University of Calgary’s Energy Performance Initiative

April 30, 2013 By Evvi Rollins, freelance writer for WADE Canada

WADE Canada spoke with Joanne Perdue, Chief Sustainability Officer at the University of Calgary

Calgary, Canada: With the recent announcement that the University of Calgary’s Energy Environment and Experiential Learning building has received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification, the University is now home to two of only four Platinum projects on Canadian post-secondary education campuses. Add to this an LEED Gold project and four additional projects now in for certification, the University is emerging as one of Canada’s leaders in green buildings in post secondary education. A key contributor to this success is mandatory energy performance requirements for new buildings. Behind this success though, is a much larger plan to lead in slashing institutional operating costs and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

University of Calgary’s Energy Environment and Experiential Learning building Credit: Tom Arban Architectural Photography

Since the 2008 signing of the University and College President’s Climate Change Statement of Action for Canada (UCPCCSAC), the University of Calgary, along with about 28 other universities and colleges across Canada, has developed and implemented a plan to drive down institutional greenhouse gas emissions and sharpened their focus on research initiatives to address the climate change challenge. A similar declaration in the United States has nearly 700 university and college president signatories.

In 2010, after input from students, faculty, and technical staff, the University released a Climate Action Plan. This established institutional goals and strategies for how the University will reduce institutional greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Ambitious targets were set: GHG emission reductions of 45% by 2015, and 80% by 2050. Strategies touch most aspects of institutional operations from business travel and waste management to energy supply and community engagement.

The University’s Energy Performance Initiative (EPI) addresses GHG emissions in the built environment – the largest contributor to institutional emissions. Following are six key strategies within the EPI program:

Rethinking energy supply: As the ageing central heating and cooling plant was nearing capacity, the University needed to upgrade and expand capacity.This provided the opportunity to rethink energy supply given that procurement of electricity from the largely coal fired provincial grid was resulting in very high institutional emissions. Last year, installation of a 13 MW cogeneration system (combined heat and power) was completed in a retrofit of the central heating and cooling plant. The university now produces 100% of the base-load of electricity on campus, displacing a significant portion of electricity historically purchased from the provincial grid. Waste heat is captured and used for space heating and domestic water on main campus. The completed project has led to an 80,000 metric tonnes annual emissions reduction. With a five-year payback on the incremental cost of co-generation, this also represents a very good economic and business strategy for the university.

Controlling emissions growth from new buildings. Since every time a new building is added, overall emission reductions become more of a challenge. To control growth a change in design standards was implemented to establish mandatory energy performance requirements for all new buildings and major retrofits.

Retrofitting of existing buildings. Three phases of existing building retrofits are now complete, totalling more than 35,000 tonnes of emissions reductions. A master plan for the 4th phase is finished, and a 5th phase is in the wings for the Foothills Medical Campus. Collectively, Phases 4 and 5 have the emissions reduction potential to go the extra distance to the 2020 target of a 60% reduction.

Existing building recommissioning. Just as a car needs tuning up over time, the university is committed to bringing buildings back to their optimal performance as they deteriorate over time. Following completion of a recommissioning pilot project this summer, an ongoing programme and continuous improvement process will be rolled out across campus.

Demand reduction and occupant engagement. Despite greater energy efficiency in the overall buildings, the density of energy use inside buildings is rising. To address this demand reduction and engage users of the buildings is key. A few initiatives in support of this include:

  • A desktop computer power-down pilot program was successfully completed and will be rolled out across campus. This complements energy-efficiency standards for all desktop computing equipment.
  • An exterior lighting upgrade program is underway to retrofit all exterior lighting to LED.
  • An assessment of the 1,000 or so research-related refrigeration units has been completed. A sterling engine -80C freezer pilot is underway.
  • A peer-to-peer engagement project called “Sustainability On” will involve the campus community in energy efficiency and sustainability. Using the principles of community-based social marketing, the sustainability office has trained 70 coordinators across departments and residences who then train their peers to take action on sustainability. There are building-to-building competitions, which have made reductions of up to 24% in energy use over a three-week period.

Staff capacity building. Driving emissions down and keeping them down requires a diverse, engaged and knowledgeable internal team. To support this, the university has invested in training and education programmes aimed at both building operations staff and technical engineering staff. Additionally, a new energy-management system provides operating staff with the capacity to analyse energy-use data to observe trends or changes in energy-use patterns. Opportunities for greater efficiency or corrective action can be identified and promptly acted upon to help save energy and costs.

Energy Performance Initiative Results to Date:

  • Approximately $7.4 million in annual cost avoidance
  • An equivalent of a 35% reduction in Main Campus GHG emissions – positioning the University at the forefront of progress on Canadian campuses, and putting them well on the way to achieving the 2015 target of a 45% reduction.
  • Enhanced staff engagement and pride from working on innovative projects that make a tangible difference in reducing operating costs and GHG emissions.

For further information regarding the University of Calgary’s energy initiatives and the ‘Sustainability On’ program, please visit“>

WADE Participates in IHS CERAWeek 2013

Attendees at a networking session at the IHS CERAWeek 2013

Houston, USA: The annual global meeting of the prestigious IHS CERAWeek 2013 was held in Houston on March 4-8, 2013. WADE was represented by David Sweet, Executive Director at the event.

