Sheridan students team up with Enersource

For the first time, Mississauga energy provider Enersource will be partnering with Sheridan College to provide energy audits for small and medium-sized companies.

“Enersource is supporting this program with management, technical, engineering and marketing resources as well as test equipment, field support and mentoring and direct opportunities for applied research projects for our students,” said Sheridan applied researcher, Chris Beaver, one of the main organizers of the initiative.

“They’re an amazing partner to work with.”

In return for their resources, Enersource gets assistance in achieving its mandate to reduce Mississauga’s electricity demand.

Launched in 2010, Sheridan’s energy auditing program is part of its School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering and Technology, and its Centre for Advanced Manufacturing and Design Technologies.

While the centre was originally founded to try out new manufacturing techniques specifically for the automotive sector, the energy auditing program was something Sheridan felt could help establish connections with lots of different companies.

The basic idea was Sheridan would offer companies energy assessments done in conjunction with the Province of Ontario’s “Save on Energy” Program.

If the businesses said yes, faculty, staff and research associates (students) from Sheridan would go into a company and perform entry-level I, II or III assessments which would identify opportunities for the companies to reduce their energy costs.

“We were able to do that in a way that identified not only areas for potential cost-savings,” Beaver explained, “but also provided them with the information for the necessary technical and financial details from which they could determine it was a worthwhile endeavor or not.”

Since the Sheridan program looks at multiple areas like lighting, cooling and refrigeration, companies are able to see how one can affect another.

“When one changes the lights in any kind of a building, you’re also reducing the heat,” Beaver said, “Then you’re reducing the load on the heating and air-conditioning system. So there’s more energy saved there.”

The Sheridan program is so thorough that it also helps businesses with paperwork and information on government incentives from the Ontario Power Authority through their audit funding program.

Since its inception, demand for the program has steadily increased. “We’ve completed over 60 audits and engaged more than 100 students,” Beaver said.

One of the program’s most notable successes involved a team of two staff, two faculty and 12 students who were able to count, audit and assess 16,000 light fixtures in less than a week.

In fact, the program has been so successful that it’s being applied to the college’s own “20-year integrated climate energy master plan.”

Beaver said a team from the Faculty of Applied Science and Technology went out to do the audits and assessments on Sheridan’s three campuses in Brampton, Mississauga and Oakville, totaling almost 2-million square feet in space.

For companies that want more information about the program, Beaver will be speaking at an upcoming sustainable solutions seminar on energy conservation and cost savings.

Hosted by the chair of the Mississauga Board of Trade’s Sustainability Committee, Jeremiah Brenner, the event will take place at Sheridan’s Hazel McCallion Campus in Mississauga on July 17.

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