Climate and Energy

The Camosun Energy Project is about becoming more efficient in our energy practices and reducing energy consumption. It's about promoting a college-wide shift to a more sustainable behaviour amongst our students, staff and faculty and taking pride in being part of the larger movement to collectively curb climate change.

Camosun's Energy Plan

Camosun's five-year Energy Plan concluded on a high note in March 2013, greatly exceeding its targets and resulting in:

  • over $2.7 Million contributed to the fiscal bottom line in avoided costs and new equipment/infrastructure
  • in 2012, over $400,000 was saved in electricity and gas consumption combined (compared to the 2005 baseline)
  • the goal of saving 200 tonnes of Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2012 (5-year target) was more than quadrupled with an 828 tonne reduction
  • Carbon offsets worth over $48,500 each year, entirely compensating for Camosun's annual carbon tax of $40,500

Please see Camosun Energy Project Charter PDF for the planning details and learn more about Carbon Neutral goals and action reporting.

Energy Plan – Going Forward

Camosun plans to continue with a program of energy management, setting new goals and targets for the future. The college will continue to identify energy performance, factors and trends. Our focus will be on identifying energy savings retrofit opportunities, new building developments (such as the Centre for Trades Education and Innovation) and Power Smart incentive opportunities.

Building Retrofits

Camosun also received funding from the Public Sector Energy Conservation Agreement (PSECA) to perform energy saving retrofits to both campuses. Energy saving retrofits to Interurban campus were completed in 2011, and in 2012 the Lansdowne energy retrofit project was implemented. This project targeted energy efficiency, replacing gas burners with air-to-water heat pumps, installing a solar hot-water heating system and pioneering a solution for recycling welding exhaust gases to save on heating bills.

As part of the project, the entire lighting system in the Fisher building was replaced (shift from fluorescent lighting to T5s and electronic ballasts). Additionally, the five major buildings at Camosun's Interurban campus are enrolled in the BC Hydro Continuous Optimization program to ensure the ongoing efficiency of existing operations.

Additional retrofit projects are completed on a case-by-case, ongoing basis. As a general policy, when ageing or malfunctioning equipment is due for replacement at Camosun, it is replaced by higher efficiency products. Some examples include:

  • Old boilers were replaced by high efficiency Condensate Boilers.
  • Old lighting replaced with LED or higher efficiency fluorescent lighting
  • Heating and cooling pumps that would needlessly run at full capacity have had Speed Drives added to their control to vary their output based on demand.
  • Several areas on campus have had heat exchanges added to recover and reintroduce heat from exhaust systems back into the buildings.

Alternative Transportation

  • Alternative Transportation Campaign: increasing awareness and promoting alternative travel choices such as cycling, transit, walking or carpooling.
  • Bike Repair: Fix-it Stations on both campuses
  • Camosun Express Pilot: Providing direct travel between the Lansdowne and Interurban campuses.  The Camosun Express will help reduce carbon gas emissions by reducing single occupancy vehicle (SOV) intercampus travel. Data from the 2011 Getting Here survey indicates that of those who travel between campuses, 65% do so alone.
  • Cycling Challenge 2014: 97 riders (both students and staff), four teams, and a total of 9,054.2 commuting kilometres logged in just 2 short weeks.
  • Bike to Work: celebrations and support for Bike to Work Day and Bike to Work Week.
  • Videoconferencing: With two campuses, Camosun employees with help from the ITS department make active use of videoconferencing to reduce travel time and GHGs.

Solar Technology

Solar Array, Electric Vehicle and E-Bike Charging Stations

School of Trades and Technology, Mechanical Engineering Department
Ross Lyle

With funding from President's Funds 2013 grants, Camosun College has installed a 4 KW Solar Photovoltaic (PV) array to offset the charging of electric vehicles, electric bikes/scooters and electric grounds keeping tools at the Interurban Campus.  Last year, two President's Funds proposals were submitted – one for an Electric Vehicle (EV) charging station and the other for solar charging of electric grounds keeping tools.  The grants were approved on the understanding that the recipients work together to complete their projects.  Along the way, the Camosun College Student Society (CCSS) heard about the project and offered to provide additional funding if a four stall Ebike charging station could be added.  With funding for an increased solar array size, the project has grown to include offsetting the power used by the interurban grounds keeping golf carts and battery powered hand tools.   The energy provided by the array, which feeds power directly into Camosun's electrical grid, along with the energy consumed by the various charging stations is fully monitored.  After a year of operation, the goal is to show that the sun's energy provides more energy than is required by all the charging stations.  The array was installed by Electrical Apprentice students under the guidance of Home Energy Solutions, the solar array provider.  The array's performance will be monitored by Electronics and Mechanical Engineering Technology students over the course of the year.

