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BC Hydro named one of Canada's greenest employers

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BC Hydro's IT department and 'Green Teams' mobilize for energy savings

With electricity conservation so high on the agenda, it makes sense that BC Hydro is ranked as one of Canada's greenest employers in 2012. But it has taken an employee "green teams" initiative to get the utility on the list for the first time.

BC Hydro employee action is formally supported through the Lead by Example program's Green Team network. And outstanding employee conservation leadership is recognized through the Employee Conservation Leadership Awards.

"Over 90 per cent of our employees support BC Hydro making conservation a high priority, and they are demonstrating this support by reducing waste, arranging for office farmers markets, and embedding energy efficiencies into all practices," said Heather Scholefield, culture change manager for Lead by Example. "Over 400 employees are actively involved in the Green Team network who are leading exciting campaigns that inspire all employees in creating a culture of conservation throughout the organization."

Launched in 2007, the Canada's Greenest Employers competition is organized by the editors of the Canada's Top 100 Employers project. Employers who make the list have developed exceptional earth-friendly initiatives, and are attracting people to their organizations because of their environmental leadership.

The Top 100 Employers project specifically noted these greening initiatives by BC Hydro:

  • 300 Green Team members volunteer at locations across the province;
  • Employee conservation efforts have helped reduce energy use significantly without any additional spending;
  • Employee efforts have included ensuring lights, monitors and electrical devices were turned off when not in use, thermostats were lowered in generating stations, stairs were used rather than elevators, revolving doors were installed instead of swing doors, garage doors were closed, unnecessary appliances were removed and all new appliances are energy efficient.
  • BC Hydro's IT services has significantly reduced energy use through technological changes, such as server virtualization and software that puts all computers into deep sleep mode after a period of inactivity.
  • Using "Green Bucks" and chocolate incentives, employee and Green Team members reward and recognize their fellow employees for shutting down their computers at night.
  • BC Hydro's Port Alberni district office is designed to use one third the energy of an average BC Hydro building through passive design, a geothermal exchange system for heating and cooling, insulated roofs and walls, daylight harvesting, solar hot water panels and a green roof
  • An ongoing program replaces BC Hydro fleet vehicles with more efficient models as new technology becomes available. The fleet now features more than 130 hybrid vehicles, including two heavy duty aerial line trucks.

BC Hydro's carbon neutral strategy

BC Hydro supports the Province of B.C.'s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by becoming part of a carbon neutral public service.

BC Hydro, along with all other B.C. public-sector organizations, became carbon neutral in 2010 for vehicle fleet emissions, building heating, cooling and lighting, and paper usage.

To achieve this goal, BC Hydro focuses on pursuing emission reductions first, through greening the vehicle fleet, increasing energy efficiency in buildings and empowering employees to be conservation champions.

For the remaining emissions, BC Hydro purchases high-quality offsets from the Pacific Carbon Trust to bring operations to "net zero" or carbon neutral.