November 22, 2012 - Today, in front of the living wall at the City Hall Galleria, Guelph Mayor Karen Farbridge accepted rebate cheques totalling $47,612 from Guelph Hydro and Union Gas for an extensive energy audit program conducted earlier this year.
By Anthony Capkun
“Energy audits are a key element of the Corporate Energy Management Program that was recently presented to council. The reality of rising energy costs together with the city’s commitment to show leadership on energy matters in support of the Community Energy Initiative both compel the corporation to move quickly on energy conservation projects,” said Rob Blakeney, energy manager, City of Guelph.
In total, 13 city facilities—including City Hall, the River Run Centre, the Sleeman Centre, the main library branch, Centennial Park Arena, the transit facility and recreation centres—were audited to evaluate how electricity, gas and water is being used, and determine opportunities to improve energy efficiency and reduce operating costs.
The energy audits identified more than 100 electricity, gas and water conservation projects. These projects will require an investment of $3.3 million spread over the next three years, says Guelph Hydro, but will result in a 5.9% reduction in energy, worth more than $400,000 a year in avoided costs to the corporation and taxpayer, accumulating to $7 to $11 million over the next 10 years.
The rebates received by the city are available to businesses under two programs:
• The Ontario Power Authority (OPA) saveONenergy Audit Funding program for businesses, which covers up to 50% of the cost of an energy audit.
• The Union Gas EnerSmart energy-efficiency incentive program for projects that increase the efficiency of using natural gas.
Energy conservation projects identified for the facilities include changes to lighting (high-efficiency lighting, timers, daylight harvesting), upgrades of HVAC systems, and the installation of low-flow toilets and faucets.
“With energy being the fastest growing expenditure at the city and arguably our greatest financial risk, the need for energy efficiency has never been greater,” said Mayor Farbridge. “All governments are experiencing tough fiscal times, which is why the provincial incentives that we have received through Guelph Hydro and Union Gas for our energy audit program are so important. They enable us to leverage the city’s operational budgets to the maximum, and develop the robust business case required to get to the next step of implementing energy reduction projects.”