City hopes to boost energy savings

The City of Cranbrook is looking to further its efficiencies when it comes to energy use in its many structures and properties.

The city is looking to further its efficiencies when it comes to energy use in its many structures and properties.

At the Monday, Oct. 6 council meeting, CAO Wayne Staudt gave a rundown of some of the projects that the energy manager is working on to bring about those goals.

Last year, the city entered into an agreement with BC Hydro to hire an energy manager and Jay Armstrong was hired for the role.

The position is partially funded by BC Hydro and partially by the city.

The first project that was identified with significant energy saving potential was changing the street lights to LED lights.

CAO Wayne Staudt said the city had planned to put in the lights this year, but they ran into a snag with the province as it was identifying vendors for the product until recently, so the project will likely wait until spring 2015.

“We have received some financial grant from BC Hydro of about $40,000 for that. We’ll be pursuing more grants. We’re phasing that project in over three years and we’re just going to do. We might do two phases now in 2015.”

One of the first things they had Armstrong as energy manager do was a complete evaluation of the new fire hall to see if there was any energy saving potential at that location.

“That was a really nice report that Jay generated there,” Staudt said. “There are some opportunities there, but given that it’s a new facility, we’re just going to look at those opportunities to see the ones that have a real strong payback — anything that has a payback say in the next year or two we probably will be bringing forth in the 2015 budget for council to consider.”

Armstrong finished the fire hall upgrades and has now moved to Western Financial Place. Staudt said that’s where the bulk of the city’s energy use comes from.

Annual energy costs for hydro and natural gas are about $1.5 million a year.

“You can see at the back there that 26 per cent of our energy costs are at Western Financial Place,” Staudt said, indicating an attachment in the administration update.

The next largest is the waste water project at the spray irrigation, amounting to 19 per cent of energy costs. Armstrong will move onto after the current project.

Staudt said city administration wanted to give council an update on the city’s current energy department and would do another early next year when the new council is sitting.

Armstrong attended the 109th International District Energy Conference.

In the report, Armstrong noted that on a small scale, neighbouring buildings can be tied into a common heating/cooling plant to gain efficiencies. On a large scale, entire corridors could be set up made capable for private and public connection to efficient systems with flexible options for renewable energy.

He said it also adds motivation to rejuvenate aging civil infrastructure.