Queen's Gazette | Queen's University

Search form

Financial Sustainability

Executive Compensation Program available for comment

The draft of the program will be open for feedback for 30 days.

After an eight year pay freeze, the Ontario government has recently put in place a new framework for executive compensation that applies to a range of public sector organizations, including universities, colleges, hospitals, school boards, and several other public bodies. It also has in place new requirements for how salary increases are reviewed, approved, and communicated with the public.

At Queen’s University, the new executive compensation framework applies to the Principal, Provost, and four Vice-Principals. Over the past year, the Board of Trustees has been carefully considering the new requirements of the Broader Public Sector Executive Compensation Act (2014) and the subsequent Regulation 400/1 that came into effect in November. The Queen’s draft Executive Compensation Program ensures that the university is compliant with these requirements. As part of the consultation phase, members of the Queen’s community are now being invited to comment on the program.

As an institution, Queen’s mission is to advance research excellence, leadership and innovation, as well as enhance Queen’s impact at a national and international level. Both Queen’s and its Board of Trustees are committed to maintaining a competitive, effective and responsible approach to managing executive compensation, with the following core principles in mind – competitive with the talent market, support the university vision and Strategic Framework, accountability and be reflective of the academic compensation model.

To help create a responsible and effective executive compensation program, the province requires universities to compare their top executive compensation packages to those in place at comparable organizations. Queen’s used salary data collected by the Council of Ontario Universities and selected peer universities with medicals schools and high rankings for research that are also members of the U15.  These universities also reflect a cross-section of the Canadian talent market in which Queen’s competes for executive talent:

University of Alberta                           University of British Columbia

University of Calgary                          Dalhousie University

University of Manitoba                        McGill University       

McMaster University                           University of Ottawa

University of Saskatchewan               University of Toronto

University of Waterloo                        University of Western Ontario

These comparative figures were used to establish a salary cap at the 50th percentile for each comparable role. Queen’s executives all have salaries well below these caps, and as indicated in the program, increases are limited to 5% of the pay envelope of the Principal and Vice-Principals, and may be distributed differentially.  

“Queen’s is committed to ensuring that there is a balance between managing compensation costs while allowing the university to attract and retain the talent needed to support the academic mission of the university. The university’s success requires well-rounded and expert leadership. Thoughtful consideration in support of our academic mission has been given to build the most appropriate Executive Compensation Program for Queen’s in order to preserve that success,” said Donald Raymond, Chair of the Board of Trustees, in his letter to the Queen’s community.

This balanced approach will contribute to the financial sustainability of Queen’s and help ensure the university can continue to invest in top strategic priorities such as the faculty renewal initiative, the creation of new buildings and academic spaces on campus, along with expanding research opportunities and internationalization.

Members of the Queen’s community can comment on the Executive Compensation Program document up until Jan. 4, 2018 by emailing exec.comp@queensu.ca. For further information on the Queen’s Program, please visit the Office of the University Secretariat website.

Early positive results for electronic procurement system

Since being rolled out across the university earlier this year, acQuire, the new electronic procurement system for Queen’s, has seen a number of successes.

First and foremost is increasing user adoption.

acQuireSince going live in May, user adoption has been high and continues to climb. There are now more than 800 unique users accessing the system each month and the system has processed more than 6,700 orders, with 5,600, or 83 per cent, of the requisitions turned into a purchase order and released to the suppliers in less than 24 hours. Combined, that’s a total of more than $85 million in spending. 

Those are big numbers and, as a result of acQuire, the university is seeing increased efficiencies in the procure-to-pay process.

“Using acQuire has turned out to be a refreshingly straightforward process. I think that people will come to appreciate that switching to acQuire was worth the time investment of learning a new system that is far more user-friendly than PeopleSoft,” says Kaede Takami-Brooke, Research Associate, Gastrointestinal Diseases Research Unit, and an early user of acQuire.

For Queen’s users there is little change apart from that the system is online rather than the old combination of paper-based and PeopleSoft procurement and payment processes.

The benefits for users, including researchers and faculty, is a user-friendly point-and-click online ordering and payment, faster processing, increased transparency, and pricing comparison from the catalogue of suppliers.

