Energy Consumption

It takes a lot of energy to run a university and the U of S is committed to managing energy consumption efficiently, wisely and responsibly. On October 9, 2014, the university's Board of Governors approved the Energy and Water Conservation Policy.

In 2012/13 we consumed 29,750,000 m3 of natural gas and 132,000,000 kWh of electricity. That's roughly the natural gas and electricity used by 12,000 Canadian homes1.

Energy is used on campus for:

  • Heating, cooling and ventilating buildings
  • Heating water
  • Lighting
  • Powering computers, other equipment in buildings, parking lot receptacles
  • Fleet vehicles
  • Food service

The Central Heating & Cooling plant burns natural gas to generate steam which is used for heating, research processes, heating swimming pools and domestic hot water. In summer, the plant uses electricity to chill water to provide air conditioning across campus.

Learn what you can do at school, work or home to conserve energy.

1 Based on data from Statistics Canada, Households and the Environment: Energy Use, 2011.

Energy Use By Building Type

The University of Saskatchewan is home to a wide variety of buildings that run the gamut of sizes and uses. Energy use intensity (EUI, measured in terms of building energy use/unit area of building floor space/year) allows for comparison of the energy consumed in buildings of different sizes. This helps us account for how certain types of buildings use more energy than others (for example, an office building or elementary school uses relatively little energy compared to a hospital). In Canada, food service buildings, grocery stores and hospitals have the highest EUIs. Similarly, on campus certain activities lead to higher rates of energy use. The figure below shows the EUIs of campus building types relative to each other.

Lab buildings typically require much more ventilation, which consumes more heat (from steam) and electricity (to run large fan motors). Equipment other than the office equipment and lighting found in all academic and administrative buildings, accounts for some of the additional electrical use in lab buildings. Providing food for tens of thousands of people on campus uses a lot of energy.

A descriptive image of how energy use varies by building type


The Campus Sustainability Revolving Fund is currently taking applications for energy and water conservation projects. Once approved these projects will start saving energy, water and reduce utility costs.

The installation of a 24-kilowatt solar panel system at the Horticulture Science Field Facility (located south of the main campus on 14th Street) was one step to fulfilling the university's commitment to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions. The array will supply about 70% of the horticulture facility's electricity each year, about the same as it takes to power 3.7 homes for a year.

A campus-wide lighting retrofit is saving the university an estimated 17,893 Gj/yr of electricity or more than $250,000. The retrofit involved the replacement of magnetic ballast fluorescent fixtures with more energy efficient electronic ballasts and fluorescent bulbs; the replacement of incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents lamps; and using LED bulbs in exits signs to increase their energy efficiency by 10 times. In addition to conserving energy, these measures improve lighting quality.

The energy saved by the retrofits reduces our greenhouse gas emissions  by an estimated 4,240,000 kg CO2/yr, an amount roughly equivalent to taking 656 cars and light trucks off the road in Saskatchewan.

The first project funded through the Campus Sustainability Revolving Fund will replace all of the halogen lights in the Gordon Snelgrove Art Gallery with LED equivalents. The project, which reduces the wattage of each bulb from 75W to 12.5W, saves 83% of the energy previously used to light the gallery. Special consideration was put into this project to meet the Gallery's lighting needs (high CRI and colour temperature). 

The University is currently investigating options for transitioning its outdoor lighting systems to LED equivalents.

Since 2008, Parking and Transportation Services has been installing controllers in campus parking lots to regulate electricity flowing to the vehicle plug-ins based on outdoor temperatures. So far audits show a 46% savings on the energy costs associated with plugging in cars on campus. Maintenance costs have also gone down thanks to the automated features of the devices.