The heating and cooling system at the North Campus is being transformed with SWITCH

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SWITCH is a bold infrastructure project that directly addresses the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions at the North Campus: the heating and cooling system. The project will reduce reliance on natural gas by switching from a steam-based system, constructed in 1972, to a modern hot water system generating heat mostly using electricity.

Our Path to Net Zero

This project is part of Humber’s Integrated Energy Master Plan (IEMP), an ambitious 20-year strategy guiding campus development and operations to prioritize environmental protection and the health of our communities. Greening building infrastructure is integral to climate action, as the building sector is Canada’s third highest carbon emitter (Canada Green Building Council). 

SWITCH is instrumental in helping Humber reach net zero by 2050. The project is expected to reduce natural gas use at the North Campus by 70%, and will lead to a 30% reduction in the college’s overall greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The infrastructure that will be installed will make it easier to continue decarbonizing campus heating.

Leading the Way to Decarbonization

Humber is preparing for the future by retrofitting the heating and cooling system at the North Campus. SWITCH involves eliminating the current steam-based heating system and pipes, replacing them with a hot-water system and 4.5km of new piping. The project will unify heating and cooling on campus by connecting all buildings to the central plant. Additionally, by recovering heat from the cooling system, efficiency is improved. Battery storage will take advantage of off-peak benefits, when emissions from electricity are lower and energy costs are reduced.

Project Impact

Scroll over the images to learn more about what the project entails.

Students in class learning about the project SWITCH

Student Engagement

Student Engagement

SWITCH offers multiple Campus as a Living Lab opportunities for Humber students. Academic engagement ranges from interdisciplinary capstone projects aligned with SWITCH, work placements with the contractor, to workshops and project site tours.

Yellow pipe labeled natural gas leading to a boiler

Electrification of Heating

Electrification of Heating

The retrofit will help Humber move away from natural gas in favour of electricity to power building heating and cooling. This will help reduce emissions since Ontario has one of the cleanest energy grids in the world.

Partnership for Innovation

Partnership for Innovation

SWITCH is a collaboration between Humber and Ecosystem, an industry leading engineering and construction company that provides decarbonization solutions. The project is unique because it delivers a highly modern and efficient system as well as financial return.

Energy Savings

Energy Savings

SWITCH is expected to reduce the college's energy use by 15% thanks to increased efficiency and a new battery energy storage system. Energy will be stored in the batteries during off-peak periods and discharged during peak periods. With significant reductions to utility bills, the project will pay for itself over time.

Project Timeline

Below is the expected timeline for different phases of the project.


Design to build request for proposals (RFPs)


Project awarded to Ecosystem

Detailed design

Name brainstorm with Humber students

Early equipment procurement


Construction yard set up

Project announcement


Installation of new gas boilers

Installation of battery energy storage system

Convert N, LRC, GH, and Barret CTI to new system


Installation of heat recovery chiller system

Installation of electric boilers

Convert bulk of campus buildings to new system

Final decommissioning of steam heating system


Installation of energy recovering ventilators

Final commissioning

Get Involved

There are many ways to make individual and community impact. We're here to support you! Contact us, follow us, come and meet us:
The Office of Sustainability, E103 (North Campus)

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