DC receives $14.7 million in funding to combat climate change

Durham College (DC) announced today that it has received $14.7 million in funding from the provincial government through the Greenhouse Gas Campus Retrofits Program, including $9.1 million to fund the new Simcoe Geothermal Field project at the Oshawa campus. DC is using $1.45 million to complete upgrades of existing facilities, including the installation of high-efficiency HVAC systems, new and upgraded building automation systems and LED lighting and $4.1 million will take the form of an eligible interest-free loan, uses for which are still to be explored.

The announcement was made by Granville Anderson, MPP (Durham), on behalf of the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (MAESD) at an event held at the college this afternoon.

Launched by MAESD as part of Ontario’s five-year Climate Change Action Plan 2016-2020, the Greenhouse Gas Campus Retrofits Program aims to support projects that demonstrate innovative plans and approaches to increase campus sustainability and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while also supporting other institutional and Strategic Mandate Agreement priorities.

The Simcoe Geothermal Field project is part of a multi-year initiative at DC’s Oshawa campus to create a net-zero carbon footprint in existing campus buildings by using reclaimed land to install a geothermal field, new central plant and piping network.

“On behalf of everyone at Durham College, I extend my sincere thanks to the provincial government for this significant investment in our vision for a campus that makes a direct positive impact on the health and future of both the environment and our students,” said Don Lovisa, president, DC. “Today’s announcement of the Simcoe Geothermal Field project is the latest example of our commitment and action to support sustainable and environmentally responsible practices across all aspects of our operations.”

In addition to the environmental benefits that the geothermal energy system will yield, the project will also provide significant new experiential learning opportunities for DC students. The geothermal field and new heat pump plant will become a living lab that will be incorporated into a wide variety of program curricula to address new green-energy technologies and careers.

“Durham College is a leader of technology and innovation in Durham, so it’s important that we ensure institutions like this are equipped with the most up-to-date, efficient, and environmentally friendly infrastructure,” said MPP Anderson. “I’m delighted that funding from the Climate Change Action Plan is helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on our campuses, thus creating a better learning environment for our students.”

“DC is already widely recognized for our excellence in advancing environmental sustainability through our programs, services and facilities,” added President Lovisa. “We are one of Canada’s Greenest Employers and a proud recipient of a silver rating from the Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. Now, thanks to innovative projects and planning such as the Simcoe Geothermal Field project, our reputation and leadership in this area will only continue to grow and strengthen.”