Solar Thermal Systems Demonstration

School of Trades & Technology, Plumbing & Pipe Trades
Darren Vaux

There are six functional solar thermal systems on the roof of the John Drysdale building that are used for teaching. They are connected to thermal storage tanks inside the solar lab. The systems were donated by manufacturers or local contractors, or else partially funded 50% by the manufacturer. There is also a shower drain heat exchanger model in the lab, which demonstrates how heat can be recovered from grey hot water flowing through drain pipes that is then used to preheat the cold water coming into the tank thereby reducing energy costs.

"CamoSun" Solar Heating Thermal System

School of Trades & Technology, Plumbing & Pipe Trades
James Smyth, Darren Vaux, Ross Lyle

Camosun's Plumbing and Pipefitting program collaborated with Pacific Solar Smart Homes to develop an innovative"CamoSun" solar heating system for residential homes. Installation of the innovative solar heating system is currently made available and affordable through Solar Colwood's home energy program.

Solar Thermal Installation at Gordon Head Recreation Centre

School of Trades & Technology, Plumbing & Pipe Trades
Darren Vaux, James Smyth, Matthew Thornloe

When the municipality of Saanich received a donation of solar thermal collectors, faculty and students from Camosun's Plumbing and Pipe Trades department stepped in to help with the installation. Now the Gordon Head Recreation Centre is using solar energy to heat thousands of gallons of water used in showers and sinks.

Solar Power - Environmental Technology Field Project

School of Arts & Science, Environmental Technology
Steve Gormican, Anna Colangeli

A solar power generator and solar panel were purchased for use at the Environmental Technology Spring Field camp as a charging station for student electronics and as a teaching tool. Some of the students went on to create laptop docking station using solar power as their final sustainability project. The solar panel is currently set up on the roof and connected to a generator and computer in Fisher 338. The solar panel is still partially powering the computer and the setup is available for future projects.

TTMC 620V - Solar Thermal:  Entry Level Course

School of Trades & Technology, Plumbing & Pipe Trades/ Continuing Education
Lead: Darren Vaux, Rod Lidstone

This program intended to meet the needs of the Pipe Trades Foundations Program, Plumbing and Pipe Trades Apprentice classes. Through a series of lectures and hands-on solar labs, students will acquire the foundation needed for entry-level in the field of solar thermal and domestic hot water heating. This course is based on North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners' (NABCEP) Entry Level Learning Objectives and taught by NABCEP Certified Solar Installers. Successful completion prepares students to take the NABCEP Entry Level Exam.

Solar Electrical: Intro to PhotoVoltaics (PV) Course

School of Trades & Technology: Electrical/ Continuing Education
Dan Daigle, Ed Knaggs

An introduction to solar generated electrical systems (photovoltaics), this course is for non-technical beginners including those involved in PV sales, manufacturing, and customer service, as well as the interested homeowner. Topics include the basics of the PV market, PV system components, electrical basics, safety, and sizing and siting considerations.

Paper Use

Paper-Use Reduction

  • In 2012, a new fleet of MFDs (multi-function devices) was implemented across both campuses. At the same time, Camosun dramatically reduced or phased out the number of personal and local printers. It is anticipated that this shift to more centralized printing resulted in fewer print jobs.
  • Employees were encouraged to send larger jobs to Camosun's Printshop, resulting in more efficient printing, less waste, and reduced demand for high-volume print jobs.
  • The trend from paper to digital course-packs continues. In 2011-12 fiscal year, there was a decrease of about 5% in printed course packs.
  • Nearly 100% of Camosun's printers are set to print double-sided as a permanent default. This simple but powerful change has resulted in less paper waste.
  • Camosun uses 100% post-consumer recycled paper wherever possible.
  • Any paper waste is recycled and left-over paper trimmings from the Printshop are repurposed into notepads for staff.


Information Technology Services (ITS)

  • Energy Star PC and laptop units with stand-by, sleep and idle modes
  • Eco-Friendly suppliers such as ACER
  • Donation of old computer equipment to community groups and schools
  • Implementation of Videoconferencing technology (saves mileage, time, and carbon emissions)
  • Virtualizing servers to maximize physical hardware resources and reduce power and cooling needs


Building Temperature Standards at Camosun

At Camosun, in an effort to conserve energy, the heating systems in campus buildings all run off of a weekly and annual schedule. When the buildings are occupied - anywhere between 7am and midnight - they are given a room temperature average set-point of around 22 degrees Celsius.

When the buildings are unoccupied - night-time or holidays - the room temperature average set-point is around 18 degrees Celsius.