By modernizing the procurement system, Queen’s can now gather and analyze more detailed information regarding purchases, and then apply the related insights to maximize the purchasing value for the university.

“With acQuire we have more information on what is being purchased which will help Strategic Procurement Services negotiate better supplier arrangements and pricing deals,” says Andy Green, Director, Strategic Procurement Services. “What are the repeat items we are spending our dollars on, who are the suppliers, and how do we make sure we are maximizing the returns for the investment.”

One significant change to the acQuire system starting in January is that suppliers will be responsible for onboarding their profiles through an add-on module called Total Supplier Manager. Through this Queen’s users will see several benefits such as an automated, streamlined process for requesting and adding new suppliers, as well as more accurate and complete supplier information including contact information.  Suppliers will also see a number of benefits such as being able to update their profiles with new information through a self-service portal, see the payment status of their invoices, and more effective and timely communication. Also, through the portal invoices can easily be sent and will leverage all of the useful workflow steps that have already been built into acQuire.

“From a supplier’s point of view, they can transact with Queen’s more efficiently and leverage the system that’s in place to process invoices,” says Mr. Green. “This also means that Queen’s users will no longer have to act as go-betweens for the suppliers and Strategic Procurement Services.”

The only visible change to Queen’s users will be a new supplier request form. It is important to note that existing suppliers will be available within acQuire just as they are now. Strategic Procurement Services and the acQuire team will be communicating with all acQuire users and training will be provided to explain to users how the new supplier request form works. Similarly, the acQuire team will be communicating with suppliers to notify them of the new supplier portal and will provide them with the training resources and support they need.

Further information on acQuire, is available on the Strategic Procurement Services website. Questions about the system can be sent to acquire@queensu.ca.

Funding powers sustainability efforts

University and city partnering to reduce energy and water consumption, as well as greenhouse gas emissions.

Donna Janiec, Vice-Principal (Finance and Administration) accepts a cheque from Sean Meleschuk, Vice-President of Utilities Kingston.
Donna Janiec, Vice-Principal (Finance and Administration) accepts a cheque from Sean Meleschuk, Vice-President of Utilities Kingston, in recognition of Queen's University's efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as energy and water consumption. (University Communications)

Queen’s is continually working to reduce its carbon footprint and on Thursday the university received more than $700,000 in funding from Utilities Kingston in support of a number of projects aimed at cutting energy and water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

The $717,915 in funding, provided in part through provincial Save on Energy programs that are powered by the Independent Electricity System Operator, accounts for grants and incentives for projects completed in 2017, primarily as a result of realized water and electricity savings. 

CAPit BY THE NUMBERS
1,147 toilet retrofits
61 urinal retrofits
353 shower head replacements
1,523 faucet moderators installed
1,666 LED retrofits
1,364 upgraded ballasts
9,216 fluorescent tube replacements

Much of the funding is related to the university’s CAPit program, a $10.7-million comprehensive energy conservation project with international energy services company Honeywell. The project has a target of reducing the university’s greenhouse gas emissions by over 2,600 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide, the equivalent of taking 944 mid-sized cars off of Canadian roads.

“Queen’s has placed a priority on financial and environmental sustainability. This funding enabled the university to expand the CAPit project, reducing our utilities expenditures while, at the same time, significantly cutting our impact on the environment,” says Donna Janiec, Vice-Principal (Finance and Administration).  “The CAPit program has been a success, and we thank Utilities Kingston for their contribution supporting these conservation measures.”

When complete this December, the CAPit project will have implemented more than 170 individual energy conservation measures in 66 campus buildings. These include the installation of low-flow fixtures to reduce water usage, upgraded lighting and building climate controls to reduce energy consumption, as well as heat recovery systems and improvements to building envelopes.

The measures are already having a positive effect.

By the end of 2017, Queen’s will have saved 185,000 m3 in water, enough to service 3,700 four-person homes for a year. Similarly, electricity consumption will have been reduced by 2.95 GWh, enough to power 295 average Ontario homes for a year.

