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Central energy plant on Fort Garry campus.

Central energy plant at UM, featuring a heat recovery system.

Celebrate Energy Efficiency Day

Today is Energy Efficiency Day in Canada, and UM is making strides.

October 5, 2022 — 

Its Energy Efficiency Day in Canada, and UM is making strides to increase efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve our sustainability goals.

Recently, UM committed $22 million to increase energy efficiency on campus and has received an additional $14.5 million from the Investing in Canadian Infrastructure Program through the Government of Canada. With this funding, UM is improving the Max Bell Center Ice Plant to increase efficiency of the refrigeration loop which will reduce energy consumption costs and GHG emissions. The new ice plant will also incorporate a waste heat recovery process where additional heat can be distributed to where it’s needed on campus!

In addition to the Max Bell upgrades, UM commissioned the implementation of new electric boilers to contribute to heating our campus. In 2021, a greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions assessment was conducted for the UM Climate Action Plan. This inventory showed that the university emits a total of 57,000 tons of GHG emissions. With the implementation of these new electric boilers, we will displace a total of 16,000 tons of GHG emissions, furthering the UM’s goal of reaching net zero emissions by 2050.

On top of the GHG emissions reduction, these boilers will also be capable of producing an average of 51% of total campus heat and produce all heating needed during the summer months!

What can you do to celebrate energy efficiency today and every day?

  • Unplug electronics: When you’re not using your electronics, make sure you unplug them to prevent phantom power or use a smart strip/power bar to prevent energy from being wasted. Phantom energy is when electronics use small amounts of energy even when they are turned off. According to Natural Resources Canada, phantom or standby power “can account for 5 to 10% of a household’s electricity bill.”
  • Bundle up: Fall is here, and winter is around the corner. Avoid cranking the heat in your home and office. Instead, try putting on a sweater, grabbing a blanket, making your favourite hot drink and taking small activity breaks to increase blood flow.
  • Use daylight: Sunlight will not only save you from turning on lights and using excess power but also help to increase brain productivity. Natural light is proven to keep the human brain more alert. Open blinds to let the light in and turn off any lights you don’t need. In the evening, ensure only the lights you are using are on.
  • Power down your computer: By shutting off your computer at night, turning off the monitor when you’re away and setting your computer to turn your monitor or screen off after a set period, you can conserve power and save money on your electricity bill. In addition, powering down prolongs your electronics’ life, meaning you purchase less and save more of our Earth’s resources.

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