Oshawa’s Ontario Tech installs five-storey solar panel on its automotive building

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Published April 29, 2022 at 1:26 pm

A massive five-storey solar retrofit ‘façade’ is now in place on the south exterior wall of Ontario Tech University’s Automotive Centre of Excellence (ACE) building.

The university already features some of the most impressive energy-efficient architecture in Canada’s post-secondary sector, and its latest piece of energy infrastructure is a powerful new green initiative.

The sleek and distinctive 5,400 square foot solar photovoltaic installation on the backside of ACE comprises 224 individual panels rated at 425 watts each. The system will produce 112,000 kilowatts of electricity annually for the Ontario Tech campus, enough energy to power 10 homes for an entire year.

The school Ontario hired Fitzpatrick Electrical Contractor Inc. to complete the installation. The project is one of five Ontario Tech solar installations to date by the university’s Office of Campus Infrastructure and Sustainability Another three solar installations are in development.

Ontario Tech has a ‘Race-to-Zero’ pledge to reduce GHG emissions 50 per cent by 2030 and reach net-zero GHG by 2050. As part of this pledge, the university’s goal is to increase renewable energy generation on campus to one megawatt annually through solar photovoltaic power.

“In order to meet our Race-to-Zero target dates, we not only need to improve energy system efficiencies and reduce consumption on campus, but also increase renewable generation,” said Ken Bright, the Director of Ontario Tech’s Campus Infrastructure and Sustainability office. “Through our further efforts in recycling, waste diversion and beyond, Ontario Tech University is proud of its long list of campuswide efficiency measures and its award-winning legacy for initiatives in sustainability.”

Since opening its doors in 2003, efforts to champion energy efficiency and environmental stewardship have been a key part of the university’s community narrative. In fact, energy efficiency considerations were a major part of the initial design of the university campus, with such features as:

  • Geothermal well system for heating and cooling of buildings.
  • Bioswales and stormwater ponds to manage storm runoff.
  • ‘Greywater’ system that redistributes used freshwater from the Aquatic Toxicology Laboratory and roof rainwater harvest to flush toilets.
  • Energy recover systems in research buildings and the Campus Ice Centre.
  • Coated windows and building insulation.
  • ‘Green’ rooftop gardens on buildings.
  • Extensive campus greenspace.

Among its many environmental accolades, Ontario Tech’s sustainability-focused practices have earned the university multiple Gold rankings in the North American Sustainable Campus Index as compiled by the Philadelphia-based Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.

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