"We applaud the university's commitment to reduce energy and water consumption, and cut greenhouse gas emissions. Queen's' efforts to install water and energy conservation measures help extend the useful life of municipal utility infrastructure and further our progress towards meeting provincially-mandated electricity conservation targets. All this, while making a positive impact on the environment," says Sean Meleschuk, Vice-President of Utilities Kingston. “Our unique multi-utility model provides our customers with one-stop access to water, gas and electricity conservation programs. We are proud to partner with local businesses and institutions as we help build a better community.”

The Queen’s Climate Action Plan is available online.

More information about the CAPit program is available on the Sustainability Office website.

Principal outlines priorities for 2017-18

The Principal has outlined his major priorities for Queen’s University in 2017-18. In this interview with the Queen’s Gazette, Daniel Woolf previews what’s to come this year.

 

How do your priorities advance the university’s mission and build the Queen's of the future that you have envisioned and spoken about?

We are collectively building the Queen’s of the future every day. It’s a place of great traditions, and many of those traditions still survive from my time as a student. Yet no institution survives by staying in the same place. We need to adapt and change. We have made huge progress in the last few years, and I think our trajectory is simply going to continue upward.

My first priority as Principal was to put our financial and governance house in order, develop a culture of planning, and introduce a new budget model – which has been done thanks to the hard work of the Deans and our former Provost. The last few years have been focused on putting in place the conditions for future success, including drafting documents such as the Strategic Framework and the Comprehensive International Plan, ensuring sustainable enrolment growth, improving town-gown relations, and working on our talent management.

My current goals are based on a three-year rolling plan, which includes short-term and long-term priorities. The 2017-18 underlying themes are primarily: catalyzing change, which relates to faculty renewal and research prominence; respecting our community, which includes diversity and inclusion as well as encouraging safe and respectful behavior; and an infrastructure strategy, which will look at the question of how we eliminate $300 million worth of deferred maintenance in the next ten to twelve years and, of course, how we will pay for it.

The faculty renewal effort underpins many of these priorities. It will support our commitment to equity and inclusion, enhance our teaching and learning by ensuring students receive mentorship from faculty with diverse backgrounds and experience, and will help us attract promising early- and mid-career faculty who demonstrate exceptional promise as researchers.

Achieving these goals will put us in a position to reach for much greater success in research and innovation. This should lead us, five to ten years down the road, to an enhanced reputation as one of the most distinctive universities in the country in terms of the quality of its teaching, the quality of its students and faculty, the quality of its research, and its ability to innovate.

 

Looking ahead to the fifth year of our planned faculty renewal efforts, what difference will we see in the Queen’s of 2021-2022?

You will see nearly a quarter of the entire faculty complement turn over between new hires, retirements, and other departures. We will have a number of younger faculty out of recent PhD programs with somewhat different approaches to pedagogy, community relations, and interdisciplinarity. You will also be seeing some mid-career and senior appointments in designated fields to firm up areas of established excellence and promising emerging subjects. Hiring these 200 new faculty is a strategic investment that will lead us into the future.

These new faculty will want to come here because we will be one of Canada’s leading research intensive and teaching universities. They will want to be here because we are a place that recognizes innovation. They will be drawn by the good quality of life, the vibrant culture, and the affordability of living in Kingston. And they will have the chance to teach outstanding students in an environment where there is a great care for health and wellbeing, and in a place where we have made some thoughtful and strategic choices in terms of our research excellence.

The two primary lenses we are using to guide our hiring decisions are research excellence – the few areas at Queen’s that have the capacity to be really world-leading – and diversity and equity, where we know that we have some work to do.

We cannot aspire to be a world leader in every single subject and every single discipline. We have the capacity to make some choices to pursue areas – particle physics is an obvious one, but not the only one – where we can rank in the top 100 or higher. Making such choices does not disadvantage or diminish other areas. A rising tide lifts all boats.

The Provost and I will be taking advice from the Deans and the incoming Vice-Principal (Research and Innovation) in terms of what are the most promising areas. I say ‘areas’ rather than necessarily ‘departments’ or ‘disciplines’ since some will be multidisciplinary. We will also be appealing to our alumni, who recognize the importance of hiring and retaining the best and brightest, for support for endowed chairs and professorships to support our hiring plans.

