiency and reduce emissions.”
The Fountain Street campus, opened in 2011, is a 260,000 square foot facility that was built with a focus on the sustainable use of energy and materials to reduce waste and carbon. The facility was awarded LEED silver certification by the Canada Green Building Council.
Conestoga’s commitment to the principles of environmental sustainability and energy efficiency continues to be demonstrated across all new campus construction and renovation projects. A major expansion currently underway at the Waterloo campus will include such features as solar photovoltaic cells, chilled water storage, LED lighting and low-flow water fixtures.
The implementation of these and other sustainability-focused measures is expected to result in energy efficiencies that far exceed those required under the Ontario Building Code.