21:53 PM

What’s with the temperature on campus lately?

If you’ve been feeling a little warmer than usual on campus recently, you may have questioned if there was a problem with the air conditioning. It’s not the AC. It’s Mohawk College doing its part to keep electricity use low when demand is high.

Ontario’s electricity system is built to provide an adequate and reliable supply of electricity that meets customers’ energy needs throughout the province. With temperatures that vary considerably from season to season, there are times when electricity demand is very high, like the first week of September when temperatures soared into the high 30s and beyond. The longer the hot spell, the more demand is placed on the province’s electrical system.

In anticipation of these high-demand days, the province’s electricity provider has the Industrial Conservation Initiative (ICI) program. The program aims to get eligible industrial and commercial customers to reduce their demand during peak periods. The goal is to reduce demand on the electrical grid and help the province defer the need for investments in new electricity infrastructure that would otherwise be needed.

Mohawk College is a participant in the ICI program. As part of the program, the college agrees to lower its electrical demand as much as possible for up to 5 hours each month from June to September. When this happens, the college reduces its demand for electricity by cutting back on energy-intensive systems like air-conditioning, water chillers and electric boilers for 2-4 hours at a time.

This curtailment of the college’s energy use happens about 5-10 times throughout a typical summer and occasionally extends into the fall months. Energy curtailment is usually done between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. on weekdays.

During these 2-4 hour curtailment windows, temperatures on campus can increase by a couple of degrees above normal, making the campus feel a little warmer and stuffier than normal.

Participating in the ICI program reduces the college’s utility costs by hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. The savings are re-invested into future energy conservation and carbon emission projects that align with the college’s strategic aspirations of making a measurable impact on climate change.

For more information on the college’s curtailment strategy, contact Ed Cipriani, Director, Facility Operations, by email at ed.cipriani@mohawkcollege.ca.