Aerial view of VIU campus

District Geo-Exchange Energy System

Craig Hanson

VIU is reducing its carbon output for heating and cooling of Nanaimo’s campus to near zero by harnessing the geo-energy stored in sunken mine shafts under the campus. This geo-exchange project is unique in Canada, as it utilizes state-of-the-art innovative, sustainable, green technologies. 


  • Reducing VIU’s energy needs for the Dr. Ralph Nilson Centre for Health and Science by 75%, which helped the building achieve LEED Gold standards and positions the institution as a leader in sustainability
  • Teaching and learning opportunities from this sustainable and innovative system for physics, engineering, and power engineering students, as well as the public

Lewkowich Engineering Associates Ltd. is continuing their 17 years of supporting VIU with a gift toward the development of an Interpretive Centre for the District Geo-Exchange Energy System. The unique system, which utilizes the water in flooded mines under the campus as a heat sink and cooling system, works to reduce the carbon footprint of our new buildings at the Nanaimo campus to near zero.