Energy Initiative

The Energy Management Program (EMP) is a $40 million initiative with the goal of achieving a 25% reduction in energy consumption. This project includes a comprehensive overhaul of the University's energy infrastructure as well as audits, retrofits and upgrades to existing facilities. Through this project, it is anticipated that electricity consumption will be reduced by over 25,000,000 kWh thereby reducing more than 5,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually.

The last phase of the EMP was to replace an old electric chiller with a larger more efficient steam turbine driven chiller, replace the 1960's vintage compressors in the Central Utilities Building, along with LED energy saving lighting, other Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) and water appliance improvements to other facilities on campus. A campus-wide automated metering system now tracks and monitors electrical energy use per building to better quantify each building's progress towards meeting the campus' energy objectives.

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As of May 2015, the $40 million program is complete. Results have been very positive as weather normalized savings have been estimated at over 25% — , while absorbing an increase in building area of 5% and student population growth. Results have been measured by energy consumption reduction (heating, cooling, and electricity).


York University is currently facing a problem not uncommon to many post secondary education facilities today - the need to renew ageing facilities in the face of rising utility costs and reduced operating budgets.

The University has undertaken a variety of energy management programs over the past 10 years which included the installation and expansion of the building automation system, implementation of two cogen units with a combined capacity of 10 MW, modifications to the district heating and cooling plants, implementation of energy efficient lighting technologies, motor replacement, and installation of green roofs. These programs yielded good returns on investment. The University would now like to expand on these successes and is interested in implementing a broader, more comprehensive energy management program to further reduce operation costs, improve environmental performance and to help renew aging infrastructure.

Through physical upgrades and retrofits, the University aims to accomplish several basic objectives:

  • reduce the consumption of electricity, natural gas, steam, chilled water and domestic water on campus;
  • renew and enhance air conditioning, heating, ventilation, lighting, building controls, compressed air and water-use in facilities;
  • increase occupant comfort by improving the teaching, learning and working environments;
  • showcase innovative, renewable energy technology in order to enhance students’ learning experience;
  • reduce greenhouse gas emissions;
  • and provide design, technology and training solutions to realize continued utility cost savings.

The first step in achieving these goals was completed in the fall of 2005 when MCW Custom Energy Solutions Ltd., a nationally recognized, engineering-based Energy Service Company, was selected as the University’s preferred energy services partner.

In December 2005, MCW initiated the energy auditing process which involves a comprehensive energy audit and facility renewal study of each building’s mechanical and electrical systems to identify areas where system efficiencies can be improved either through optimization of existing systems or through replacement of equipment with more energy efficient technologies.

The focus of the retrofit initiative will be on the approximate 50 academic and science buildings comprising some 4.5 million square feet at the Keele and Glendon campuses with a combined energy and water bill of $20 million per year. MCW’s energy audit is continuing throughout 2006, and is anticipated to be complete by this October.

Initial work conducted by MCW has identified potential Energy Conservation Measures for the following systems:

  • Lighting Retrofit & Controls: Retrofit or replace existing lighting systems and install lighting controls.
  • Cogeneration: Optimize the existing cogen plants.
  • Boiler Plant: Upgrade boiler controls & burners and optimize system operation.
  • Chiller Plant: Improve use of summer steam to produce chilled water, retrofit pumps and cooling towers and optimize system operation.
  • Distribution: Improve the use of chilled water, reduce steam distribution losses and install building submetering
  • HVAC Modifications: Improve the provision of heating, ventilation and cooling within buildings including the recovery of waste energy
  • Controls: Monitor building HVAC systems from a central location and ensure equipment scheduling matches building occupancy.
  • Domestic Water: Retrofit or replace domestic water fixtures such as toilets, urinals, faucets and showerheads.

The University has acheived a reduction of 25% of the overall utility bill which is equivalent to 275,000 GJ of energy or 18,900 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year.

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Customer Resources

External - Ministry of Energy Website

Project Outline (PDF)

Electricity Generation License (PDF)