Crowsnest Hall

Campus Building Spaces and Energy Use Case Study


Yi Chen, a student in the Schulich School of Engineering, received an award from the Program for the Undergraduate Research Experience (PURE) to determine if there is a correlation, between different spaces in campus buildings (e.g. lab spaces, building services spaces, public services, school services, etc.) and how much energy they consume. First, Yi and her supervisor, Dr. Simon Li, collaborated with Facilities Management’s ARCHIBUS team and the Office of Sustainability to access data necessary for the research and to seek input on their research approach. Next, Yi completed a pilot study that looked at five campus buildings, how their spaces are classified and how much energy they consume by applying  multiple linear regression model to investigate the correlation. Buildings in the study included: Energy, Environment Experiential Learning, the Engineering Complex, the Taylor Family Digital Library, MacEwan Student Centre and MacEwan Hall.


  • Public services is the space classification that has the highest energy consumption of the five buildings. Public services include social/meeting spaces, washrooms, libraries, retail stores and public assembly areas.
  • Lab and school services spaces (e.g. classrooms and offices) have less energy consumption because they are often accessed by regular schedules.
  • As a preliminary finding, one of the best ways to control energy consumption is through building access and scheduling.

Next steps:

  • Yi plans to gather data for an additional 10 to 15 campus buildings to increase the size of the data set and strengthen the research results.
  • Yi and Dr. Li may publish a paper of their findings.  
  • The Office of Sustainability’s Energy Performance Innovation Team may use Yi’s methodology and findings to help inform how building spaces are classified and performing. The research may also be used to set energy targets and occupant engagement purposes.