A new sustainability project proposed under U of T’s Low Carbon Action Plan aims to make Front Campus the site of a geoexchange system. Boreholes would be drilled deep into the ground to allow for storage of surplus heat, generated by mechanical systems in the summer, for use in the cold winter months.
In effect, the system would use the Earth as a thermal battery for the storage of so-called reject heat, which is typically discarded into the atmosphere.
The King's College Circle Geothermal Project is predicted to yield annual greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions of 15,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent by the year 2024, which would make it the single biggest contributor to U of T’s annual emission-reduction target of 44,567 tonnes.
Kenneth Corts, U of T’s acting vice-president, operations and acting vice-provost, academic operations, said the King's College Circle Geothermal project will be the largest known geoexchange project of its kind in urban Canada.
“U of T has a long track record of working to reduce carbon and promote energy efficiency across our three campuses, so it’s only fitting that the historic core of our downtown campus be the site of one of our most groundbreaking sustainability projects yet,” Corts said.
“In addition to providing an eco-friendly means of heating our buildings, the Front Campus geoexchange will offer incredible experiential learning opportunities for students through the campus as a living lab initiative. It’s a project that truly demonstrates our commitment to integrating sustainability into every facet of university life and operations.”