A city staff report released last week says the Corporation is well on its way to achieving a 20% reduction in energy intensity by the year 2020. The energy savings apply to all city buildings, arenas, recreation centres and garages, and also apply to fuel consumed by the city’s fleet of vehicles. Since the energy savings program was instituted the City has reduced its:
• Electrical consumption (kWh) by 6% vs 2005 baseline;
• Natural Gas consumption (m3) by 11% vs 2005 baseline;
• Combined energy consumption (ekWh) by 8% vs 2005 baseline.
The savings were achieved in three ways—conservations measures, renegotiating the way the city pays for electricity and through closer mentoring of billing and metering errors. Accounting for a saving of $400,000 annually in energy costs was the replacement of the 50-year old Woodward Avenue high lift pumping station. In addition the project qualified for a $2.3 Million incentive payment from Horizon energy which is awarded for the installation of energy saving devices and systems. The project garnered the city the Project of the Year award in 2011 by Pumping & Systems Magazine . A key feature of the project is a control display that allows operators to see the cost of the energy they are using. Another Woodward Wastewater project is the development of a 1.6Megawatt electricity co-generation plant fuelled by the methane given off by sewage sludge. In past the methane was simply burned off into the atmosphere. The project was recognized with an innovation award by the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment in 2008. The city hopes to further increase the amount of methane generated at the plant by 50%. This can then be sold to a methane purifier who will turn it into natural gas to offset natural gas used in city buses, for instance.
When the city was faced with the cost of replacing 14 air conditioning units for buildings in the downtown core It was decided that a district cooling system would be the best solution, reducing the number of units needed, reducing environmental or green house gas (GHG) emissions by 556 metric tons of CO2 annually, while generating significant energy savings. Again the prokject qualified for an incentive grant from Horizon Utilities of over $600,000.00.
The cost of lighting city buildings was reduced with retrofits at 11 arenas, 15 libraries including the Central Library, 30 fire stations. The energy retrofit of City Hall resulted in the prestigious National BOMA TOBY Award from the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA). In all, the city report says $26Million has been saved in energy costs since the program started in 2006.