University of Toronto Environmental Science & Chemistry

  • Client

    University of Toronto

  • Region

    Central Canada

  • City


  • Budget

    $55 Million

  • Year Completed


  • Size

    124,000 sq. ft.

  • Sector


  • Sub-Sector

    Education (Institutional)

The Story

The new Environmental Science and Chemistry building (ESCB) will be home to the Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences and will house two of the three disciplines (Chemistry and Environmental Science). There is a geothermal field installed below the building foundations designed for a portion of 40% of the building cooling load. The geothermal field was designed to maximize capacity within the available footprint of the building foundations. Between 75 and 80 vertical boreholes (450 feet deep) were installed which provides in the order-of- magnitude of 200 tons of cooling rejection. . The use of Earth Tubes, a geothermal system, magnetic bearing chillers, and a low temperature (ultra high efficiency) heating water system contributes to an energy efficient and sustainable building.

Closed-loop ground source geothermal heat pump systems was incorporated into the CHCP.

The central Ground Source Heat Pump (GSHP) system was sized to provide as close to forty per cent (40%) of the peak cooling load as possible within the building footprint. Heat pump efficiency is directly related to the entering water temperatures and extreme temperatures will quickly de-rate the overall efficiency. In order to maximize efficiency and maintain performance, it is essential to balance the heat extracted from the ground during the heating season with the heat rejected to the ground during the cooling season.

The GSHP was carefully integrated with the CHCP to control energy imbalances and to control long-term soil temperature change. The long-term soil temperature change was limited to a maximum of 1.5 degree F for the surrounding soil over 20 years. The maximum and minimum entering source water for summer and winter is 85 degree F and 40 degree F, respectively.