Stories & Features

New Plant Design program a pivotal part of Garaventa Canada's new efficient factory

The new space is more than double the size of the facility it replaced, but the savings are huge, thanks to an early feasibility study. Show caption
High-efficiency LED luminaires are used throughout the space, including in high-bay applications. Show caption
The best, most affordable light is natural light. In the new space, by design natural light is plentiful in offices, meeting rooms and other common areas. Show caption
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Emphasis on efficiency started well ahead of construction of building

By the winter of 2015, Mark Townsend, knew he had a good problem on his hands. His business, Garaventa (Canada) Ltd. had outgrown its factory. "Bursting at the seams is a good way to describe it," says Townsend. "We were shuffling material between several different buildings for manufacturing, shipping and more, and the system was becoming increasingly inefficient. I knew we had to streamline things."

Garaventa Lift has been manufacturing in B.C. since 1974 when it built the Grouse Mountain Skyride. The company, which designs and manufactures lifts, elevators and accessibility products, is a major player in the accessibility industry with more than 350 employees across North America, 200 of which work at the company's newly completed factory in Surrey, B.C.

Feasibility study estimates electricity savings of more than $44,600 annually

"We broke ground in the November 2016 and moved into our new factory one year later," says Townsend, who with support from BC Hydro's New Plant Design program, set out to double the company's production capacity while keeping electricity costs in check.

"Working with Dan Dunwoodie of D Squared Projects was the best decision I made when we decided to build," he says. It was Dunwoodie, a local construction project management professional, who in the early stages of planning the new factory suggested Garaventa Canada take part in BC Hydro's New Plant Design program. "At first, we were only looking for lighting design support from BC Hydro," says Townsend, "but we realized quickly that the program gave us access to a wide range of efficiency experts."

Townsend and Dunwoodie worked closely with BC Hydro in the design of the new factory, which benefitted from an energy-efficiency feasibility study during the design phase. The study estimates electricity savings of more than 557,500 kilowatt-hours per year at the new factory – for $44,600* in annual savings.

Intuitive lighting design, bright workspaces, and thermal comfort

At 115,000 square feet, Garaventa Canada's new factory is more than double the size of its old location. By design, natural light is plentiful in offices, meeting rooms and other common areas. Daylighting photocell sensors automatically adjust artificial lighting levels when natural light is available, and automated indoor lighting controls, such as occupancy sensors, maximize energy savings by ensuring lights are turned off when a space is unoccupied.

The factory's lighting systems use high-efficiency LED luminaires in high bay, office and exterior applications, which dramatically reduces power consumption compared with fluorescent luminaire technology. Knowing the high cost of compressed air, Townsend also invested in a new variable speed air compressor before moving to the new factory, which, he says, "is so quiet, it's surprising."

"I wanted to make a statement with this move," says Townsend, "to shake-up our company culture, to modernize, and inspire our employees. BC Hydro's financial and professional services support helped get us to our goal even faster."

* Based on a typical rate savings of $0.08/kWh. Rate is an example only and does not factor in taxes or net present value (NPV).