Energy Savings

Facilities Managers have embraced energy management as an institutional priority for most of the 40-plus year history of SFU's Burnaby Campus. Heightened global interest in energy issues during the "energy crisis" of the '70s and '80s created increased support for the development of an energy plan. Although this was not unusual at the time, few institutions have steadily pursued energy conservation as Simon Fraser University has. This longevity can be attributed to the strong financial management of the program from the start. Founded on a sound business strategy of planning, assessment and carefully phased implementation, successes built one on another, allowing energy management to become institutionalized as standard business practice at Simon Fraser University's Burnaby campus. Projects implemented throughout the early years of the energy conservation program paid for themselves long ago and many times over.

Early wins and Continuous Improvement

Early projects were "no brainers," typically with 3-5 year payback periods. Early wins solidified support for a much broader program of energy conservation.

In 2001, a comprehensive study was commissioned that identified further system-wide energy saving opportunities.  These opportunities revitalized Burnaby campus' energy management program and were progressively implemented over the next eight years.

Energy Management is everyone's responsibility

SFU Burnaby campus' energy management strategy has been formalized as a four-step process relying on active involvement in energy management at all levels:

  1. Operational staff and superintendents continuously monitor energy systems to seek out the sources of wasted energy and maintain an ongoing list of energy saving opportunities.
  2. Superintendents and managers assess project proposals for potential costs and benefits before bringing them forward to senior management for further consideration.
  3. Facilities Senior Managers review each business case against broad criteria, including acceptability to users and Simon Fraser University's overall organizational goals.
  4. Chief Facilities Officer and University Senior Management review and prioritize project proposals and assign funding to implement projects.


Energy Management Proven Results

The success of Simon Fraser University's long standing energy management program is evident in the documented reduction of its energy intensity (energy consumed per square meter of space). From Simon Fraser University's opening in 1965 until 2008 (over 40 years of campus growth), building area grew almost 250%. Energy use intensity, however, actually decreased (see Graph 1) and the current intensity of 1.47 GJ/m2 is well below the average energy intensity for comparable British Columbia universities (average 1.64 GJ/m2, 2003 NRC data).

Setting a Reduction Goal

Although the Burnaby campus is increasingly energy efficient, the bar is being continuously raised to find further energy savings. Simon Fraser University has set a five-year reduction target of 2% a year for a total 10% reduction over 2007/08 energy consumption. As an example, opportunities for significant savings still exist in student residence buildings where lighting systems have not yet been upgraded. Analysis of energy consumption in two research buildings has also shown that almost 25% of energy used is in user-controlled systems. Campaigns focusing on individual behavioral change using community-based social marketing tools have achieved success elsewhere on campus and are hoped to

Community Engagement

In the winter of 2008-09, Simon Fraser University launched a campus-wide campaign to change energy consumption behaviors of building occupants. The campaign was low-cost and produced significant energy savings. Through the combined efforts of community members taking action, along with continuing Facilities Operations projects aimed at saving energy, over $250,000 has been saved over the past year. Both electricity and natural gas consumption declined (by 3,655 GJ and 20,559 GJ respectively). These savings are enough to power over 100 average households, heat 206 average-size Canadian houses for an entire year, and are equivalent to $39,000 in Simon Fraser University’s avoided costs for carbon offsets and carbon taxes.