Celebrating 100 Years of Steam

Thursday, August 9, 2012
Written by Gavin Au-Yeung
University of Toronto News

Read original article here



In the middle of a sweltering summer, it was a celebration of central heating.

On August 1st the University of Toronto celebrated the centennial year of district energy at the McLennan Physical Laboratories, honouring one of the university’s earliest examples of technological innovation and environmental responsibility.

When U of T decided to implement steam plant energy back in 1912, engineers and administrators made the bold decision to construct one single production plant to supply multiple buildings.

Over the past century, the steam plant would be replaced and renovated many times to improve efficiency and energy production, and allow campus expansion. And along the way, the evolving plant played a role in helping the university meet the growing demand for engineering graduates and researchers.

Today the steam plant’s iconic chimney can be seen at Russell and Huron Streets. And the district energy system provides heating and cooling to 75 buildings on campus (more than 11 million square feet) while continuing to provide unique learning opportunities for today’s engineering students. (See video below.)