University of British Columbia’s energy-efficiency initiative receives a boost through the Low Carbon Economy Fund 

News release

A glass structure of the Bioenergy Research and Demonstration Facility. The University of British Columbia is fighting Climate Change and supporting jobs creation, reducing 14,600 tonnes of GHG emissions with the help of approximately $974,000 in funding.
The Government of Canada supports University of British Columbia’s emission reduction through the Low Carbon Economy Partnerships Fund.

October 27, 2020 – Vancouver, British Columbia

Canadians from coast to coast to coast are taking action to tackle climate change in their communities. The Government of Canada is supporting municipalities, Indigenous communities, small and medium-sized businesses, universities, schools, and hospitals, in their important work to reduce pollution and create a cleaner economy.

Today, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, spoke with the President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of British Columbia, Santa J. Ono. Minister Wilkinson congratulated and recognized the University of British Columbia’s shared commitment to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 through climate-action initiatives such as its District Waste Heat Recovery Project, which received approximately $974,000 in funding from the Low Carbon Economy Fund. This initiative will install heat-recovery systems that will reduce the University’s reliance on natural gas. The new system will redirect the heat recovered to the campus’s hot-water district energy system, which supplies the majority of its buildings with heat and hot water so that students can live and work in a cleaner environment.

This funding builds on a 2019 investment of $7.6 million under the Low Carbon Economy Challenge’s Champions stream to support the University’s biomass-expansion project, which increases its renewable-energy capacity.

Over the lifetime of this project, the University of British Columbia will see a cumulative reduction of about 14,600 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions—equivalent to removing approximately 4,500 cars off the road for one year. The University will also save $1 million in heating costs annually through this project.

The funding for this investment comes from the Partnerships stream of the Government of Canada’s Low Carbon Economy Challenge, which invests in projects that reduce carbon pollution, save money, and create good jobs.

Canada’s climate plan is on track to deliver the largest emissions reduction in the country’s history. The Government of Canada will continue to bring forward new and enhanced climate-action measures to exceed our 2030 target and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. 


“Canadian universities are leading by example with climate-change solutions through research, technology, and innovative ideas. Our government will continue to invest in projects that support clean energy in educational institutions like the University of British Columbia so that students can live and work in cleaner, more sustainable environments for generations to come.”
– The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change 

“This investment from the Government of Canada will help UBC maintain our global leadership in climate action and move us closer to our goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The new heat-recovery systems will enhance the efficiency of UBC’s already state-of-the-art Bioenergy Research Demonstration Facility, which is currently being upgraded to produce up to 70 percent of our Vancouver campus’s thermal energy using clean, locally sourced wood waste. The new heat-recovery systems will reduce UBC’s emissions by over 1,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.”
– Santa J. Ono, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of British Columbia 

Quick facts

  • The upgraded heat-recovery system will help recover one megawatt thermal, which would otherwise be wasted. 

  • The Partnerships stream of the Low Carbon Economy Fund is an important part of Canada’s climate-action plan, helping put Canada on a path to meet and exceed the Paris Agreement target for 2030. 

  • The Low Carbon Economy Fund is supporting energy-efficiency projects in provinces and territories across Canada, which will help Canadians and businesses save money by lowering energy bills. Additionally, support is available to industries to put in place clean technologies that will help them be more efficient and innovative—creating jobs and savings across Canada. 

Associated links


Moira Kelly
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Media Relations
Environment and Climate Change Canada
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll-free)

Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Twitter page

Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Facebook page 

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