TRU makes another step towards offsetting its greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to meet its goal of carbon neutrality by 2030 by partnering with Creative Energy.
The project aims to offset more than 100,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions over 30 years, which is equivalent to planting 4,000 acre-forests and approximately 16 times the size of TRU.
The low-carbon district energy systems will allow TRU to meet their 2030 carbon neutrality pledge and will be recognized as one of the most sustainable educational institutions in North America. Brett Fairbairn, TRU president and vice-chancellor, says in the press release “ this project is integral to TRU’s commitment to achieving carbon neutrality.”
Carbon dioxide is the key factor to greenhouse gas which is produced from global climate change. Carbon dioxide gets released from deforestation, burning fossil fuels and volcanic eruptions.
The system is a two-stage heat pumping that uses air source and water source heat pumps in series, low-grade heat is stepped up to high-grade thermal energy without the use of fossil fuels. The system is powered with renewable electricity from BC Hydro.
The first phase will see the construction of the Energy Centre, a focal point of the low carbon district energy, which is located in the center of the Kamloops campus, demonstrating the university’s climate leadership and providing students with the opportunity to see district energy in action through the “living lab”.
The district energy system will be done in phases, where the first phase will be energized in 2024 and omit 95 per cent of carbon emissions from the initial connections buildings. In addition, the first stages of the project will focus on the initial connections from International Building, Old Main, GYM, Science Building, Olara Building, LIB, and BCCOL. Where the future expansions are the campus Activity Center, the North Tower, and the Brown House Of Learning.
The Energy Centre will demonstrate an array of air-source and water-source heat pumps connected in series. Which will provide renewable heating while meeting the higher temperature requirement inherent to the vintage of the existing buildings. The Natural gas boilers will also be included to provide backup and peaking needs, promote resiliency, and support uninterrupted business continuity.
A new underground closed-loop distribution system will be built throughout the campus to connect the buildings to the low carbon district energy system. Therefore, it allows TRU to decommission their existing boiler rooms.
As a regulated public utility, Creative Energy will be seeking approvals for the project from BC Utilities Commission. This is one of the ways to respond to climate change and save the earth from air pollutants.