2021 Efficiency in Action awards celebrate top energy-saving BC organizations

October 21, 2021


Have you ever heard of the acronym for “team”? Together everyone achieves more! And faced with the various challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic over the past two years, reviving our economy and taking action on climate change, partnership is more important than ever for finding solutions to help create a healthier future for BC.

The winners of this year’s Efficiency in Action awards certainly demonstrate how working together helps achieve big goals for sustainability, saving energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions—which supports our 30BY30 target to reduce customers’ emissions by 30 per cent by 2030.

Whether these winning organizations were building a new facility, retrofitting existing facilities or upgrading equipment to make their operations more energy efficient, they reached out to FortisBC. By making us part of their team, we were able to provide customized advice as well as rebates to make it easier to take advantage of innovative, high-efficiency energy solutions. Through their collaboration and leadership, these organizations are inspiring others to take bold steps to save energy and reduce greenhouse emissions, too.

Meet the 2021 Efficiency in Action award winners

Small Commercial: Trellis Seniors Services Ltd.

Trellis Seniors Services Ltd. is a family owned organization dedicated to providing comfortable homes for their residents. They took advantage of our rebates to invest in high-efficiency natural gas space and water heating systems and ENERGY STAR® commercial cooking equipment for their Hamilton Village Care Centre in Richmond. We’re pleased to support these upgrades, which are expected to save more than 1,600 gigajoules (GJ) of natural gas per year. They continue to partner with us to explore energy-efficient options for their new Creekstone Care Centre in North Vancouver.

Medium Commercial: School District 72 Campbell River

School District 72 Campbell River is focused on energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions throughout its 17 schools and alternate learning centre serving a total of 6,000 students. They received about $55,000 in rebates for high-efficiency equipment in 2020, including boiler upgrades at Willow Point Elementary and Phoenix Middle School, and a condensing makeup air unit at the Southgate Middle School wood shop. These upgrades are estimated to save 1,200 GJ of natural gas annually, and support the school district’s ongoing efforts to educate students about saving energy and taking care of the environment.

Start with the quick and easy wins to gain momentum and apply for rebates, such as those provided by FortisBC, so you can reinvest in future energy conservation projects.

Steve Woods, manager of operations, Campbell River School District

Large Commercial:  Concord W1 Limited Partnership

Known for developing innovative, sophisticated residential and mixed-use communities across Canada, Concord is also committed to energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, so they worked with their FortisBC key account manager and received $288,000 in rebates for installing 10 high-efficiency boilers at their newly constructed Garden Lot 2 and W1 buildings in Vancouver. These will save an estimated 7,800 GJ of natural gas annually. Their future collaborations with us include energy-efficiency projects for Concord Brentwood and Concord Metrotown.

Public Sector – Medium: Okanagan College

Okanagan College seeks to inspire its students to play a role in sustainability, including surrounding them with campus facilities built with “green” practices. Collaborating with FortisBC, their new 32,000 sq. ft. Health Sciences Centre in Kelowna qualified for incentives totalling $110,000, including improved building envelope, lighting and HVAC systems. The building’s energy performance of 30 per cent better than the baseline building code was measured through energy modelling, and the college should save about 288,000 kWh of electricity annually.

Public Sector – Municipal: City of Powell River

With a population of 13,000, the City of Powell River is dedicated to its sustainability vision and has partnered with FortisBC for many years to find ways to achieve its energy-efficiency goals. Most recently, we supported them to participate in our custom programs for upgrades to the community’s recreation complex. Following an energy study, they installed a natural gas condensing boiler upgrade, new heat exchanger and direct digital control optimization and received $163,000 in incentives. These upgrades are expected to save the city 2,400 GJ of natural gas annually.

We continually look for opportunities to install new high-efficiency equipment and by taking a collaborative approach and working with experts in the field, we were able to develop a full energy efficiency plan that is helping us secure funding for upcoming projects.

