Partners in Project Green: Summer 2009 update
By Chris Rickett
In the winter of 2009, businesses around Toronto Pearson International Airport banded together to develop Partners in Project Green – an initiative to transform Canada’s largest employment area into an internationally recognized eco-business zone. Energy Management will be providing a quarterly update on activities in the Pearson Eco-Business Zone.
By Chris Rickett
Launched with much fanfare only months ago, Partners in Project Green is beginning to live up to its name, as it brings together businesses surrounding Toronto Pearson to help them improve their financial and environmental performance.
Since launching, the business-led Steering Committee has initiated a number of new programs and projects that are starting to help companies surrounding Toronto Pearson reduce their energy costs. One such program is called the 360 Sustainable Energy Plan.
Provided by a private sector partner, 360 Energy, the program helps companies develop an energy plan for their facility that focuses on developing an energy mandate, data management, supply management, energy use, equipment efficiencies and organizational integration. Companies receive one-on-one support from 360 Energy to develop the plan, but also the opportunity through an interactive workshop to learn from other companies about their energy management practices.
The program has been used by a number of companies in the Pearson Eco-Business Zone, including Pratt and Whitney Canada and Chrysler Canada. While they are still going through the plan process, the return-on-investment on the $5,000 program ($2,500 of which is covered by Enbridge Gas), is at a minimum 3 to 1 within a few months, realizing energy savings of at least 10 to 15 per cent with little or no capital outlay.
To help companies that have identified technologies as part of their energy plan though, Partners in Project Green is able to reduce the cost of building envelope technologies. Thanks to a partnership with the Clinton Climate Initiative and their Purchasing Alliance, businesses with operations around Toronto Pearson can realize a 5 to 35 per cent discount on lighting, controls, HVAC, roofing and other building technologies.
Often the most important part of realizing energy reduction opportunities though has been learning from others and this is an area that plays a large role in Partners in Project Green. It has always been the philosophy of the businesses involved in Partners in Project Green that by sharing each other’s lessons, they can help avoid mistakes, learn about new opportunities and reduce the cost of entry for companies looking to green their operations. To facilitate this learning, Partners in Project Green organizes monthly networking and education opportunities.
In partnership with Natural Resource Canada, Partners in Project Green has presented and is planning a number of sector specific workshops that help companies understand and manage their energy consumption. Using energy data provided by their local utility for their facility, companies in attendance are guided by the energy management dynamic duo Stephen Dixon and Garth White through a number of lessons that allow them to understand, manage and identify energy reduction opportunities. The workshop is designed in such a way that most companies can leave the workshop with projects identified and ready to implement. A workshop has been held for the food processing sector and two fall workshops are planned for the logistics/warehousing sector and general manufacturing.
One of the most successful networking events though was the Pearson Eco-Business Zone Sustainability Tour. The tour was an opportunity for local businesses to see what types of energy management and environmental programming their neighbours are implementing. With stops at Woodbine Entertainment, Lange Transportation, the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, Bayer Inc. and Molson, attendees were treated to the whole gamut of environmental programs – including the airport’s underground stormwater facility, Lange Transportation’s geothermal retrofit of their 30-year-old building, Bayer Inc.’s green roof, Woodbine’s comprehensive environmental program, and Molson’s waste reduction and innovative energy management initiatives (and not to mention a nice visit to the pub).
The tour’s goal was really to allow businesses to see first-hand what is possible, the idea being that the best sales people for sustainability are the companies already implementing cost saving initiatives. Some of things companies learned from their neighbours and planned to implement within their own business were ideas around developing an employee green team, installing green roofs, day lighting with solar tubes, and utilizing geo-thermal for heating and cooling. One attendee admitted they were skeptical about geo-thermal, but after seeing it in action at Lange Transportation, intended to take it back and crunch the numbers for a retrofit they were planning. It is this kind of peer-to-peer learning that Partners in Project Green strives to encourage.
Moving forward in the coming months Partners in Project Green will continue to offer its many programs, including the ones mentioned above, but is also continuing its work on a number of other projects, including: developing the business case for a revolving loan fund to help local companies finance energy efficiency upgrades; completing a bio-gas feasibility study to handle organics from local food processors; launching a feasibility study for district energy opportunities; and developing tools to help realize the potential for rooftop solar in the Pearson Eco-Business Zone.
If you’re a company in the Pearson Eco-Business Zone and are interested in learning more about Partners in Project Green, or you’re a company that’s simply interested in sharing your story, you can learn more at www.partnersinprojectgreen.com.
Pearson Eco-Business Zone Company Profile: Lange Transportation
One of the favourite stops of attendees to the Pearson Eco-Business Zone Sustainable Business Tour was Lange Transportation. Here’s a glimpse of what Lange Transportation has done to reduce their energy costs.
- Their geo-thermal has totally eliminated the use of natural gas to heat and air-condition their 70,000 sq ft warehouse/office. An added bonus is that the system also provides all of their hot water and gives their warehouse employees air conditioning in the summer at no added cost.
- Lighting costs have been reduced by 35% by installing T5 lighting and fixtures, while utilizing 14 solar tubes for day lighting in the offices.
- To reduce heat loss, their warehouse steel loading dock doors were replaced with insulated overhead doors with plexi-glass windows and thick padded bumpers around the doors, which ensure the overhead doors are not opened until the truck is tucked nicely into the bay.
- Lange Transportation had a 30 year old roof with an R7 value and in order to reduce waste they put a new roof directly over the existing one utilizing a blown-on polyurethane foam that increased the R value to R24 over the office and R19 over the warehouse.
With these actions and others, Lange Transportation has been able to totally eliminate approximately $60,000 per year in natural gas and have seen their electricity costs drop by 50 per cent from an average of $4,400 per month to $2,200 per month. You can learn more about Lange Transportation at www.langeshow.com.
Chris Rickett (email@example.com) is Project Manager, Watershed Planning, Watershed Management Division of Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. He is also the project manager for Partners in Project Green at the TRCA.