23 BC public sector buildings to conserve enough energy to power 600 homes
Energy upgrades at 23 public sector buildings across The Pacific Province will conserve enough energy to power 600 homes a year, boasts the provincial government, and cut more than 3,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.
By Anthony Capkun
“B.C.’s public sector has made dramatic changes to become carbon-neutral this year and will continue to cut emissions every year after,” said minister of state for climate action, John Yap. “With 6500 buildings, our public sector organizations directly affect the amount of greenhouse gases we’re generating in the province.”
A $7.6 million investment from B.C.’s Public Sector Energy Conservation Agreement (PSECA) kicks off the 23 energy improvement projects in colleges, universities, hospitals, healthcare centres and other public sector buildings throughout the province.
“The benefits will extend far beyond the walls of those buildings,” said Ida Chong, minister of regional economic and skills development, and science and universities. “Every publicly-funded facility that conserves energy is performing a service for their staff, their users and the community at large.”
One of the largest projects is at Camosun College’s Lansdowne campus in Victoria, with a $1.1 million investment in lighting, heating, and air-conditioning system retrofits.
“Camosun has had an ambitious energy management project underway for the past four years, and this funding to retrofit the Lansdowne campus will help the college deliver on its climate action goals,” said Peter Lockie, Camosun College’s VP finance & administration. “Work at the Lansdowne campus will build on the measureable results achieved from an earlier retrofit of the Interurban campus that realized a reduction in greenhouse gases of 261 tonnes.”
It is estimated the projects will save more than $400,000 a year in energy costs.
Since 2008, the BC government has committed $75 million to the PSECA fund. With additional energy conservation incentives from BC Hydro and Terasen Gas, the capital fund has helped achieve annual energy cost savings of more than $7.4 million and GHG reductions over 18,700 tonnes.
“Energy conservation is the most effective way to meet our province’s growing electricity needs,” said Lisa Coltart, executive director of BC Hydro Power Smart and customer care. “These kinds of energy conservation projects help our overall clean energy goal of meeting two-thirds of future demand through conservation by 2020.”
“The sustainable use of energy is an important part of our business. Through innovative initiatives like this, we are able to help our public sector customers make important strides towards the province’s climate action goals,” said Doug Stout, VP, energy solutions and external relations at Terasen Gas and FortisBC. “Through our Energy Efficiency and Conservation program, we’re helping customers save 15.5 million gigajoules—enough natural gas for approximately 155,000 homes for one year. And the PowerSense program at FortisBC has helped electricity customers in the southern interior save nearly 360 million kW/h—enough power for about 28,000 homes each year.”
B.C.’s carbon neutral commitment, enshrined in the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets Act, is the first of its kind in North America, says the government. All provincial public sector operations (including government ministries and agencies, schools, colleges, universities, health authorities and Crown corporations) have taken steps to be carbon neutral this year. Carbon neutrality involves measuring emissions, reducing them where possible and offsetting the remainder by investing in projects that reduce GHG emissions.