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Richmond Curling Club gets cost relief and new lighting

Image showing the Richmond Curling Club before and after a lighting upgrade
Richmond Curling Club's recently upgraded lighting (right) provides significantly better light quality than they had before (left), and it's going to save them about $7,000 per year in energy and maintenance costs.

City of Richmond leans on BC Hydro incentives for creative way to help club

Forced to close its doors during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Richmond Curling Club suddenly had a big facility – leased from the City of Richmond – to maintain while bringing in zero revenue.

So the club went to the City looking for help. Help came in the form of the City's senior management team meeting with the club to work out a solution.

"The curling club is owned by the City, but under the lease agreement, the club owns all the maintenance operations for the building," explains Jeff Lee, manager of facility services for the City of Richmond. "Every day, the building still needs maintenance. It's aging every day, and the club needed help. That's why they reached out."

As the building's owner, it made sense for the City to start with a condition assessment of the facility. And Lee led an initiative of adding in an energy study to see where upgrades and efficiencies might be found to take some of the maintenance cost pressure off the curling club.

"We set out to see what we could do to help their bottom line," says Lee. "What kind of relief could they get now that you could continue to see on an ongoing basis? And one of the solutions was energy savings."

Lee and Martin Younis, the City of Richmond's manager of capital buildings project development, walked through the site and noticed right away that the most obvious upgrade was in lighting. Backed by the energy study, the short- and long-term benefits of a lighting upgrade promised energy and maintenance savings along with better quality lighting. But there was one big problem: no money in the club.

A creative solution, plus BC Hydro incentives, get the job done

The solution was to have the City sponsor the up-front cost of $45,000 and to recover the costs from the $12,000 BC Hydro incentive and the energy savings from the lighting upgrade. The estimated annual savings of $7,000 will be split evenly, with the curling club keeping 50% of those savings and then cutting a cheque to the City for the other 50%.

"The number we agreed upon was $3,500 per year to the Club, and $3,500 to the City," says Lee. "And that will continue up until the time when the project is paid for, approximately nine years. And when they do open their doors again, the curlers are going to see 'Wow, the lighting is improved and the club looks so much better.'"

Lee says the LED lighting should last at least a decade, so there's a good chance the club will continue to benefit from energy and maintenance cost savings for at least a year or two after they've paid back the City.

"Without the BC Hydro incentive, the payback would have been pushed to at least 13 years, and the lifespan of the lights may not have been long enough to justify the return on investment," he says.

Energy study funding is available to BC Hydro key account customers who have a BC Hydro-funded energy manager. There's also project implementation funding and product incentives (under the Business Energy Saving Incentives program) for large business customers with a key account manager. The City of Richmond makes it a habit of capitalizing on these programs for savings.

"Richmond is a leader in energy conservation and has a longstanding collaboration with BC Hydro in increasing awareness of the benefits of energy conservation," says Rick Truong, a BC Hydro key account manager who works closely with the City.

Learn more about how BC Hydro's strategic energy management offers and programs.