Vancouver Airport Authority

A whopping $5 million in savings since 1999

“An airport is extremely energy consumptive.The people movers, the baggage conveyor belts, the flight information displays, the lighting that you have to have inside and out – it all adds up extremely fast.” 

- Toni Frisby, Manager of Environment for Vancouver Airport Authority

The Vancouver International Airport (YVR) is the second busiest airport in Canada. In 2008, a record 17.9 million travelers passed through its doors, while close to 300,000 planes taxied along its runways.

All those people, all that baggage!

The Airport Authority, which operates the airport under a long-term lease with the Government of Canada, was one of the first large organizations in B.C. to embark on a comprehensive energy management program. And since 1999, that program has resulted in a remarkable 136 gigawatt hours in energy savings, which translates to about $5 million off the airport’s energy bills.

About half of those energy savings – or around $2.5 million worth – is the direct result of BC Hydro Power Smart projects.

YVR takes off with Power Smart

“We’ve done many projects with BC Hydro,” says the Airport Authority’s Energy Manager, Artur Kruszewski. “The financial incentives offered through Power Smart made these projects very attractive and allowed us to implement measures with longer payback times.”

YVR’s most recent Power Smart project – completed in April 2009 – involved over 1,100 metal halide light fixtures in various locations around the airport. The Airport Authority removed 300 unnecessary lights and replaced the others with energy-efficient T5 or T8 fluorescents. Total energy savings from just this one project: 2.1 gigawatt hours. Total incentive from BC Hydro to help cover the retrofit’s initial costs: $315,456.

Other Power Smart projects over the past few years have included:

  • Installation of the largest solar-powered hot water heating system in British Columbia on the roof of the domestic terminal building;
  • Replacement of halogen taxiway lights with LED lighting - the first North American airport to make that change;
  • Addition of timers, motion detectors and CO2 sensors on lighting, heating and ventilation systems to ensure the systems power down or turn off when they’re not needed.

“We’ve saved three times as much as we thought we would just by controlling the heat on YVR passenger loading bridges,” says Artur. “The heaters used to be on full blast all the time in the winter, even when the bridges weren’t in use. Now we set them to keep the bridges just above 4 or 5 degrees so things don’t freeze, and then when the sensors detect motion, they increase the heat to a comfortable level.”

Artur’s position as the Airport Authority’s full-time Energy Manager was also initially the result of a Power Smart program. He’d always had a role in energy management within the Airport Authority’s maintenance department, but with BC Hydro’s help in paying 50% of his salary starting in April 2008, he was able to devote all his time to planning and managing energy-saving projects for more than a year. Now, the Authority plans to keep him focused on energy management.

What the future holds

“We became a frontrunner with BC Hydro’s Power Smart Program early on,” says Toni Frisby, “when we were named the first ‘Power Smart Certified’ customer in 2002. And we’ve made great cumulative gains, but that was mostly the low-hanging fruit. Our energy management committee, which meets every month and includes members from almost all departments, is now looking at the bigger, higher fruit to see what else we can do to save even more energy.”

Power Smart projects the Airport Authority is considering for the future include:

  • Changing the metal halide lights in the terminals to CFLs, and
  • Replacing halogen lights in the art display boxes – as well as the T8 fluorescents in the directional signs – with even more energy-efficient LEDs.

“Energy efficiency makes us more efficient,” says Toni. “We don’t have time to go out and replace burned out fixtures, especially on our runways where airplanes are arriving all the time. The lower maintenance that comes with energy-efficient lighting is great for us.”

Call now

To sign up for a Power Smart program or to increase your current Power Smart activities:

  • Contact your BC Hydro Key Account Manager
  • Call 604 453-6400 in the Lower Mainland or 1 866 453-6400 elsewhere in B.C.