Reducing energy use on campus
Where does our energy come from?
At the University of Canterbury (UC) coal boilers are currently used for centrally heating Ilam and Dovedale campuses and halls of residence. Electricity provides power for lighting, air-conditioning (fans; pumps; controls; etc.,) and all other plug-in equipment.
Our electricity comes from Meridian Energy. Meridian generates electricity from renewable energy sources – water; wind and Solar PV. These renewable sources donot create greenhouse gas emissions, although when accounting for the UC Greenhouse Gases there is still a constituent amount of carbon per kWh of consumption that is calculated and inserted into the inventory, as NZ presently requires, from time to time, some thermal generation using fossil fuels when renewables cannot provide for all national electricity demand. It is obviously very important to continue to increase our energy efficiency and reduce waste. When we reduce electricity consumption across campus we save valuable dollars for better use elsewhere within the University. Moreover, we also reduce national demand and reduce the need for building additional expensive electricitygeneration and grid network facilities and their associated environmental impact.
What is being done?
UC has had an energy efficiency programme since the mid-1990s. This includes energy efficient design of new buildings and renovations, energy audits and ongoing monitoring, and gradual upgrading of buildings on campus to improve their energy performance.
University of Canterbury has a collaboration agreement with Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) to work together to identify and provide: energy audits; feasibility studies and design / commissioning advice to deliver energy efficient projects.
The University has an Energy Manager. The Energy Manager's role is work with: UC Staff, consultants, contractors, EECA, learned and Best-practice organisations to focus on finding ways to increase energy efficiency in the built-environment and reduce water consumption on campus and to work with Sustainability to raise awareness with students and staff. The energy manager is also the UC’s carbon accountant and coordinates the annual CEMARS GHG inventory and presents the accounts for audit.
Some new building projects - eg the new Student's Association building - will be heated with renewable energy (in this case, ground source heat pumps). UC is also in the process of switching from coal to wood for space heating, which will have a massive impact on our carbon footprint.
UC was the first university in the Southern Hemisphere to achieve CEMARS (Certified Emissions Measurement And Reduction Scheme) certification. CEMARS certification involves measurement and planned reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) generated as a result of the university's business activities. Certification signals and demonstrates organisational commitment from UC Senior Management to reducing our impact on the environment and to the NZ Government's commitment as a party to the UNFCCC Paris Agreement.