Neil Pukesh, manager of recreation, City of Powell River

Public Sector – Provincial: Providence Health Care

Amid the continuing challenges of the pandemic, Providence Health Care remains committed to discovering new solutions for reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. With the leadership of their energy management team, they implemented an innovative thermal gradient system at St. Paul’s Hospital, a technology that provides simultaneous heating and cooling to different zones of a building on demand. Providence received $740,000 in incentives for the system, which is expected to save 16,000 GJ of natural gas annually, and they’re looking to complete five more installations at various sites in 2021. Their leadership is also influencing other hospitals to implement this energy-saving technology.

With the incentives we received from FortisBC for this project, we’re able to reallocate funding into other initiatives that will further reduce our greenhouse gas emissions for years to come.

Tony Munster, executive director of projects, planning and facilities management, Providence Health Care

Public Sector – Federal: Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt

Canada’s third-largest military base and home of the Pacific fleet, CFB Esquimalt has 6,500 military and civilian employees working in over 1,500 buildings. In line with its goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, they called on us to support their energy-efficiency upgrades with over $769,000 in rebates and custom incentives for boilers and water heaters. These upgrades are expected to save CFB Esquimalt 23,000 GJ of natural gas and $224,000 in operating costs annually.

We’re ecstatic about the progress we’re making and the completion of the most recent energy efficiency upgrades that are positively contributing toward meeting our goal of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions while remaining operationally effective.

Jamie Birtwistle, RPOU (P) Section Esquimalt energy manager

Industrial: Kruger Products L.P.

Tissues were in high demand in 2020, and Kruger Products is a leading Canadian manufacturer of these products, as well as an early adopter of our industrial rebate programs since 2012. Kruger most recently participated in our custom program to complete an energy study and installation of a steam condensate recovery system within their paper machine dryer, earning them $189,000 in incentives to support the project. As a result, Kruger is expected to realize combined annual natural gas savings of 10,800 GJ.

We’ve worked with FortisBC on various energy-efficiency projects, and with this project alone we’ve lowered our natural gas use significantly and received rebates to help offset the upfront costs.

Regina Miller, senior project engineer, Kruger Products L.P.

Food Service: Caterina Restaurant Corp. (McDonald’s)

Caterina Restaurant Corp. operates 11 McDonald’s locations in the Lower Mainland. While dealing with the frontline challenges of the pandemic, they also navigated the virtual world to keep working with us to get energy-efficiency upgrades in their restaurants, such as high-efficiency natural gas commercial kitchen equipment and water heaters. These upgrades are saving about 370 GJ of natural gas a year—which is enough energy to fry 133,000 pounds of crispy golden fries.

When we look to upgrade our equipment, energy efficient models are the way to go because we see our employees producing great products that are enjoyed by our guests.

Joe Guzzo, owner, Caterina Restaurant Corp.

Innovation: Metro Vancouver Housing Corp.

Metro Vancouver Housing Corporation provides safe, affordable rental homes for more than 9,000 people on 49 sites across the region. And it was at their 420 Cordova Street multifamily site where they demonstrated impressive natural gas savings in our Gas Absorption Heat Pump Pilot Program. Their willingness to learn about this new technology and leadership in participating not only led to an impressive 35 per cent savings for domestic water heating at their site, but also contributed to successful pilot results that are leading to the launch of a gas heat pump rebate program for all FortisBC customers.

We’re impressed not only with the operational cost savings but also with the fact that there were zero operational issues with the units.

Adrian Lynch, project engineer, MSUS energy management, Metro Vancouver

Community: Osoyoos Indian Band

Realizing that many homes in their community had high energy bills, the Osoyoos Indian Band conducted a large, multi-year project to increase energy efficiency and reduce residents’ energy bills. They conducted Natural Resources Canada-certified energy evaluations to identify and prioritize retrofit opportunities for 170 homes. Upgrades such as insulation and air sealing, energy-efficient windows and doors, and high-efficiency natural gas and electric space and water heating systems were installed, and FortisBC supported the project with $399,000 in rebates. The community is estimated to save about 445,000 kWh of electricity a year with the upgrades. Better yet, participating households have reduced energy use by about 40 per cent and are saving $1,500 to $2,500 per year on energy bills.

Are you a future award winner?

Our key account managers and technical advisors are here to help commercial and industrial customers with solutions to their energy needs, every step of the way. Find out how to make them part of the team for your energy-efficiency upgrades.

More about