Dedicated to sustainable,
high performance building

DISTRICT ENERGY PLANT – University of Victoria, Victoria, BC

Commercial/Industrial (Small) Award


Jury Comment: Rehabilitating and repurposing an existing parking lot on the university campus and simultaneously reducing overall campus energy consumption by 10%, this project provides an important showcase for the University’s energy reduction strategy. By engaging students through visibility and transparency, it creates a sense of connection and elevates concern for the critical infrastructure that supports all of our communities. 

The new University of Victoria district energy plant (DEP) replaces and centralizes three outdated boilers and the supporting infrastructure, which were scattered across campus. It provides increased capacity to the campus heating system, and services 32 buildings. The DEP was built on an existing parking lot in the southwest corner of the campus, adjacent to a forest, publicly-accessible botanical gardens, and an interfaith chapel.

This site had been identified as the most appropriate location for a number of reasons during an earlier campus planning exercise. 

The use of the brownfield site minimized the impact on campus ecosystems and also provided adequate space for future expansion should the university decide to increase the DEP’s capacity. This location also makes it easy to connect to nearby buildings not initially part of the district energy loop. In addition, it is directly linked to municipal streets, which allows service vehicles to avoid circumnavigation of the campus ring road.

Massing for the building was driven by a combination of required equipment height clearances (which in turn enhance cross-ventilation and natural ventilation) and a desire to increase visibility of the plant’s inner workings for the public.

The plant has a full output potential of 27.5 MW of thermal heat – enough for 2,000 single-family homes. The plant and network provide 10% energy savings annually, and greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions of 6,500 tonnes/year.


  • Owner/Developer  University of Victoria
  • Architect  DIALOG 
  • General Contractor  Farmer Construction
  • Landscape Architect  HAPA Collaborative
  • Civil Engineer  Westbrook Consulting Ltd.
  • Electrical engineer  AES Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineer  FVB Energy Inc.
  • Structural Engineer  RJC Engineering
  • Commissioning Agent  C E S Engineering
  • Photos  Martin Tessler


  • Energy intensity (building and process energy) = 135KWhr/m2/year
  • Energy intensity reduction relative to reference building under ASHRAE 90.1 2007 = 72%
  • Water consumption from municipal sources = 40,970 litres/occupant/year
  • Reduction in water consumption relative to reference building under LEED = 33%
  • Recycled material content by value = 16%
  • Construction waste diverted from landfill = 95.8%