Performing an in-depth detailed energy audit for an energy management front-runner in the university sector

Nestled in the beautiful Fraser Valley just east of Vancouver, the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) is a fully accredited public university with campuses in Abbotsford, Chilliwack and Mission and regional centres in Hope and Agassiz. The UFV's campus comprises 17 buildings and nearly 46,000 square metres (500,000 square feet) of floor area.


"Putting in long days out at the Abbotsford and Chilliwack campuses and conducting night audits for both campuses was a challenge--but it really paid off. One year following the implementation of our recommendations, we confirmed that the achieved energy savings were 27% higher than projected."

--Majid Pishvaei, Prism Engineering


In 1999, Prism conducted a preliminary energy study and wrote an energy management action plan, sponsored by NRCan's Office of Energy Efficiency, for UFV's two major campuses in Abbotsford and Chilliwack. In 2002, due to retrofits carried out, a relatively new building stock, mild weather conditions, low utility rates and progressive operating procedures, UFV had one of the lowest unit energy costs relative to all colleges in Canada. Prism was again brought in to look for ways to further improve efficiencies for this early adopter of energy management.


Prism conducted a detailed energy audit at the university to collect more in-depth information about facility operation and to perform a more comprehensive evaluation of energy conservation measures. The audit consisted of:

  • a detailed audit of the facilities' lighting systems and controls, an analysis of retrofit alternatives and summary recommendations
  • a comprehensive audit and analysis of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems and controls, a calculation of the existing energy use of mechanical equipment, and an estimate of savings from various HVAC retrofits and heat recovery options
  • a power factor review leading to recommendations of energy-saving measures that would impact power factor
  • a cost/benefit analysis to evaluate and rank lighting and HVAC retrofit alternatives using simple payback, net present value and internal rate of return. Environmental impact and other benefits of measures were also discussed
  • site visits and meetings with staff and management to gather relevant information for the above tasks


Despite the significant prior energy retrofits, Prism's detailed energy audit uncovered further potential efficiency improvements in lighting, controls, mechanical systems and operations. Prism's work resulted in the following savings and recognition:

  • Existing annual energy costs for UFV, already among the lowest in Canada, could be further reduced by 7%, saving an additional $57,500 per year, if recommendations were implemented
  • The identified savings would reduce greenhouse gases by 7% and reduce the amount of equivalent CO2 emissions by 122.7 tonnes per year
  • The federal Climate Change Voluntary Challenge and Registry program awarded Gold Level status to the action plan prepared by Prism to help UFV reduce its GHG emissions