Gurtaj Bajwa, a building engineer, makes notes after checking pressure readings from the geothermal system at the Instructional Centre.
The system, which began operating in 2011, heats the centre in winter and cools it in summer – without the need for a boiler or chiller. All that’s required is a small amount of electricity, which enables U of T Mississauga to reduce its carbon emissions.
The system functions a bit like a battery, explains Kranti Sharma, senior manager, utilities services, and chief operating engineer. During the hotter months, the geothermal system strips excess heat from inside the building and stores it inside a network of pipes, deep underground. Then, in winter, the stored heat is taken out of the ground and pumped into the building to warm it.
U of T Mississauga’s new science building also features a geothermal system; it covers 90 per cent of the building’s energy load, drastically reducing the building’s carbon emissions.
U of T Mississauga is aiming to create a carbon neutral campus before mid-century. By 2030, UTM will design and construct new buildings to a minimum LEED gold standard under the Canadian Green Building Council guidelines.