Excellence Awards recognize big energy savers in business sector

Image of Alasdair Mackinnon, Surrey School District
Alasdair MacKinnon, the director of energy management and sustainability for the Surrey School District, is among the 2014 winners of the Power Smart Excellence Awards. Surrey won the Conservation Awareness and Engagement Award for embedding energy efficiency throughout the school district, from the facilities and IT departments to the school board office and classrooms.

From mines to retailers and health authorities, B.C.'s Power Smart stars recognized

The Fraser Health Authority has set a goal of saving nearly $400,000 in its fiscal 2015 through energy savings measures.

In only two years, Teck Mining saved 16 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity. The company expects sustainability efforts will save 62 GWh in 2014-2015.

The Overwaitea Food Group reduced its annual carbon footprint by 2,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide by upgrading the refrigerant system in five stores.

Surrey schools have saved more electricity than any other school district in British Columbia.

The four organizations are recipients of 2014 Power Smart Excellence Awards, which were handed out on Thursday, October 16 at a ceremony and reception held at the SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts in Vancouver's iconic Woodward's building.

The biannual awards recognize business customers that demonstrate energy efficiency as well as retail and trade partners that help drive efficiency programs.

Business savings help BC Hydro lean on conservation to meet demand growth

Collectively, British Columbians save enough electricity each year to power 440,000 homes. Conservation of electricity is critical to BC Hydro meeting future demand, which is projected to grow by as much as 40 per cent over the next 20 years.

As much as 78 per cent of the energy demand anticipated in the future will be met through conservation. And businesses are key to the province's sustainability efforts.

The number of business customers is a fraction of BC Hydro's total customer base, but commercial and industrial users account for nearly two-thirds of the total electricity used, and two-thirds of the energy saved in the last five years as a result of incentives, programs, and rate structures.

Customer type Number of customers Amount of electricity used (GWh) Cumulative savings since fiscal 2008 (per year)
Residential 1,700,000 17,965 1,590
Commercial 200,000 18,501 1,700
Industrial 177 13,994 1,510

Construction and special project winners

Construction projects provide opportunities for energy efficient technologies to be part of a business from the start.

Nanaimo Regional Hospital, also a Power Smart Excellence Award winner, was constructed with efficiency in mind. Sensor-controlled lighting and an efficient building envelope are only two elements that have helped the hospital to consume less energy in its first year of operation than was predicted.

Meanwhile, the Nechako Lumber plant, a division of Sinclar Group Forest Products, is reducing the amount of electricity it draws from BC Hydro by up to 30 per cent using waste wood to generate power.

Retail partners help residential consumers save energy, too

In support of BC Hydro's Appliance Rebate Program, Samsung Electronics Canada accounts for more than 6,000 appliance rebate applications in the past two years. And Samsung doubled the rebates to consumers.

And London Drugs and Home Depot Canada each raise awareness of the importance of saving energy, while making efficiency products readily available on shelves.

In the month of October, consumers can save with special pricing and rebates from manufacturers, retailers, and even municipalities, on products ranging from major appliances such as refrigerators and washers and dryers, to LED lighting and ENERGY STARĀ® flatscreen televisions.