[Sust-mar] To all media: Saint Mary's to convert oil furnaces to natural gas

Blake Patterson blake.patterson at SMU.CA
Wed Aug 13 13:51:11 EDT 2008

Media Release

For Immediate Release

August 13, 2008 

Saint Mary's to convert oil furnaces to natural gas


Saint Mary's University will convert its oil furnaces to cleaner-burning
natural gas this summer, with the help of nearly $1-million from the Nova
Scotia Department of Energy. 


An agreement confirming $993,000 in provincial funding for the project was
signed today by Dr. J. Colin Dodds, President of Saint Mary's University,
and Energy Minister Richard Hurlburt. The furnace conversion is scheduled to
be complete in October and will cost an estimated $1.3 million. 


 "This conversion is part of our ongoing commitment to environmental
stewardship," said Dr. Dodds. "We encourage our students, faculty, staff and
alumni to engage in global challenges and to take action on issues of
universal significance such as the degradation of the environment."


Minister Hurlburt said, "Natural gas is a made-in-Nova Scotia solution to
improving air quality and protecting the environment. We are proud to help
Saint Mary's provide a reliable, efficient and healthier energy source to
their staff and students."


The conversion to natural gas will help improve air quality by reducing the
university's emissions by more than 2,000 tonnes a year, equal to taking
about 400 cars off the road. This includes reducing carbon dioxide emissions
by 32 per cent, sulfur dioxide emissions by 99.9 per cent, nitrogen oxide
emissions by 79 per cent and particulate emissions by 90 per cent. 


The new heating plant will provide heating to more than a million square
feet of space at Saint Mary's and serve as an anchor load for Heritage Gas
to expand its natural gas system into south end Halifax. Last summer, the
conversion of furnaces by Capital Health was an anchor for building a
pipeline across Halifax Harbour to deliver natural gas to the peninsula. 


"We are very pleased to be building out our natural gas system to the
southern part of the Halifax peninsula," said Ray Ritcey, president of
Heritage Gas. "This will provide a new energy product that brings both
economic and environmental benefits to this great educational institution
and the community around it."


The conversion project will include the installation of new burners for
seven boilers at the university. It will also include installing new stack
liners, replacing two old boilers and building four new stacks. 


Education Minister Karen Casey was also on hand for the presentation.


"This initiative joins the up to $25-million investment from the Crown share
agreement as further indication of our commitment to universities as they
continue to address their infrastructure needs," Casey said. "I'm doubly
pleased that in doing so we can also contribute to reducing greenhouse gas


Converting the furnaces is part of the university's sustainability program.


"Converting the oil furnaces demonstrates Saint Mary's commitment to
community leadership and environmental sustainability," said Gabrielle
Morrison, Vice-President Administration and Chair of the Saint Mary's
Sustainability Task Force. 


The sustainability program at Saint Mary's already includes projects such as
campus-wide recycling, building to Leadership in Energy and Environmental
Design (LEED) standards, and promoting energy awareness through academic
teaching projects, activities and research.


"By reducing our carbon footprint, Saint Mary's is demonstrating its
commitment to fostering a sustainable future," said Morrison. "This
investment in sustainability is an example for our students who will be the
next generation of managers, operators and decision makers in the Nova
Scotia economy."

Saint Mary's University is known for its community outreach projects, both
in Canada and around the world. Saint Mary's, founded in 1802, is home to
one of Canada's leading business schools, a Science Faculty widely known for
its cutting-edge research, a comprehensive and innovative Arts Faculty and a
vibrant Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research.



For more information:

Blake Patterson 
Public Affairs Officer 
Saint Mary's University, Public Affairs 
(902) 420.5514 
E-mail: blake.patterson at smu.ca 

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