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CAN (BC): Energy efficient heat pumps being installed in UFV’s Trades and Technology Centre

To reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions at the Chilliwack campus at Canada Education Park, UFV is working with Fortis-BC Energy Inc. (FortisBC) as an early adopter in their Gas Absorption Heat Pump (GAHP) program.

FortisBC will contribute approximately $570,000 to the design, purchase, installation, and commissioning of GAHP technology at UFV’s Trades and Technology Centre (TTC). The project will see six heating and one combined heating/supplemental cooling GAHP units installed. They’ll include measurement and verification instrumentation, with the ability to showcase real-time performance data. Work on installation began in late December 2023 and will be completed by March.

This system transfers heat between ambient outdoor and indoor air and moves it inside or outside, depending on whether spaces need to be heated or cooled. There is heat within outdoor air, even in winter, which can be used for heating. By capturing heat, less natural gas is needed compared to the boiler systems that are currently in place, making the new GAHP technology set up more than 100 percent energy efficient.

“This technology will showcase an innovative solution to heating and supplemental cooling at UFV while taking important steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions causing climate change,” says Doran Hoge, director of energy and environmental sustainability in UFV’s Office of Sustainability.

UFV’s TTC is a 70,000-square-foot building that was constructed around 1974 and renovated in 2007. It houses workshops and classrooms for a wide range of programs, including but not limited to Plumbing and Piping, Floral Design, Culinary Arts, and Welding. The building currently uses approximately 10,000 gigajoules of natural gas per year. This project is estimated to save 860 gigajoules of natural gas and 37 tonnes of greenhouse gases annually.

“We applaud UFV for their leadership in advancing innovative approaches to saving energy by installing these units in their facilities, and we are proud to work with them to host the first GAHP demonstration and training facility in Canada,” says Danielle Wensink, director of conservation and energy management at FortisBC. “This is an excellent educational opportunity for the staff, students, and FortisBC’s commercial customers to see a GAHP system in operation and learn more about how energy efficiency plays a key role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

The GAHP demonstration and training system will allow the university to track real-time energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, which will be available for use as a teaching tool for courses at UFV. The TTC will also serve as an educational facility for property managers, engineers, and contractors interested in GAHP technology.


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