UWindsor’s new hybrid chiller to meet most of school’s 2030 emissions reduction target

hybrid chiller
Photo Credit: University of Windsor

The University of Windsor says its new dual drive, electric-steam turbine chiller — which drives the heating, cooling, and ventilation systems of about 30 buildings across campus — is a first for a Canadian university.

The chiller’s installation is part of UWindsor’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 45% in seven years, reaching net zero by 2050. 

“This milestone project marks our unwavering dedication to environmental stewardship and energy efficiency,” announced Gillian Heisz, UWindsor VP of finance and operations, in a statement. “It not only supports our sustainability objectives, but also hopefully inspires others to embrace similar measures.”

The YORK hybrid chiller will reduce the equivalent of 8,300 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year by minimizing natural gas usage. It’s expected to save the school more than $1 million each year.

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The chiller is located within the university’s Energy Conversion Centre on Patricia Street.      

This fall, school officials plan to unveil their Campus Carbon Neutral Master Plan. Nadia Harduar, the university’s sustainability officer, says it will provide a “roadmap that outlines our bold strategy to further reduce emissions and create a more sustainable campus for generations to come.”

The plan works to address priorities outlined in the university’s overall strategic plan released in the summer.

The new hybrid chiller alone will achieve 82% of the university’s 2030 emissions reduction target. The reduction in emissions is equivalent to removing 2,000 cars off the roads in a single year. Other recent efforts towards the target include one LEED-certified building, 2,200 m3 of campus gardens, and 51 water fillling stations.

At the chiller’s installation, Enbridge Gas officials presented UWindsor with $200,000 in recognition of the university’s participation in the utility’s Commercial Energy Efficiency program. The university has received more than $438,400 from Enbridge Gas since 2018 by reducing reliance on natural gas through energy-efficient equipment upgrades and installation of demand-control ventilation systems.

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