 

Why are our research reputation and graduate student experience so important?

For Queen’s to be where we need to be five to ten years from now, we need to raise our game on research and graduate education.

We have an outstanding reputation as an undergraduate institution. We are one of the lead providers of a baccalaureate education, inside and outside the classroom. But it is important, if we are to be a truly balanced academy, that we are equally recognized for our research. It is not just an add-on – it is as big a part as the teaching and support for our faculty members.

Student engagement scores are solid on the undergraduate side. We have a little work to do on graduate engagement scores, and the Deans are looking closely at how we can improve those. It’s something we need to see some movement on in the next few years.

The graduate piece is really important because graduate students contribute enormously to the university. On the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) side of the house, they work on research projects that are very much connected with supervisor’s research programme. They are a big part of the engine that drives research. On the non-STEM side, where that model occurs sometimes but is less common, they contribute to the intellectual life of the humanities and social sciences departments. Even in my current job I still supervise one or two graduate students. They keep me on my toes intellectually. And graduate students also enhance our teaching as TAs and Teaching Fellows.

 

What do you hope to achieve by implementing the international strategy, and what impact will this have on Queen’s reputation?

Our international recognition has begun to improve through the great success our admissions and international teams have had in bringing people in. If you tell the world about us, they will actually come. Students who come here and return home build our reputation further.

Reputation is important. Apart from attracting fantastic students, it also has an impact on our ability to form international partnerships and secure international research funding. There is an awful lot of research money available in Europe and Asia, for example, which we could be accessing if we had more collaborative partnerships. We want to build on strategic partnerships with institutions we see as equal or better, opening up exchanges for students, creating opportunities for our faculty to have overseas sabbaticals and for faculty to come here on their sabbatical, and build more international research collaborations.

At the same time, there is also funding to be had in industry partnerships. That, in turn, helps the city and our country. All of this is part of a virtuous circle which will further enhance our reputation.

As I suggested above, interdisciplinarity is important. To solve the problems of the world, physicists have to work with chemists, biologists have to work with environmental engineers and, frankly, all of them need the advice of the social sciences, arts, and humanities. Looking ahead in the next few years, I would like to see us move in a bolder direction to organize interdisciplinary entities that bring together people from different departments and faculties.

 

What do employees need to know and be aware of as far as Queen’s financial competitiveness?

We have come a long way. We would not be hiring 200 faculty over the next five years if we had not got our financial house in order, and achieving this has very much been a collective effort.

On the staff side, Physical Plant Services has been managing our energy costs, saving us a good deal of money over the years. Advancement has been remarkably successful in getting donors to invest and I want to thank them for their hard work. Every dollar into the endowment produces 3.5 cents for particular things we need each year. When you have a large endowment, as we now do, that’s a significant chunk of money.

We have staff in research services and the faculties who work with faculty members and students generating scholarships and operating grants, and those who develop new programs which have brought in additional revenue to the university. Senate has been exceptionally busy in recent years overseeing the development of new programs and exercising its academic oversight of their quality.

And we have a very engaged board of trustees and committees with a lot of financial acuity and experience, and they have helped manage risk and given us a sound financial strategy.

There is still some work to do. We are getting close to resolving some of our long-standing pension issues, which remain a major financial threat. We have significant deferred maintenance challenges to address in the next few years, and it is not only our oldest buildings which need work. We are making progress, as you can see with the number of cranes, trucks, and workers around. Our Vice-Principal (Finance and Administration) is developing a strategic asset management plan so we can identify which buildings are the most urgent for refresh or outright replacement. We have also benefitted from strong returns on our investments and a continued increase in student enrolment, though we must remain cautious and continue to address some of our financial risks.

 

What are the growth areas for Queen’s reputation, and how do we get there?

Interim Vice-Principal (Research) John Fisher is leading our strategic research plan renewal process, and Deputy Provost (Academic Operations and Inclusion) Teri Shearer is leading the academic plan renewal. Both of these processes should be resolved later this year, pending approval by Senate, and those, in turn, will inform our next iteration of the strategic framework in 2019.

We need to develop a more pan-university approach to some of the things we do. As I suggested above, it’s essential that we bring social sciences, humanities, and arts into some of our more well-known areas of strength. Among other things, they are going to be enormously important in our future digital strategy.

