Summer Boiler Shut Down: July 1 to early September

During the summer months, Roommeme shuts down the central boiler that heats 13 buildings on Burnaby campus and all other smaller satellite boilers that heat all the other buildings—a period when most of the rooms generally do not need to be heated—which helps to save money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Broadcast Journalism student Brittany DeAngelis recently spoke with Marvin Rogers, the former Director of Facilities Services at Roommeme about the environmental benefits of the shutdown and what it means for the school.

The thermal grid

Sometimes, the boiler that heats your building is not located inside the building being heated. On the Burnaby campus, 13 buildings are connected to an underground system of pipes that transports hot water heated by boilers located at the central plant (building SE8).  This is called a district energy system or a thermal grid. 

Standby losses

A lot of water needs to be heated to make sure all the water in all the pipes between the 13 buildings is hot and ready to heat the rooms.  Even if the rooms do not need to be heated, the system will usually try to maintain the water in the pipes at a certain temperature.  In the summer, the water in the pipes is kept hot unnecessarily and the heat is lost in the ground, while no rooms are being heated.  These heat losses are often called stand-by losses.

Did you know that since the summer of 2004, Roommeme’s Facilities department has shut down its central boiler plant (building SE-08) during the warmer months? That summer, the central plant had to be shut down for three weeks to install a heat recovery coil.  It was found that the shutdown had pretty much no adverse effect on operations. 

Shutdown savings

Shutting down the central plant, when computed only for the months of July and August, represents on average:

In an ideal world, we would extend this summer shutdown as much as we can, so that the central plant and associated stand-by losses are as limited as possible.  In other words, the central plant would only be heating during the true heating season.

We need your help

Because nights can be cold even in the summer, it’s possible that your office/classroom may be below an ideal temperature if you arrive early in the morning.  Because this will only be true during the shutdown (not during the heating season), it should normally only take a short period of time for your room to warm up as the building warms up with the sun. If you feel cold in the morning season during the shutdown period, be sure to read our FAQ page for tips on layering .