Stories & Features

Meet our first CleanBC Energy Coach

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As the first CleanBC Energy Coach, Daniel Coffey helps to facilitate and implement Custom-Lite Program incentives.

CleanBC's new energy coach can help you reduce emissions

CleanBC was launched in December 2018 by the Provincial Government to lead B.C. towards a more prosperous, balanced, and sustainable future. Incentives, rebates and comprehensive information are focused around five key themes:

  1. Better buildings: Improving where we live and work.
  2. Reducing pollution from industry: Making B.C. industries the cleanest in the world, supporting jobs, efficiency, and cleaner energy
  3. Cleaner transportation: Making electric vehicles more affordable, investing in charging stations, and shifting to renewable fuels
  4. Reducing emissions from waste: Diverting waste from landfills and reducing polluting emissions
  5. Clean energy jobs: Making B.C. cleaner will create jobs that support families and sustain our communities

That last theme is critical to enabling the first four which is why we're very excited to introduce you to Daniel Coffey, CleanBC's Small Building Better Buildings Energy Coach. This new role is similar to a Regional Energy Manager, but is more deeply rooted in efficient HVAC systems.

With a Degree in Energy and a Masters in Sustainable Engineering, Daniel has broad experience both as an engineer and advisor here in B.C., designing efficient HVAC and plumbing systems. Before that, he worked in Ireland, helping clients including hotels and large breweries to optimize their energy usage.

Having seen the many transformative benefits of switching from gas to electric heating and cooling, Daniel is a keen heat pump advocate: "I find most people are often unaware of what heat pumps are and what they do, so I enjoy helping businesses to understand the big savings they can enjoy. For instance, when a heat pump takes in 1 kW of heat, it can produce up to 3 kW of heating and cooling."

How Daniel can help your business make a difference

As CleanBC's Small Building Energy Coach, Daniel helps to facilitate and implement CleanBC's Custom-Lite Program incentives. Custom-Lite is aimed at building owners and operators who want to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in their existing commercial buildings, leading to at least 500, but less than 1,200 tC02e (tons of carbon emissions) of lifetime savings. There's also a Custom Program for large projects with planned reductions greater than 1,200 tC02e.

With Custom-Lite, Daniel works with customers to secure incentives covering 50% of the cost of an Energy Study up to a maximum of $2000. Capital Incentives are based on an overall rate of $40/tC02e of lifetime GHG savings, along with a rooftop heat pump unit rate of $60/tC02e.

Custom-Lite supports up to $48,000 per project and up to $500,000 per customer with multiple projects across different locations.

To be eligible for Custom-Lite, projects must be for a commercial, institutional, or a multi-unit residential building, and be able to demonstrate benefits including:

  • A net decrease in greenhouse gas emissions
  • Energy impacts that are measurable and verifiable
  • Energy impacts that can be estimated using standard engineering calculations
  • The project must also use a technology that is not covered by other BC Hydro and FortisBC incentives

Daniel helps small- and medium-sized businesses navigate the entire process: "Smaller customers without Key Account Managers don't have anybody reviewing their bills, looking for reduction opportunities. That's what Custom-Lite is all about. I help them see where savings might be possible and then coach them to success."

So how do you know if you need Daniel's help? "The most obvious scenario is if customers have heating or cooling equipment that's coming to the end of its life," he says. "The first thing I'll recommend is doing an energy study to see which bracket they fall into. If it fits Custom-Lite, then I'll help them to complete and submit their application."

Heat pumps are the most common way to make big GHG reductions and save money, but what does Daniel recommend if that doesn't apply to your business? "The obvious one is LED lighting. Switching out your bulbs is quick and easy," he says. "Computers also offer big instant savings – just turn them off at the end of the day, along with monitors, printers, and routers. And whatever heating and cooling system you have, keep it running at a lower temperature out of office hours. It's actually a lot more efficient than turning it all off every night and giving it so much work to do the next morning."

Ready to start future-proofing your energy usage?

If you think your business needs advice, or you have a project that sounds eligible, you can reach Daniel at daniel.coffey@bchydro.com or via smallbuildings@betterbuildingsbc.ca. Want to know more about heat pumps and CleanBC? Take a look at this recent story.