There remain some health and wellness challenges, especially around alcohol consumption, where student leaders have been working with us, and with community members, to encourage safe drinking. University Council has a number of Special Purpose committees looking into matters of importance such as alcohol consumption on and off campus. And we need to remain vigilant on the issue of sexual violence, which is often related to abuse of alcohol.

Finally, we must consider what we can do to become a leader in policy innovation once again. I am expecting, in the next month or so, a report on the future of public policy at Queen’s. I think it will give us some very interesting guidance on directions we might take, and the larger issue of Queen’s in the Canadian and larger international public policy sphere. This obviously involves the School of Policy Studies but I think it can involve so many more of our faculty and students around the university.

Queen’s financial statements for 2016-17 approved

The university’s latest financial statements have now been approved by the Board of Trustees at its most recent meeting.

The statements outline the university’s consolidated financial results for the fiscal year ending on April 30, 2017, and this year they show a surplus of revenues over expenses of $88.6 million. This compares to a surplus of $39.5 million the previous year.

'Donna Janiec'
Donna Janiec, Vice-Principal (Finance and Administration), will present the Financial Statements to the Board of Trustees at its upcoming meeting. (University Communications)

The surplus was mostly driven by favourable investment returns, and by a continued increase in student enrolment following the opening of new residences in 2015. It also reflects the ongoing efforts of all areas of the University to help to stabilize the finances of the institution.

“This latest surplus provides the university with some much-needed financial flexibility, and also allows us to make reinvestments in such areas as faculty renewal, research and innovation, internationalization, and a range of Indigenous, diversity and inclusion initiatives,” says Donna Janiec, Vice-Principal (Finance and Administration). “But there is still a need for a cautious approach as we plan for the future, as the university must also address the ongoing financial risks to which it continues to be exposed.”

The volatility of financial markets presents risk to the university, and can have a significant impact the annual financial results. The size of this year’s surplus for example was largely driven by positive investment returns, but returns are always unpredictable given the nature of the financial markets and so it’s prudent to plan accordingly.

Other significant risks include the university’s ongoing reliance on grant support and tuition revenue which are controlled by the provincial and federal governments. The University is also working to address a significant deferred maintenance backlog and a financially unsustainable pension plan.

“These are financial challenges we share with many other universities in Ontario and we continue to manage them to ensure we maintain our long-term financial competitiveness,” says Janiec.

In accordance with our fiduciary responsibility of endowment funds, a significant portion of the surplus has been reinvested into the Pooled Endowment Fund to protect against inflation. Aligned with our prudent approach, the available Operating Fund surplus has been set aside to support multi-year plans that will see Queen’s strategically invest in priorities that support the mission of the university.

Along with the 2016-17 Consolidated Financial Statements, you can also join Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Benoit-Antoine Bacon and Vice-Principal (Finance and Administration) Donna Janiec on Friday, Oct. 20 at West Campus for an overview of this year's budget.

Creating a smaller carbon footprint

As part of the CAPit project, the single largest greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction project in the history of Queen’s University will soon drastically reduce the carbon footprint of Chernoff Hall.

Nathan Splinter stands atop Chernoff Hall
Nathan Splinter, Energy Manager for Physical Plant Services, stands beside the new heat recovery glycol coils that have been  installed atop Chernoff Hall.

Throughout the month of August, new heat recovery glycol coils were installed atop the building that is home to the Department of Chemistry. 

The $900,000 project, which is part of a larger comprehensive energy conservation program (ESCo) with Honeywell, will help reduce the university’s energy consumption and costs, and mitigate campus greenhouse gas emissions. The project is a massive undertaking, requiring heavy cranes to lift the equipment so it could be installed. 

The payoff is expected to be quick, however, with an estimated energy savings of close to $100,000 per year. The reason for the big savings is that chemistry labs – there are 170 fume hoods in Chernoff Hall – require the air to be replaced every 15 minutes in order to prevent any buildup of fumes from projects and experiments, as well as maintaining temperature levels that are vital for work with solvents. In contrast, a typical building on campus will see its air replaced every one or two hours.

