A mass timber solution for BCIT’s student housing building

View of the mass timber panels at Tall Timber Student Housing

The mass timber assemblies are the centerpiece of the Tall Timber Student Housing building’s design. While the installation process is straightforward and quick, the work that goes into preparing and delivering mass timber is complex. To deliver panels that are ready for quick installation on site requires a careful process of design coordination and then … Read more

Newly daylit section of Guichon Creek emerges from beneath the ground

Photo of the new spillway at Guichon Creek

Water is flowing along a newly daylit section of Guichon Creek on the BCIT Burnaby Campus that previously travelled in an underground culvert. The restoration will create new habitat for wildlife and allow salmon to navigate further along the creek. The plan to daylight this area close to the BCIT Recreation Services Centre actually came … Read more

New ‘The Keepers of the Land’ mural comes to life at the BCIT Burnaby Campus

Artist works on the new Keepers of the Land Mural at BCIT

The ‘Keepers of the Land’ mural A major new mural depicting a sea and sky-scape of the traditional territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh will soon be unveiled at BCIT’s Burnaby Campus. The beautiful piece entitled ‘The Keepers of the Land’ is by Kelly Cannell, an artist from the Musqueam Nation who has produced … Read more

‘Tidy Ted’ joins the custodial team at the new Health Sciences Centre

Tidy Ted - autonomous floor cleaner

BCIT is welcoming the latest innovative autonomous cleaning robot to campus. Tidy Ted will be arriving to patrol the corridors of the new Health Sciences Centre, keeping the floors clean and polished. Tidy Ted was introduced by BEST Service Pros to service BCIT’s Burnaby Campus. BEST is BCIT’s custodial contractor who deliver cleaning services to … Read more

BCIT opens new Wood Waste to Energy Centre

Launch of the Wood Waste to Energy Centre

BCIT has opened a new $1.5 million Wood Waste to Energy Centre (WWEC) at its Burnaby Campus which uses a biomass boiler to recycle wood waste into clean energy.

Every year, the Centre will use 250 tons of wood cut-offs and sawdust from Carpentry and Joinery programs to heat buildings at the Burnaby Campus. The project was supported with $340,000 from British Columbia’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy Carbon Neutral Capital Program (CNCP) and brings to life elements of the province’s Clean BC plan. The project was also supported by $200,000 from the BC Bioenergy Network

The boiler which currently heats buildings NE2 and NE4 saves 1% of BCIT’s total emissions, equivalent to 75 tCO2e GHG. However, the system could be expanded in the future to save up to 240 tCO2e Greenhouse Gas annually, which equates to 3% of BCIT’s total emissions. The project will also reduce transportation emissions because the wood waste will no longer need to be trucked away from campus for disposal.

“This an exciting project,” said Danica Djurkovic, BCIT Vice President, Campus Planning and Facilities, “because it delivers significant GHG reductions while creating a more sustainable learning environment for students in our trades programs. We were delighted to work with the School of Construction and the Environment to develop this system which we believe could be adopted to use on a much larger scale in industries that produce wood waste. We will continue to prioritize reducing the Institute’s carbon footprint through future projects like the electrification of the main heating plant at the Burnaby Campus and designing new buildings that meet net zero emissions standards.”

SEE MORE: ‘Tidy Ted’ joins the custodial team at the new Health Sciences Centre

The Centre has three main elements:

  • The system starts with clean, kiln-dried lumber off-cuts, which are sent to a chipper and cut into inch-long chips. These are stored in a silo and fed into the biomass boiler by an auger.
  • The water in the boiler is heated by burning the wood chips and then piped to heat the adjacent buildings (NE2 and NE4). Fan unit heaters blow air over hot water coils to deliver warm air to the Carpentry and Joinery shop spaces.
  • The exhaust from the boiler system is run through a multi-stage filter to ensure that it meets strict emissions regulations from Metro Vancouver.

A partnership project

The project is a result of a close partnership between the BCIT Campus Planning and Facilities Department and the BCIT School of Construction and the Environment. Students played an important role in the project by building the timber structure for the roof of the boiler house, fabricating and erecting the steel structure for the chipper enclosure, improving the chipper metal hopper, completing the air dispersion modelling required for the permitting, completing a noise control study, and much more.

“The low-carbon heating system serves as a great example of a living lab. Trades and technology students were involved in the planning, design and construction of the facility.”

Particularly proud of the student involvement in the project, Wayne Hand, Dean, BCIT School of Construction and the Environment, noted that, “the low-carbon heating system serves as a great example of a living lab. Trades and technology students were involved in the planning, design, and construction of the facility. Now that the facility is operational, BCIT students get to visit the site on a regular basis to learn about the maintenance and operation of a biomass-driven pressure vessel. This is the final element of a series of clean tech projects that reduced the School of Construction and Environment GHG emissions by more than 75% in the buildings where we teach Welding, Piping, Carpentry and Joinery.”

Climate action and adaptation remain at the forefront of the Institute’s academic and operational plans. Projects like this Centre show BCIT’s commitment in addressing the sustainability challenges we face here on campus, across BC, and around the world.

“Once again, BCIT is leading the way by actioning new ways to tackle the climate crisis,” said local Burnaby-North MLA, Janet Routledge, in a celebratory message to the BCIT community. “Every day you demonstrate your commitment to saving our planet. BCIT sets a standard that inspires us all and gives us hope at a time when it is desperately needed. Equally important, BCIT is training the next generation of environmental experts who will have the skills to meet existential challenges on behalf of us all. Congratulations to everyone involved in this wonderful initiative!”

This facility is a testament to what is possible through collaboration to build the necessary infrastructure to propel our journey towards a cleaner, greener province, and a sustainable future.

Join BCIT in Celebrating the first Guichon Creek Day

Guichon Creek Day Poster

BCIT will celebrate the first ever Guichon Creek Day on Wednesday September 21. The celebration of one of the most unique natural features of Burnaby Campus will be part of the recognition of World Rivers Day (September 25). Guichon Creek is one of the most significant tributaries of Still Creek and runs directly through BCIT’s … Read more

New BCIT Health Sciences Centre a healthy space for educating healthcare professionals

Exterior of the new Health Sciences Centre

Wellness is at the heart of the new BCIT Health Sciences Centre (HSC), reflected in healthy design features like lofty open spaces, and thoughtful details, all aimed at supporting education for healthcare professionals now — and in the future. “It’s a beautiful environment for students to learn and for instructors to teach,” says the project’s … Read more

BCIT uses waste from Health Sciences Centre project to ecologically restore part of Guichon Creek

BCIT has completed the ecological restoration of 3,860 m2 of land adjacent to Guichon Creek, using soil dug out as part of the building excavation for the new Health Sciences Centre (HSC) opening this fall. Parking lot O was previously a gravel car park that sat alongside Guichon Creek and because of its position the … Read more

BCIT opens Indigenous Garden at Burnaby Campus

BCIT officially opened its Indigenous Garden earlier this month. The tiered garden in the courtyard, between SW1 and SW3 on the Burnaby Campus, provides a dedicated area to cultivate a range of Indigenous plants and is also built to be a peaceful green space for students and staff to enjoy. The range of plants includes … Read more

How BCIT Facilities Services keeps campuses running after extreme cold weather conditions

BCIT Burnaby campus in spring.

At the end of December 2021, the Lower Mainland experienced its coldest temperatures for many years. Lakes and ponds froze solid and even the smallest hill in local parks became a sledging destination. Extreme cold weather conditions pose challenges to the water and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems that serve buildings. At BCIT, … Read more