The theme for 2013 is Drivers of Change: Geopolitics, Economics and the Energy Future. The energy industry is undergoing a profound transformation driven by new technologies, shifts in global demand, regulatory uncertainties and the new realities and cost structure of supply.

At the same time, continuing and growing economic uncertainty, particularly in Europe and emerging Asia – along with geopolitical tensions in the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Latin America – all pose new risks and challenges as companies invest to meet future energy needs.

IHS CERAWeek 2013 offered new insights into the energy future and on the strategic and investment responses by producers, consumers and policy-makers.

IHS CERAWeek is the leading gathering of senior energy decision-makers from around the world, which provided presentations from over 300 speakers, including senior industry executives, government officials and thought leaders, discuss in the changing energy playing field.

For more information on all the issues covered at this IHS CERAWeek, as well as on who spoke, please visit

WADE at COGEN Europe

Brussels, Belgium: In April, the international cogeneration industry gathered in Brussels, Belgium for COGEN Europe’s 20th annual conference. According to the results of a “snapshot survey” presented at the conference, the economic crisis has softened demand for cogeneration in Europe. Despite the tepid near-term outlook, there are several bright spots in Europe’s cogeneration market. For example, in Germany, the Energy Transition programme (“Energiewende”) has increased payments for electricity generated by cogeneration plants, and reaffirmed cogeneration’s priority access to the grid. Meanwhile, the ene.field project marks a major milestone for fuel cell micro-CHP technologies in Europe. The project will install up to 1000 residential fuel cell units in 12 countries over the next five years. William Pentland, the Director of Energy Markets and Regulation, participated in a Panel Debate on views of cogeneration outside the EU, which also included representatives from Japan, Mexico and Australia. Pentland emphasized that the shale gas revolution is likely to have significant long-term impacts on the cogeneration industry in the United States.

WADE Thai Presents at Clean Power Asia 2013

Bangkok, Thailand: The World Alliance for Thai Decentralized Energy Association (WADE THAI), the Thai chapter of World Alliance for Decentralized Energy (WADE) played a key role in Clean Power Asia 2013 held on 29-30 April 2013 at Bangkok Convention Centre at Central World.

Delegates in an interactive session at the Clean Power Asia conference

The 3rd annual Clean Power Asia provided a superior platform for public and private power generating utilities/ IPPs, government bodies and policy makers, legal and financial advisors, and technology solution and service providers interested in renewable energy initiatives, projects and technologies.

As one of the main supporting organizations, WADE THAI endorsed the event to its network of more than 500 relevant stakeholders in the energy and environment sector in Asia. Dr. Ludovic Lacrosse, one of WADE THAI Directors presented at the event on “Decentralized Energy: A Local Solution for Global Problems”, and chaired conference sessions on “Risk Identification and Mitigation”, “Integrating Renewable Energy into the Grid” and “Carbon Emission Trading”.

The event was also endorsed by Thailand’s EGAT, MEA and PEA, as well as the Ministry of Energy’s Department of Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency.

WADE Chairs at Annual Conference on Microgeneration and Related Technologies

Naples, Italy: In April, researchers, manufacturers and policy experts convened in Naples for the third annual International Conference on Microgeneration and Related Technologies.

The multi-disciplinary proceedings focused on barriers and opportunities to deployment of high-efficiency distributed energy systems and diffusion of low-carbon microgeneration technologies for residential and small commercial applications. Many of the papers presented at the conference, which will appear in a special issue of the journal Applied Thermal Engineering, addressed building-integration strategies and grid interconnection policies affecting deployment of microgeneration technologies. William Pentland, the Director of Energy Markets and Regulation at the World Alliance for Decentralized Energy, chaired the Industry Day Program held on the second day of the conference. Pentland and several of the other industry representatives emphasized the need for robust policies and programmes to support the commercialisation of microgeneration technologies. In particular, streamlining the grid interconnection process was identified as a critical priority for policymakers in Italy and several other EU countries.

William Pentland Joins WADE as Director for Markets & Regulations

William Pentland, Director of Markets & Regulations, WADE

WADE welcomes William Pentland onboard as Director of Markets & Regulations.

William Pentland is the Chair of the Northeast Clean Heat and Power Initiative, and a member of the Advisory Board for the Maryland Clean Energy Center. Previously, Mr Pentland served as the Senior Director of Market Development at ClearEdge Power, Inc, a micro-CHP fuel cell manufacturer.

Prior to joining ClearEdge, Mr. Pentland focused on the full spectrum of barriers and misconceptions about distributed generation and energy-efficiency technologies as the Senior Energy Systems Analyst at the Pace Energy and Climate Center in White Plains, New York.

He has written about about energy and environmental issues for Forbes, The Nation, Mother Jones and several other publications. Mr. Pentland previously practiced law in New York City at the law firms Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP and Jenner & Block, LLP. He is a graduate of Stanford Law School and Occidental College.

Mr. Pentland can be reached at

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