The project was developed by the Energy Management team in Physical Pant Services (PPS) in conjunction with project partner Honeywell. The project is part of the larger CAPit program, which is a strategic investment by Queen’s to reduce energy costs and GHGs .

“This project is one we have had on our radar for a few years and although the construction takes just a few months, we have spent over a year planning the design. It’s a great project but now it’s time to start planning for our next one,” says Nathan Splinter, Energy Manager for PPS. 

The nature of lab buildings requires all the air entering to only be used for a short time and cannot be recirculated. This near-constant heating and air exchange requires a lot of machinery and the top two floors of Chernoff Hall are dedicated to these tasks. As a result, the carbon footprint for the 15-year-old building was substantial.

The project is important for the Department of Chemistry as well as the university on a number of levels, says Hans-Peter Loock, Head, Department of Chemistry.

“It is a tremendous savings. If you are business-minded that is the important thing to you but for us chemists the reduction of the carbon footprint is important as well because we actually all are environmentalists at heart. Many of us go into chemistry because we want to do some good for society either as an environmental chemist or through green chemistry or monitoring of the environment,” he says. “No one knows carbon footprints better than chemists. We do care about that.”

Chernoff Hall GHG project
A crane lifts components onto the roof of Chernoff Hall. The project, part of the CAPit initiative, is the single largest greenhouse gas reduction project in the history of Queen’s University. 

One innovation being utilized in the project is that exhaust air will be used to help pre-heat incoming air. By recycling the heat already created, the amount of energy being used overall will be reduced.

“The energy we are saving corresponds to about 100 residences, which corresponds to approximately 634 tons of carbon dioxide,” Dr. Loock says.

However, a project of this magnitude also came at a cost for those who do their work and research in Chernoff Hall. Over the four weeks, work capacity was reduced, including a pair of two-day shutdowns as equipment was installed.

An inconvenience for sure, Dr. Loock says, but one that all involved were willing to make.

“Ventilation is a matter of safety for us. To most people it is a convenience to have fresh air at a stable temperature but for us it is important because if we don’t exchange our air, fumes fill the lab, temperatures rise and it is no longer a safe place to work,” he explains.

Throughout the shutdown process Physical Plant Services and Honeywell monitored every lab for temperature, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons to ensure safety. 

The multi-year ESCo project involves more than 170 individual energy conservation measures in 66 campus building, such as installation of low-flow fixtures to reduce water usage, upgraded lighting and building climate controls to reduce energy consumption, as well as recovery systems and improvements to building envelopes. The program is aiming for an annual carbon reduction of about 2,800 tons – the equivalent of taking 944 mid-sized cars off the road – and an overall reduction of 26 per cent since 2008, when Queen’s started its GHG inventory

 “It is important for Queen’s University to be taking action on Climate Change and utilizing technology and resources to find and implement financial and environmentally sustainable solutions,” says Donna Janiec, Vice-Principal (Finance and Administration). “The CAPit project has been successful in balancing these priorities and the project at Chernoff Hall is a great example of the projects which save money and reduce our carbon footprint."

Going green on campus

Throughout Sustainability Week, the aim is to engage our community and celebrate the great efforts that are ongoing on campus in support of sustainability initiatives. 

For staff and faculty one of the best ways to get involved with sustainability is to join the Green Office Certification program.

The program is designed to recognize the sustainable practices offices are already doing and to identify further opportunities to create a greener office.  Managed by the Sustainability Office, the certification process uses a series of checklists to assess an office’s green credentials. Points are awarded for each sustainable practice on the checklists and offices are given a certification level based on the number of points they earn: bronze, silver, gold or platinum. Examples of sustainable practices include;

  • Setting computers to sleep mode after inactivity
  • Starting a staff lounge composting program
  • Limiting distribution of printed materials
  • Using the Sustainable Procurement Guide for purchasing decisions

“Sustainability is an important priority for Queen’s and the Green Office Certification program provides an opportunity for all of us who work here to help make the university’s daily operations more environmentally friendly,” says Donna Janiec, Vice-Principal (Finance and Administration).

