UBC Graduate Research

UBC transition from steam to hot water district energy : alternatives for addressing MacMillan’s steam orphanage and UBC’s absorption chillers Castro, Brenda Scott


The current steam heating system will be replaced with a hot water distribution system that will reduce campus GHG emissions by 22%, energy use by 24%, and up to $4 million/year in operational and energy costs. Even though heating and domestic hot water are the main end uses of most buildings on campus, there are buildings that require steam for other processes; those buildings will become steam orphans. The purpose of this project is to identify alternatives for addressing the steam orphanage for MacMillan building’s steam equipment, as well as for the three UBC’s campus absorption chillers in three other buildings. The main objectives for this project are: to outline the specifications, operating hours, steam consumption, O&M costs, GHG impacts and life expectancy of MacMillan’s steam equipment and the three absorption chillers in CICSR, FSC, and Brimacombe. As well as to evaluate feasibility, costs and business case for different alternatives. Three indicators were chosen to identify the best option for each building: capital cost, net present value and GHG impacts. However, from a simple environmental perspective, if the following options are implemented: MacMillan – New Autoclaves, CICSR – Heat Recovery Chiller, FSC – Electric Chiller, and Brimacombe – Electric Chiller. UBC can save up to 1,360 tonnes of GHG emissions, which is equal to 2.2% of total campus yearly emissions. Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report.”

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