DC celebrates opening of Energy Innovation Centre

Durham College (DC) celebrated the completion of its geothermal field and grand opening of its Energy Innovation Centre (EIC), which together leverage clean, sustainable underground thermal energy for the heating and cooling of the college’s Gordon Willey building.

“This facility is such a great addition to our Oshawa campus,” said Marianne Marando, associate vice-president, Academic at DC. “Not only will the Energy Innovation Centre work in tandem with our green initiatives to reduce the college’s carbon footprint, but it will do so while providing our students with a unique living lab that offers both a self-guided learning experience for all students and experiential learning opportunities for students in select programs.”

Stephane Chayer, vice-president of Smart Infrastructure at Siemens Canada spoke on behalf of the organization at the opening and presented DC with a cheque for $27,500 – a grant awarded via the Siemens Empower Sustainability Education program that will further assist DC in its applied learning student opportunities. Siemens Canada is the primary contractor and industry partner for the geothermal project and EIC and provided valuable expertise throughout the entire process.

“We’re very appreciative of our relationship with Durham College and proud that they chose Siemens as their partner to help make the geothermal field and Energy Innovation Centre a reality,” said Stephane Chayer, vice-president of Smart Infrastructure, Siemens Canada. “DC is a trailblazing Ontario institution in its commitment to sustainability leadership, innovation and applied learning – we’re confident that this project positively contributes to Durham’s energy transformation on campus.” 

Open to students, employees and the public, the EIC facility provides an exhibit-like atmosphere where visitors can learn more about how the geothermal system works through signage and interactive touch screen monitors that feature system diagrams and performance metrics. Additionally, a real-time energy dashboard provides insight on campus energy savings and the reduction of associated greenhouse gas emissions.

This project is just part of the ongoing transformation of DC’s energy infrastructure to support and implement sustainably focused initiatives on campus. This past year, the college’s Centre for Collaborative Education achieved Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design® (LEED®) Gold level certification. Additionally, DC was named one of Canada’s Greenest Employers for the third consecutive year in a row.

For more information on how the geothermal system at DC works, check out the video below created by Siemens Canada.

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