project leap
February 07, 2024

Project Leap Takes Aim at GHG Emissions 

The University of Toronto has embarked on a groundbreaking journey towards sustainability with the launch of Project Leap (Low Emissions Accelerator Program). This program aims to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in half in just three years on its downtown St. George campus. Partnering with Ecosystem in the initial phase, this ambitious decarbonization project stands as a beacon of innovation and commitment to environmental stewardship.

Beyond the bold target and tight timeline lies the unique challenged posed by the urban landscape of the St. George campus. Nestling in the bustling heart of Toronto, this academic hub caters to over 100,000 students, faculty, and staff, inhabiting a blend of heritage and modern buildings.

Project Leap sets forth a multifaceted approach, beginning with the gradual displacement of natural gas in favor of electricity at the campus’s central steam plant. Additionally, extensive energy retrofitting efforts will be undertaken in some of the most energy-intensive buildings on the campus. These initiatives encompass a spectrum of strategies including electrification, heat recovery systems, energy-efficient technologies, and the implementation of a comprehensive geo-exchange system. Notably, electrification endeavors are projected to decrease fossil fuel usage for heating by 75 percent, while heat recovery measures are anticipated to slash energy consumption by over 40 percent. Added to this, much of the campus will be connected to one of Canada’s largest geo-exchange systems.

Collectively, these measures are poised to yield a substantial reduction in the campus’s GHG emissions, calculated at 91,000 tonnes last year. By the culmination of 2027, the University of Toronto predicts a decrease of over 50 percent in its carbon footprint. More over, this concerted effort towards sustainability is not only environmentally commendable but also financially prudent, with the University projected to accrue total savings of $6.2 million from this endeavor. Discover more about Project Leap’s ambitious plan and delve into the detailed case study here.

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