City looking at reducing energy use with new energy manager

The City of Cranbrook has created a new position of energy manager and hired Jay Armstrong for the role.

The City of Cranbrook is on a quest to find energy efficiencies in its operation and so has created a new position of energy manager and hired Jay Armstrong for the role.

Jay Armstrong, a local, has returned to the Kootenays to take up the role, after spending time working in various positions in Vancouver and Victoria over the past few years. He’s back now working as energy manager for the city.

The new position reports directly to the Chief Administrative Officer. The energy manager is tasked with finding and reducing energy waste.

Armstrong has been on the job for a number of weeks now, looking for inefficiencies.

Chris Zettel, corporate communications officer for the city, said Armstrong is responsible for finding ways to manage and reduce the city’s energy use.

“So from gas, to propane in Public Works, to hydro, we’re trying to find ways to reduce our overall energy use,” Zettel said. “He’ll track our overall consumption costs. It’s to try to improve our energy efficiency here and overall greenhouse gas emissions.”

City structures include not just city hall, but things like the Cranbrook Public Library, public works, the ice rinks and the swimming pool.

“We partnered with B.C. Hydro on their energy management program and they are covering up to 50 per cent of the cost of benefits and the salary of the position,” Zettel said. “So it’s a joint position.”

Armstrong works for the city, but there are some objectives and goals that he needs to reach with B.C. Hydro.

“Now if we could meet those goals we could see an increase in the amount of funding that B.C. Hydro will provide us for that position, up to 75 per cent. Right now it’s a 50/50 split,” Zettel said.

Right now, Armstrong is looking at what has been done in the past at the city and figuring out the internal processes.

“Hopefully in the next year or so he’ll be able to come up with some recommendations and help us be more efficient,” Zettel said.

Armstrong is working a couple days a week and is under contract until August 2015.

“At that point we’ll do a reassessment and look at extending his position even further,” Zettel said.