TORONTO, ONTARIO – Humber College is launching Project SWITCH which will bring the college closer to carbon neutrality while offering academic engagement opportunities for students. 

SWITCH is a bold infrastructure project that directly addresses heating and cooling systems, the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions at Humber’s North Campus. 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. The project will have a financial return while decreasing energy use and reducing natural gas use by 70 per cent at the North Campus.

The project is a joint effort with Energy and Sustainability staff and students in various academic programs, in partnership with Ecosystem, an industry-leading engineering and construction company. SWITCH is part of Humber's Integrated Energy Master Plan (IEMP), an ambitious 20-year strategy that guides campus development and operations to prioritize environmental protection and the health of our communities. 

SWITCH will also serve as a Living Lab for students and will provide Work Integrated Learning (WIL) opportunities.

“Aligned with Humber’s Sustainability Climate Action Plans, project SWITCH is a significant step towards achieving the college's goal of reaching Net zero by 2050,” said Ann Marie Vaughan, president and CEO, Humber College. “SWITCH will reduce our carbon footprint while providing unique real-world learning opportunities for students to become future leaders and champion a more sustainable tomorrow. We hope to inspire our community by showing the world what is possible when we prioritize sustainability.”

SWITCH is the next step in Humber's sustainability journey, following dozens of successful energy retrofits and optimization of building envelopes since the launch of the IEMP in 2017. SWITCH will unify heating and cooling on campus by connecting all buildings to the central plant, decreasing energy use, and reducing Humber’s overall greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent. The new system will recover heat from the cooling system using specialized heat pumps, adding to the project’s efficiency. A battery storage system will be installed to take advantage of off-peak benefits when emissions from electricity are lower and energy costs are reduced. 

Humber College's major decarbonization project sets it apart as a pioneer among post-secondary institutions, and the college aims to inspire others to follow suit.

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Sylvie Lendvay
Media Relations and External Communications Specialist 
Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning | 416.729.8940