Green Buildings

As part of our commitment to becoming a low-carbon campus, Western is looking to embed sustainable design as part of any new construction or major renovation on campus. We also actively monitor energy usage on campus through the Western Environmental System (WES) to promote efficiency and conservation in building operations.

Electric Boilers

Western's Power Plant produces steam for space heating, hot water, humidification and sterilization across main campus and the University Hospital. The Power Plant - one of Western's oldest buildings at over 100 years old - uses natural gas boilers to generate steam. These steam boilers are responsible for the majority of Western's carbon emissions.

Western has received $4.75 million from Environment and Climate Change Canada, towards installing electric boiler capacity that will replace an aging natural gas boiler. Construction for this $16 million project will begin in 2024. The two new electric boilers will produce about 40% of the university's steam, and reduce overall campus emissions by 20-30%. This project is a major initiative that will help towards Western achieving its 2030 greenhouse gas reduction targets. Learn more about the funding announcement and electric boiler in Western News.

Deep Energy Retrofit Program (DERP)

The Deep Energy Retrofit Program (DERP) exists to renovate older buildings on campus to improve their energy efficiency and reduce emissions. It seeks to update equipment, systems and controls strategies to reduce energy consumption and operational carbon emissions. DERP improves the energy and emissions performance of buildings individually, and also on a campus-wide scale by connecting decentralized heating and cooling infrastructure with Western's energy loop. The energy loop transports heat between buildings, making it possible to redistribute heat from buildings with excess heat to buildings that require heat.

DERP measures can include things like:

  • Properly decommissioning systems that are no longer in use
  • Right-sizing equipment for efficiency and reducing wear and tear
  • Switching away from (natural gas) steam heating and humidification to electric heat pumps and evaporative humidifiers
  • Switching to variable flow/speed equipment instead of using bypasses and throttling techniques
  • Recovering waste heat from equipment and processes and using it for space or water heating
  • Updating equipment/building schedules so equipment only operates when needed
  • Updating control sequences to ensure that equipment operates in a consistent manner across campus
  • Adding monitoring and isolation valves to facilitate maintenance, leak detection and troubleshooting

On average DERP projects result in a 60-80% reduction in emissions per building. Western aims to complete 1-2 DERP projects per year. Current and completed projects include:

  • Siebens-Drake Research Institute (SDRI) - Expected completion 2024
  • Western Student Recreation Centre (WSRC) - Completed 2023
  • Spencer Engineering Building (SEB) - Complete
  • Claudette MacKay Lassonde Pavillion (CMLP) - Complete

Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED®)

The use of external certification programs, such as LEED®, not only helps showcase our commitment to sustainable buildings, but also complies with internationally-recognized standards and performance measurements.

LEED®-certified buildings create a better indoor environment for occupants, have high quality insulation and air quality, and consume less energy and water than traditional buildings. These outcomes are aligned with Western's long-term sustainability goals and help create a greener campus.

Green buildings encompass many types of features, including elements that promote human wellness. For example, the green wall in Thames Hall enhances air quality and provides a relaxing space full of greenery and daylight that helps foster wellness. Learn more about the features of LEED®-certified and other green buildings on a Green Campus Tour!

Western currently has 13 LEED® buildings:

  • Amit Chakma Engineering Building (ACEB) - LEED® Platinum (2019)
  • Western Interdisciplinary Research Building (WIRB) - LEED® Gold (2018)
  • Delaware Hall Residence -LEED® Silver (2018)
  • Music Building - LEED® Gold (2017)
  • Physics and Astronomy Building - LEED® Certified (2015)
  • Ivey Business School - LEED® Gold (2015)
  • The Collider - LEED® Silver (2015)
  • Western Centre for Public Health & Family Medicine - LEED® Silver (2015)
  • Ontario Hall Residence - LEED® Silver (2015)
  • WINDEEE - LEED® Silver (2014)
  • Stevenson Hall and Lawson Hall - LEED® Silver (2014)
  • McIntosh Gallery - LEED® Silver (2012)
  • Claudette MacKay Lassonde Pavillion - LEED® Gold (2010)