August 23, 2004

Lakehead U upgrading to save $15M in energy costs

Lakehead University has signed a strategic business agreement with Johnson Controls as a central element of a comprehensive infrastructure renewal program designed to significantly enhance classroom and research environments. These improvements are projected to save the university $15 million (Cdn) in energy costs, in addition to addressing $12.3 million (Cdn) in deferred maintenance issues over a 19-year period. Financially, the program combines energy cost savings and avoided maintenance costs to generate excess funds over the long term.

"Lakehead University is committed to a sustainable and responsible energy solution for its aging facilities. Much of our 30- to 40-year-old equipment is no longer efficient, and we needed to put in place a strategic solution that would result in significant operational savings to resolve part of the University's deferred maintenance problem and be environmentally sustainable," said university president Dr Fred Gilbert. The agreement will improve the heating, cooling, lighting and air quality within different areas of the university.

The work, which has already begun, is scheduled for completion in June 2005. It is being supported in part by a grant of $250,000 from Natural Resources Canada's "Energy Innovators Initiative" program.

The project calls for two engineering co-op students from the university to be part of the Johnson Controls team. The team will collaborate with Lakehead U's physical plant, which will be responsible for implementing a new central cooling plant, a new central heating plant, a new heating distribution system, and lighting and air quality improvements in student and academic buildings on campus.

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