Climate and Energy

Climate and Energy

UCalgary saves annual utility costs by reducing GHG emissions from our built environment.

Help reduce a building's electricity usage by up to a third:

Turn off lights

Take the stairs

Power down computers

Report issues to Facilities

Energy Leadership

UCalgary is a Canadian post-secondary leader in carbon emissions reductions. 

As a signatory to the 2015 Paris Agreement, Canada committed to reducing greenhouse gases (GHG) by 30 per cent across the country by 2030 in an effort to help reduce global carbon emissions. The University of Calgary surpassed the 2030 target more than a decade ahead of time, attaining a GHG reduction of over 30 per cent across the institution since 2008.

Guided by the University of Calgary’s Climate Action Plan and the Institutional Sustainability Strategy (ISS) and its framework on Sustainability in Administration and Operations, UCalgary is striving to attain net-carbon neutrality by 2050 through being a Canadian post-secondary leader in energy efficiency and healthy, high performance green buildings. 

Energy Supply

Cogeneration System: Combined Heat and Power

UCalgary’s Central Heating and Cooling Plant’s Cogeneration system has reduced institutional GHG emissions by more than 60,000 metric tonnes each year since 2011.

Renewable Energy

UCalgary is shifting towards a cleaner and greener energy supply by generating our own renewable energy with on-site photovoltaic (PV) arrays. 

Solar on Campus

Canadian Natural Resources Limited Complex

Canadian Natural Resources Limited Complex

A 60 kilowatt (kW) array on the roof of the Engineering G block in the Canadian Natural Resources Limited Complex. This array is the largest installation of PV panels anywhere on campus and is expected to generate over 66,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per year to help power the building - that's enough energy to power the equivalent of ten Alberta homes


Child Development Centre

A 43.4 kW array on the roof of the Child Development Centre. This PV system was awarded the Canadian Solar Industries Association ‘2007 Project of the Year’ and was the first building to achieve LEED Platinum status in a cold climate

Social Sciences Building

Social Sciences Building

In February 2023, the University of Calgary completed the installation of 1,100 square metres of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels on the south side of the Social Sciences building in an exciting step to further its Climate Action Plan. The photovoltaics will produce 225 kilowatts of electricity, covering 90 per cent of the electrical load power for the building.

Energy Efficiency


Existing Buildings: Utility Reduction Program

To date, the Utility Reduction Program (URPr) has invested more than $35 million in renewed building systems at the Main and Foothills campuses. It has reduced UCalgary’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by ~30,000 tonnes and generated more than ~$6 million in annual cost savings. 

Projects within the program are designed to bring aging infrastructure up to more energy efficient standards with a focus on mechanical upgrades, lighting retrofits, and installation of energy recovery systems. URPr selects and implements projects based on its potential to improve building energy efficiency and reduce GHG emissions.

The URPr investments into the building controls enable improved indoor environmental air quality by tracking ventilation rates within the laboratory spaces to ensure they are meeting the operation requirements of the space. In addition, demand control ventilation improves indoor air quality by allowing the ventilation system to adjust for increased times of building and space occupancy.

Utility Reduction Program (URPr) Outcomes

Energy Demand Management Plan

In 2020, UCalgary engaged in developing an Energy Demand Management Plan (EDMP). The EDMP is a strategic document dedicated to improving existing building energy performance. A supporting document to the 2019 CAP, the EDMP’s identifies engagement, operational, reporting and technological advancement opportunities that will enable the institution to reach its 50% GHG emission reduction target by 2030. The EDMP prioritizes efforts on energy intensive buildings by identifying, screening and implementing energy improvement projects across the institution’s top energy users. Proposed initiatives include the Utility Reduction Program (URPr), deep energy retrofits, and energy optimization and operational improvements.

These programs will use data-driven decision making processes to improve institutional energy performance, reduce GHG missions and avoid utility costs, thereby creating more sustainable and energy-efficient campuses. Inspired by best practices in energy management, including the internationally recognized ISO 50001 standard, the EDMP offers impactful recommendations to unite people, technology and processes and align them with the university’s strategic vision for sustainability.

Energy usage

UCalgary continues to take meaningful actions towards reducing its overall energy consumption. In conjunction to the EDMP, the university is working hard to ensure sufficient resources are available for the campus community to develop an understanding of ways they can reduce energy consumption. 

Campus energy usage intensity. In 2021-22 total energy usage was 2,514,459 GJ and intensity was 2.43 GJ per meters squared.

GHG Emissions Reductions

UCalgary has reduced GHG emissions* by implementing initiatives and programs that make our energy supply and buildings more efficient. As of 2022, we have achieved a 39 per cent reduction from our 2008 baseline, eliminating more than 92,000 tonnes in annual GHG emissions. That’s equivalent to taking approximately 30,000 passenger vehicles off the road for a year.

*Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions, taking into account energy efficiency conservation measures in 2022-23.

In 2022-23 there was a 39% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions
Solar cells located in the Hunter Student commons

New Buildings: Green Building Program

With 14 Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified projects, and 4 registered projects currently underway, UCalgary is a Canadian leader in high performance green buildings. Find out how the redeveloped MacKimmie Tower is a high-performance, net-zero carbon building and one of the first projects striving for certification with the Canada Green Building Council’s Zero Carbon Building Standard

Clinical Skills

Each year, UCalgary’s Green Building Program reduces

- Electricity consumption by more than 30,000,000 kWh.

- Natural gas usage by more than 72,000 GJ.

- Main campus cooling requirements by more than 98,000 GJ.

- Main campus heating requirements by more than 90,000 GJ.

Collectively, this reduces GHG emissions by approximately 14,000 tonnes annually.