During Sustainability Week and the month of October, any offices that submit a new or renewed certification checklist will be eligible to win a pizza lunch, courtesy of the Sustainability Office. The winning office will be based on any valid submission between Oct.  5 and Oct. 31 that achieves the highest point total.

The Green Office Certification program launched in 2015. The program currently has five certified offices, and several more in the certification process.  More information about the program is available on the Sustainability Office website. Anyone who would like more information or who may be interested in participating in the program can contact Aaron Ball by email or at ext. 33379.

Reducing energy demand

When temperatures soar the provincial power grid sees higher than usual power demand which translates into enormous costs for large users such as Queen’s. To reduce costs, Queen’s utilizes the two cogeneration units located at the Central Heating Plan on King Street that generate power for main campus and thereby reduce the quantity of power that Queen’s pulls off the grid.

"Sustainability Week"Additionally, Queen’s selectively turns off chillers in 15 buildings across campus to further reduce energy consumption. The measures to reduce power demand on campus have directly resulted in almost $10 million in avoided costs to the Queen’s electricity budget since 2012.

These avoided costs are made possible by the billing structure for large energy users – also called the Industrial Conservation Initiative – a billing structure that was implemented in part to reduce emissions from electricity generation in Ontario.

The incentive serves two purposes: to avoid the need for additional installed generating capacity, and to reduce reliance on natural gas generation.

The Ontario grid is supplied by a mix of generators at any given time, most of which do not contribute to GHG emissions. In fact only about 10 per cent of electricity in Ontario is generated from fossil fuels. The large majority of electricity comes from nuclear and hydroelectric generation. However, natural gas generators are relied on disproportionately during days of high power demand. This is because natural gas generators can easily modulate their output which is necessary to match the changing provincial demand. Other sources of energy such as nuclear don’t have the ability to vary their output quickly.

There can be serious consequences if the power demand in the province is not in balance with the available generation. However, if we are able to reduce power demand as a province on days when we might rely on natural gas the most – that is, days when we see a rapid spike in power consumption – then we can collectively reduce the carbon impact of all electrically powered devices.

“This program is a real success story for Queen’s in terms of our ongoing commitment to environmental and financial sustainability,” says Donna Janiec, Vice-Principal (Finance and Administration).

Queen’s has participated in the Industrial Conservation Initiative since 2012. The university’s efforts over the past five years have been a small part of a provincial effort to make our grid as clean as it can be. 

Upcoming 2017-18 budget public presentations

Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Benoit-Antoine Bacon presents the 2017-18 budget to the Queen's Managerial and Professional Group. (University Communications)

Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic), Benoit-Antoine Bacon, and Vice-Principal (Finance and Administration), Donna Janiec, will deliver budget presentations to staff and faculty interested in learning more about the university’s financial priorities in the year ahead.

The presentations will include an overview of the overall budget and of new funded initiatives, an update on the university’s pension, and an opportunity for questions. There will be two presentations to choose from: Wednesday, October 11 from 10:30 to 11:30 am in the School of Kinesiology Room 101, and Friday, October 20 from 10:30 to 11:30 am in Duncan McArthur Hall Room A342 (NOTE: the location of this presentation was updated October 6).

Space is limited, so organizers request that you RSVP to secure your seat. Alternately, the October 20 presentation will be recorded and posted at a later date.

Those seeking an accommodation or presentation materials in an accessible format should contact the Office of the Provost or indicate this on their RSVP.

Campus Electricity Demand Reduction Notification: Sept. 25 and Sept. 26

In order to reduce electricity costs and contribute to the sustainability of the province’s energy system, the university is once again participating in an electricity peak demand reduction program this summer.

Due to increasing provincial demand and high temperatures, there will be demand reductions today (Monday, Sept. 25) and tomorrow (Tuesday, Sept. 26).

Please note that all academic buildings and libraries are exempt from the program on both dates.

Wednesday, Sept. 27 also has potential for a demand reduction; however, a separate notice will be issued on Wednesday morning to either confirm or cancel the reduction.

To learn more about the electricity peak demand reduction program, visit the Queen’s Sustainability Office website. Those with questions may also contact Fixit at extension 77301 (internal), 613-533-6757 (external) or email.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Financial Sustainability