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Thesis Defence: Life Cycle Assessment of Alternative Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning Systems for Application in Poultry Houses

June 4 at 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Leandra Vanbaelinghem, supervised by Dr. Nathan Pelletier, will defend their thesis titled “Life Cycle Assessment of Alternative Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning Systems for Application in Poultry Houses” in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies – Sustainability theme.

An abstract for Leandra Vanbaelinghem’s thesis is included below.

Defences are open to all members of the campus community as well as the general public. Please email nathan.pelletier@ubc.ca to receive the Zoom link for this defence.


The world population is growing rapidly, creating increasing demand for food production and security. In parallel, this also challenges our ability to sustainably meet this rising food demand. Industrial egg production is one of the fastest growing livestock sub-sectors. Hence, achieving sustainability improvements is critical for the future of the egg industry. Alternative heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems, such as geothermal systems, offer opportunities to potentially reduce the environmental footprint of conventional HVAC systems in poultry houses, which are responsible for substantial use of direct non-renewable energy use and emissions in on-farm operations. To date, the suitability of alternative HVACs in poultry houses as possible environmental impact mitigation solutions is largely unknown, as most of the literature focuses on alternative HVACs for residential and other commercial purposes. The research objectives were first to identify a subset of alternative HVAC systems that could potentially be suitable for poultry housing by considering the thermal requirements of poultry houses, the environmental impact mitigation potentials of current systems, and their technological maturity and feasibility. The results showed that ground-source heat pumps (GSHP) and earth-air heat exchangers (EAHE) were promising systems compared to air-source heat pumps (ASHP), water-source heat pumps (WSHP) and ground-source air heat pumps (GSAHP). Thereafter, a life cycle assessment of conventional HVACs and this subset of most promising alternative HVACs for application in poultry houses was performed. This was done to compare their potential resource use, direct energy use, and environmental impacts across poultry houses in different provinces of Canada, specifically Quebec, British Columbia, Ontario, Alberta, and Nova Scotia. The comparative life cycle assessment results demonstrate that GSHP and EAHE could possibly reduce life cycle emissions and environmental impacts per tonne of eggs produced compared to the conventional HVAC systems currently used in free-run poultry houses. These alternative HVACs’ environmental impact reduction potential was found to depend strongly on the local electricity grid mix and climatic region. These research insights provide a starting point to support selecting more environmentally benign HVAC systems for Canadian egg farms.


June 4
12:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Additional Info

Registration/RSVP Required
Yes (see event description)
Event Type
Thesis Defence
Environment and Sustainability, Research and Innovation, Science, Technology and Engineering
Alumni, Community, Faculty, Staff, Families, Partners and Industry, Students, Postdoctoral Fellows and Research Associates