Ottawa’s Carleton University to spend $50M on building retrofits, new environment institute

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Carleton University is preparing to launch a $50-million initiative to reduce its carbon footprint by making its facilities more energy efficiency, retrofitting several building as well as creating a new institute aimed at developing and researching clean technologies.

Darryl Boyce, Carleton’s assistant vice-president of facilities management and planning, said five buildings on the university’s campus will receive upgraded boilers, energy control systems and LED lighting as part of the retrofitting project.

The MacOdrum Library, as well as the Herzberg, Steacie, Mackenzie and Minto buildings will all be retrofitted for the project, with the latter two receiving renewable energy components through an energy services contract with Honeywell. External lighting for the university will also receive an upgrade.

Services for the remaining buildings will be contracted to other companies, with tenders going out in January. The total cost of the retrofitting portion of the project will be just under $20 million, Mr. Boyce said.

The rest of the project funds will go towards the creation of the institute for Advanced Research and Innovation in Smart Environments. The project will focus on research and development of clean technologies, health technologies and work in related fields.

The institute will be housed in a revamped version of the life sciences research building. Much of the work done there now, including wet lab research, will be relocated to the health sciences building, currently under construction. The existing building will then receive renovations including a 34,500-square-foot addition on top of the original structure.

The institute will also include incubator space for industry-related startups.

Mr. Boyce adds that around $400,000 of the funds will be used to implement intelligent building systems for the health sciences building. These systems will allow researchers to observe occupant behaviour in the building. The focus is on habitation decisions, such as when windows are opened and how heating adjustments are made based on temperature and time of day.

“This strategic investment furthers Carleton’s leadership in green technology, digital communications, big data and cybersecurity research,” said Carleton president Roseann O’Reilly Runte in a statement. “We have made great strides in these fields and we are committed to leading the way in the future, both in Canada and abroad.”

The retrofitting and creation of the ARISE project are both slated for completion by April 2018.

The federal government government is providing Carleton with $22.5 million for the project, while the province is chipping in an additional $3.9 million. Carleton will contribute $23.5 million of its own funds to the project, bringing the total amount to $49.9 million.