Energy & Climate

The Green Gryphon Initiative 

At U of G, we commit to securing a brighter future. It unites us in our mission to put innovation into action. The Green Gryphon Initiative is part of that commitment. Launched in 2013, this $26.2 million plan has resulted in the annual reduction of 4,700 tonnes of GHG emissions. This partnership between Physical Resources, the University of Guelph, and the Student Energy Retrofit Fund has also contributed to more than $2.5 million in annual savings. Through large-scale lighting retrofits, heating and cooling system upgrades, water savings measures, thermal energy storage, and community engagement, the Green Gryphon Initiative is part of who we are at U of G. Together; we Improve Life.

No Heat Wasted 

U of G utilizes a century-old district energy system; that system enables reducing emissions associated with heating the campus.

In the early 1900s, our district heating system was developed to carry steam heated by a centrally-located coal-burning boiler to heat the few buildings on campus at the time. There were savings in labour and expenses with district energy by having one boiler instead of each building needing a furnace room and people to stoke each building's furnace. Over 100 years later, the tunnels that were put in place then are supporting the University’s goal to decarbonize campus heating by improving the efficiency of our district energy system and maximizing heat recovery.

For example, in 2004, the first Heat Recovery System was installed as part of energy efficiency upgrades at the Central Utilities Plant. This system captured waste heat to warm water, heating the Mackinnon Building, the Mackinnon extension and Rozanski Hall with heat previously wasted.

The Heat Recovery System was expanded in 2019 to warm eight more buildings with waste heat. This captured waste heat is considered zero incremental carbon, as additional natural gas is not used to heat the water resulting in over 5000 tonnes of eCO2/ year.

Sustainable By Design

In the last five years, 537,022 ft2 of new construction and adaptive reuse of buildings at U of G has been Leadership in Energy, and Environmental Design (LEED) certified. This number will continue to grow, improving the life-cycle of our built environments and benefiting the future of our places and people. Physical Resources is leading the way forward; construction, maintenance, improvements, and planning shape a campus that puts sustainability first.

Cool Roofs

Imagine a campus classroom at U of G. Inside; students are committed to advancing sustainability. Outside, that commitment manifests itself in the very structure of the building they’re learning, researching and studying in. On every new or renovated building, a ‘cool roof’ reflects sunlight into the atmosphere, helping to reduce the cooling demands of the building in the summer. This measure, mandated by Physical Resources, Building Design Standard, is just one of the ways environmentally sustainable design is integrated all over campus – this is it in action just overhead.