Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 60.39
Liaison Christine Pinkham
Submission Date March 30, 2021

STARS v2.2

British Columbia Institute of Technology
IN-50: Innovation D

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.50 / 0.50
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name or title of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
Wood-Waste-to-Energy Project

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome that outlines how credit criteria are met and any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation:

In pursuit of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, showcasing environmentally-sustainable projects for widespread use, and incorporating sustainability more broadly in curriculum, British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) has created a closed-loop biomass district energy system.

The BCIT Carpentry and Joinery programs create wood waste from lumber off-cuts, which historically have been disposed from campus using external waste haulers. Additionally, the wood shops have been heated using natural-gas-fired appliances, with a significant associated greenhouse gas emission footprint. Repurposing the wood waste as fuel for a biomass boiler, energy is generated which is then used to provide space heating for the two program buildings. This greatly reduces external energy source flows via natural gas displacement, as well as cost and emissions associated with hauling wood waste off-site for disposal.

This project was born out of a concept from BCIT instructors that would allow woodworking shops and studios in remote areas, many of them on First Nations reserves, to heat their building while relying less on costly and polluting fossil fuel energy sources. Implementation of this technology at BCIT will improve accessibility to the regional woodworking industry, providing a hands-on example to foster broader deployment.

BCIT saw this opportunity as a way to reduce solid waste disposal, greenhouse gas emissions, and utility costs, as well as engaging faculty and students in a hands-on, living-lab piece of working campus infrastructure.

The project has involved stakeholders from across the Institute for implementation. Facilities & Campus Development (FCD) has led project management, with close collaboration from the School of Construction & Environment, which houses the Carpentry and Joinery programs. To help manage costs as well as to involve students in this initiative, a great deal of student and faculty labour was used in the project. For example: The boilerhouse roof and equipment enclosure wall panels were constructed by Carpentry and Joinery students and faculty. Nail-laminated timber (NLT) was selected to allow for sustainable deconstruction and reuse/recycling at the end of project life. These NLT panels were also torched by students to provide a natural form of weatherproofing that would aid in end-of-life recycling and avoid the use of chemical wood treatments. The steel frame of the enclosure for the chipper and chip silo were erected by Ironworker students and faculty.

Staff from the School of Construction & Environment helped design the fuel quality control program, which is a crucial component of the air quality emissions permit application to ensure only clean, kiln-dried lumber offcuts are used for the fuel stream. This involves students in the woodworking programs, who sort wood waste and have a hands-on connection to the fuel that heats their working spaces.

Design features have been added to facilitate project integration into curriculum, such as floor-to-ceiling windows in the boilerhouse, interpretive signage for tours, gas sampling ports in the exhaust stack, and a user-friendly graphical display in our building automation software and our energy metering dashboard for staff and students to access.

More information and images can be found at the link below.

Source: BCIT Wood-Waste-to-Energy Project AASHE Case Study written by Colin Chan, Energy and Greenhouse Gas Manager.

A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise or a press release or publication featuring the innovation :

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.