District Geo-Exchange Energy System

Construction of the District Geo-Exchange Energy System at Nanaimo campus is complete. The project represents a major step towards fulfilling VIU's commitment to sustainability by significantly reducing the University's carbon footprint.  

The project relies on the flooded Wakesiah mine workings that lie underneath VIU. Extensive testing has shown that the water trapped in the abandoned mine remains at a relatively constant 11 degrees Celsius year-round, and it is that energy that VIU is tapping into to heat and cool its buildings. 

The system runs on two water loops. The first is a mine water loop and the second is an ambient water loop. Both rely on two wells that have been drilled on campus. The mine water loop will bring the water to the surface, direct it through a pump house and then back to the mine. The ambient water loop takes the water from the pump house, sends it to buildings that are attached to the system, then returns it back to the pump house where the water rejoins the mine water loop. 

The goal of the project is first to ensure new structures built on campus are connected to the Geo Exchange System and, as the project moves forward, to replace aging heating and cooling systems in older VIU buildings with new equipment that can utilize the sustainable energy resource that will be available on campus. It also allows the University to engage in research and innovation in this important area.

The $2.8-million project is being funded by the federal government, which is contributing $1.2 million, with VIU raising the remaining $1.7 million. 

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