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Air Canada's energy management plans are flying high

Air Canada's Juergen Goennemann
As part of our strategic energy management cohort program, Air Canada uncovered many energy-saving opportunities at their YVR facility.

A far-reaching environmental approach

Air Canada is deeply committed to energy efficiency. Their Leave Less and Do More program has set an ambitious net-zero greenhouse gas emissions goal from all global operations by 2050. Their plans cover five key areas:

  • Continuous improvement of environmental performance
  • Continuous improvement of environmental management system
  • Increased engagement/partnership
  • Reduction of waste and single-use plastics
  • Work towards 2030 Climate Action Plan targets

"Air Canada takes great pride in being a global airline. With that, however, comes global responsibilities and people rightly look to us to help solve the challenges facing our planet," says Air Canada CEO, Mike Rousseau. "By taking action today, Air Canada is doing its part for a better tomorrow."

Start with small projects that make a difference

Air Canada participated in our original cohort as part of our strategic energy management cohort program, hosted by Cascade Energy.

After completing the cohort in 2019, the airline joined the cohort alumni, which allows customers to continue the momentum from the original program with further access to energy experts, along with idea-sharing with other industry peers.

Participating in the cohort alumni – also hosted by Cascade – was Juergen Goennemann, Air Canada's regional manager for corporate real estate in Western Canada. Located at the airline's huge Asia-Pacific hub at YVR, he's led many energy efficiency projects for Air Canada in Montreal and Vancouver.

"At the beginning of the cohort, we successfully applied for a BC Hydro custom project incentive to switch to LED lighting. And that project, which was simple really, created savings of around 3.7 million kWh. So we did an energy study with BC Hydro to see what could we achieve if we looked for bigger opportunities with the building envelope."

This energy study led to 51 different projects, which Juergen's team completed with Cascade, some of them as small as adjusting the speed of the ventilation system: "I had no capital at the time, but we achieved a lot," recalls Juergen. "Cascade had a platform where we could see the impact these measures were having on our usage every month and report them back to our headquarters in Montreal."

Air Canada is enrolled once again in the current cohort alumni, this time hosted by CLEAResult, who were able to help Juergen act on the opportunities the studies were highlighting. "CLEAResult helped us build an energy business case to attract investment from Montreal. We were able to demonstrate the savings and the ROI for the next three to four years. It was useful to be able to show our finance people how kilowatt hour savings translate into dollar savings."

Building a strategic energy management plan

Juergen found that BC Hydro's cohort program – and the cohort alumni – is a great way to learn alongside others: "You get to connect with other managers who have the same goals so you can benchmark each other. Also, you can all learn from each other's successes – and mistakes," smiles Juergen. "You also get to learn a lot about new technologies, like heat pumps, for example. This was especially useful as we're currently in the process of upgrading our HVAC system, so I had a lot of useful information to share with our project teams."

Working with a BC Hydro Key Account Manager (KAM) during the cohort alumni program, Juergen and CLEAResult were able to create an opportunity register – a list of potential projects to help prioritize next steps to achieve larger, long-term savings and energy management goals using a range of criteria:

  • Electricity savings estimate (in kWh/yr)
  • Project cost type (e.g., no cost, low cost or capital expenditure)
  • Savings impact (ranked from 1-5)
  • Effort to implement (ranked from 1-5)
  • Fuel type (electric, gas or hybrid)

Working alongside a BC Hydro Key Account Manager (KAM) in the cohort alumni program, Air Canada’s project team, supported by director, John Destounis, developed an opportunity register. This list of potential projects helps prioritize next steps to achieve larger, long-term savings and energy management goals using a range of criteria, and it includes projects like:

  • Adding more electric vehicle (EV) charging stations
  • Roof replacement for all Air Canada buildings at YVR beginning with the Operation Centre and Cargo Building
  • Installation of radiant heating in Hangar Bay 1, 2 and 3 plus Operation Centre
  • New double-glazed windows and regular checking/sealing gaps in walls and doors

"The cohort has been great," reflects Juergen. "With the other members, our consultants, the energy studies and of course, BC Hydro. You learn things from everywhere and bring them together to create these projects. In the beginning it was the low hanging fruit that didn't require much expenditure. Now we're replacing roofs and upgrading the heating system in our hangars, moving from 50 year old boilers to high efficiency heat pumps."

Want to take your learning to the next level?

To find out more about our strategic energy management cohort program, contact your Key Account Manager or Regional Energy Manager, or call 604 522 4713 in the Lower Mainland or 1 866 522 4713 elsewhere in B.C.