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Significant climate change investment for Durham College

Province announces $15 million in funding for variety of projects

MPP Granville Anderson speaks during the announcement of nearly $15 million in provincial funding for climate change initiatives at Durham College. (Photo by Dave Flaherty)

By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa

Durham College will receive approximately $15 million in provincial funding to support sustainability and reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the Oshawa campus.

Durham MPP Granville Anderson announced the recent funding through Ontario’s Greenhouse Gas Campus Retrofits program on March 12.

About $9 million of funding will be used towards the new Simcoe Geothermal Field project. The multi-year initiative will see a geothermal field, new central plant and piping network installed on reclaimed lands with the goal of creating a ‘net-zero carbon footprint’ in existing campus buildings.

The field will be located where the current Simcoe building, built in 1969, is located.

That building is being replaced by the Centre for Collaborative Excellence, which is currently under construction and scheduled to open this fall.

“Today’s announcement of the Simcoe Geothermal Field project is the latest example of our commitment and action to support sustainable and environmentally-responsible practices across all aspects of our operations,” Durham College president Don Lovisa says.

Beyond of the operational advantages of the project, students will see benefits as well.

“This will become a living lab on campus, which will be incorporated into a wide variety of program curricula to address new green-energy technologies and careers,” Lovisa added.

According to Melissa McLean, communication officer for Durham College, the funding announcement allows the college to proceed with the next stages in the design development.

Under conditions of the funding agreement with the provincial government, the project must be substantially complete by March 31, 2019.

The college will also invest $1.45 million to complete upgrades on existing facilities.

These include a high-efficiency HVAC system, upgraded building automation systems and LED lighting.

The remaining $4.1 million is considered an interest-free loan, uses of which will are still to be determined.

Lovisa says the dollars will assist Durham “in advancing environmental responsibility through our programs, services, and facilities.”

“Thanks to innovative projects and planning such as the Simcoe Geothermal Field project, our reputation, and leadership in this area will only continue to grow and strengthen.”

Anderson also praised Durham for its efforts.

“Durham College is a leader of technology and innovation in Durham, so it’s important that we ensure institutions like this are equipped with the most up-to-date, efficient, and environmentally-friendly infrastructure.”