Mohawk College looks to curb carbon footprint with retrofit project

Solar panels on the roof of the J-Wing at the Mohawk College Fennell campus. Sara Cain, 900 CHML

Mohawk College has set a plan in motion to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 617 tonnes per year at its Fennell campus.

According to chief building and facilities officer Tony Cupido, that’s equivalent to removing a 154 cars from the road.

He says his team will be working with a $10.8-million provincial grant to make it happen.

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It will involve the installation of an electric boiler, upgrades to a number of natural gas boilers and the addition of a trailer-sized battery storage system.

“That will be charged during off-peak times at night and on weekends,” he said. “This battery system will have enough energy to power the equivalent of 1,000 homes, so we’re going to be in (the) power generating business and the power storage business.”

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The retrofit is being looked at as more than a way forward to improved energy efficiency and sustainability at Mohawk. The college intends to turn it into a hands-on learning opportunity for students.

“Our engineering technology students will help with the design, the implementation, the monitoring and the control of our newly updated boiler systems,” Cupido said.

By generating and storing its own energy Mohawk anticipates it will reduce its yearly bills by more than $360,000.

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Part of those savings will be found through the creation of a solar carport that will generate enough power over the course of a year to charge 250 electric vehicles, while also supporting the new net-zero Joyce centre for partnership and innovation.

The carport will include 16 new electric car charging stations for a total of 20 on campus by the end of 2018.

Even with all of these projects on the go, Cupido is looking to the future. He says grant requests have been submitted to retrofit the Stoney Creek campus next.

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