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When it comes to energy, Ryerson has a responsibility as a building owner and an educational institution to improve the efficiency of its energy consumption. Ryerson has undertaken a variety of energy management initiatives over the past 10 years, including campus-wide lighting retrofits, upgrading heating and cooling systems and constructing LEED certified, state-of-the-art facilities. These initiatives have yielded good returns on investment, and the university is planning to expand on these successes to implement a more comprehensive energy management plan to further minimize operating costs, help renew aging infrastructure and improve our carbon footprint. In doing so, it plans to share its learnings within its community and with other institutions that are looking to do the same. 

Managing and reducing our energy consumption has a number of benefits including:

  • lower overall cost of energy
  • reduction of greenhouse gas emissions
  • increased occupant comfort

Ryerson's total carbon emissions for 2017

At Ryerson, we measure our carbon footprint to get a clear overview of our impact on the environment. Each year, we increase the scope of what we measure in order to identify additional areas for improvement. We are focused on building our capacity to collect detailed and accurate energy usage data needed to support leading management practices.

Due to Ryerson’s growing footprint and student enrollment, we have seen a gradual increase in energy consumption. Despite the gradual increase in absolute energy consumption, the energy usage intensity per unit floor area as well as per full-time student enrollment has remained constant throughout the years.

Ryerson's carbon footprint summary (2017)

This chart compares Ryerson's carbon footprint. 39.9% student, faculty, staff commute; 28.2% steam heating; 10.7% natural gas; 9.7% business travel; 9.1% electricity; 2.2% waste; 0.1% chilled water; 0.1% purchasing.

Carbon footprint Percent
Student, faculty, staff commute 39.9%
Steam heating 28.2%
Natural gas 10.7%
Business travel 9.7%
Electricity 9.1%
Waste 2.2%
Chilled water 0.1%
Purchasing 0.1%


Scope 1

Scope 1 captures direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which covers sources owned or controlled by Ryerson (i.e. emissions from Ryerson-owned vehicles).

Scope 2

Scope 2 captures energy indirect GHG emissions, which covers the consumption of purchased energy generated upstream (i.e. electricity generated off-campus but used by Ryerson).

Scope 3

Scope 3 captures other indirect GHG emissions, which are an indirect result of Ryerson operations (i.e. emissions produced from students, faculty and staff who commute to and from campus).

Energy Conservation and Demand Management Plan

The Energy Conservation and Demand Management Plan was developed by Facilities Management and Development (FMD) in response to continued growth in campus energy demands and the university’s need for an affordable, reliable supply of energy. The plan serves to help guide Ryerson’s efforts to reduce campus energy consumption, operating costs and greenhouse gas emissions between 2014 and 2019. The plan also fulfils the Ontario Regulation 507/18, external link reporting requirement.

Notable initiatives that improved Ryerson’s energy consumption from 2017 to present

Sub-metering project

In 2018 and 2019, FMD installed sub-meters for each building in order to more accurately measure the energy consumption of each building. By individualizing this process rather than combining data from multiple buildings, our department can now make data-informed decisions by building rather than generalizing. This information will enable effective decision making when it comes to developing future energy conservation initiatives and targets, as well as identifying unusual energy consumption of individual buildings more quickly. 

Although the current round of the program is focusing on sub-metering utilities at the building level, this can be expanded in the future to capture consumption levels of energy sources such as lighting, HVAC, and receptacle loads. 

Retro-Commissioning Building Pilot Project 

In 2018 and 2019, Ryerson retro-commissioned three buildings on campus, including:

  • Victoria Building (VIC)
  • George Vari Engineering and Computing Centre (ENG)
  • Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC) 

Given the average age of the majority of buildings on the Ryerson campus is around 25 years, it can be expected that the operational use and performance of a building from an energy standpoint diminishes over time, leading to reduced energy efficiency which can impact building occupants.

The process of retro-commissioning existing buildings is a multistage process, involving:

  • in-depth analysis of a building’s actual energy use and performance
  • making adjustments to the building’s automation control system 
  • if needed, implementing equipment upgrades

These investments and upgrades improve building energy performance, increase energy efficiency and improve standards for building occupants for years to come. 

In 2020 onwards, the department will complete the retro-commissioning of the Student Learning Centre (SLC) and the central chiller plant which is used to cool 14 buildings on campus.

Lighting Retrofits Project 

In 2018 and 2019, Ryerson retrofitted lights within Eric Palin Hall (EPH) by upgrading existing fluorescent lighting systems to LEDs. Not only do LEDs significantly reduce energy consumption and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, they also improve the quality of light for building occupants.  

The table below outlines the energy savings as well as utility cost savings incurred through these projects. 

Additional LED retrofit projects are planned for the coming years. 

Savings from energy projects completed between 2018 to 2019

The table demonstrates what FMD accomplished during the energy projects completed between 2018 and 2019.


Electricity savings (kWh)

Natural gas savings (m3)

Steam savings (lbs) GHG reduction (tonnes CO2)

Utility cost reduction

EPH lighting retrofit





$ 79,082

MAC retro-commissioning





$ 58,840

VIC retro-commissioning





$ 27,313

ENG retro-commissioning





$ 41,308

Steam trap upgrades





$ 21,014


1,146,012 kWh

46,000 m3

1,441,571 lbs

224 tons CO2

$ 227,557

Note: The EPH Lighting retrofit project savings have been confirmed. All other projects are subject to on-going review to capture full seasonal savings. 

Participation in Earth Hour 

Ryerson is pleased to participate in Earth Hour, external link, an initiative that shines a light on climate action and symbolizes a collective commitment to address climate change. FMD turns off all non-essential lighting in and around university campus buildings during Earth Hour each year.