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In Victoria, one woman's curiosity cuts bill by $1,500 a year

Image of Colwood Fire Rescue
Colwood Fire Rescue replaced more than 60 halogen light bulbs and a dozen T12 fluorescent lamps with LEDs, saving the firehall about $1,500 a year in energy costs.

She scrutinized the power bill and it paid off

Joanne Topping isn't an energy manager. On paper, she's the emergency services support coordinator at Colwood Fire Rescue. But because of her eye for detail and willingness to ask tough questions about the firehall's power bill, she managed to save her employer $1,500 a year.

What sounded the alarm for Topping, exactly? A sky-high power bill and outrageously high T12 lamp replacement costs.

As a homeowner, Topping was familiar with BC Hydro's programs and home renovation rebates, but she didn't know which options existed for municipalities. After a little bit of digging online, she realized that a number of free services were at the firehall's disposal. Later that week, the stars aligned when she got a call from by BC Hydro on Vancouver Island.

After a single phone call with BC Hydro, Topping was convinced she could make a sizable dent in the firehall's BC Hydro bill.

BC Hydro offers significant support; helps navigate the nitty gritty details

Like a lot of folks, Topping already had a very full plate. Committed but short on time, she leaned on BC Hydro to get the project going.

She organized a walkthrough of the firehall, which allowed BC Hydro to to determine areas of opportunity and to refer a quality contractor for the job. With all the investigative work done up front, including a detailed review of the firehall's BC Hydro bills, Topping didn't have to schedule another walkthrough or audit.

The contractor submitted a project proposal. Because she planned on replacing old lighting technology with newer, more energy-efficient bulbs and lamps, the firehall's application qualified for an incentive. According to the contractor, Topping could expect to recoup the investment for the new lights in less than three years.

A couple of weeks later, Colwood Fire Rescue replaced more than 60 halogen light bulbs and a dozen T12 fluorescent lamps with LEDs. Fire chief Kerry Smith, who'd worked under heat-producing halogens for years, was thrilled with the temperature reduction in his office and the 16,640 kWh conserved.

Saving lives and a substantial amount of energy, Colwood Fire Rescue is certainly serving its community with pride.