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CMBC uses innovative heat recovery with support from FortisBC

Innovative heat recovery

FortisBC and Coast Mountain Bus Company (CMBC) are two progressive companies committed to supporting the province’s climate action goals by reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. One way FortisBC is doing this is through its conservation and energy management programs which provide funding to customers—like CMBC—when making energy-efficiency upgrades that not only reduce those GHG emissions, but also save customers money on energy costs. FortisBC recently collaborated with CMBC for an energy-efficiency upgrade project at the company’s Vancouver Transit Centre.

At more than 2,100 square metres, the Vancouver Transit Centre operates 24 hours a day and is the largest of CMBC’s six transit centres. As well as providing bus maintenance and repairs, the centre houses a training facility, computer systems and is also a central hub for dispatching drivers. Like many large commercial spaces, it uses natural gas to heat its domestic hot water and to provide space heating.

An energy audit in 2016 revealed an opportunity to capture the exhaust heat from the building’s air exchange system and use it to support the building’s space heating requirements, thereby reducing natural gas consumption. As a result, CMBC would use less natural gas at the centre, save on energy costs and help support the bus company’s goal to reduce its GHG emissions by 80% over 2007 levels by 2050.

Called heat recovery, the innovation is more common in new construction and also office towers where waste heat, such as the heat created by computer systems, is recovered and used to help heat domestic hot water or space. But CMBC had already completed a retrofit heat recovery upgrade at their Richmond Transit Centre in 2015, so were confident it could be duplicated at their larger Vancouver Transit Centre.

It takes a champion or two to move these upgrades along

Eligible for rebates through FortisBC’s Commercial Performance Program for Existing Buildings, CMBC environmental sustainability manager Donna Bartel recommended the project and worked with stakeholders to get it approved and funded. She also had support from FortisBC key account manager Ian Mitchell.

“While it may sound simple in theory, the heat recovery upgrade project involved multiple stakeholders and required the installation of numerous energy conservation measures, which took more than two years to complete,” Mitchell says.

“I was facilitating the project, and Ian at FortisBC worked with us every step of the way,” Bartel says. “When we had construction delays or changes in scope, Ian worked with us closely and was in constant communication with us to ensure we’d still meet the eligibility requirements for the rebates.”

Enough savings to serve an entire neighbourhood of homes

CMBC received almost $255,000 in rebates from FortisBC, reducing their payback period on the investment from 4.9 years to 2.4 years. CMBC will also be eligible for an additional $63,000 rebate once the energy savings are achieved and confirmed. At this time, the natural gas savings from this project is estimated to be 13,290 gigajoules of natural gas a year; that’s enough energy to provide heat and hot water to 148 homes* for a year.

As FortisBC expands its suite of commercial energy-efficiency rebate programs to meet the growing demand for organizations and businesses to reduce GHG emissions and lower energy costs, you can be sure they’ll be assisting CMBC again in the future.

A shared commitment to reduce GHGs

Both FortisBC and CMBC are committed to supporting the province of B.C.’s climate action goals to reduce GHG emissions. In fact, FortisBC set an ambitious target to reduce their customers’ GHGs by 30% from 2007 levels by the year 2030. They call it 30BY30. FortisBC’s work with CMBC is a win-win for both organizations to achieve their respective goals and help create a cleaner tomorrow for all British Columbians.

FortisBC’s even bigger rebates

Whether you’re retrofitting or building new, a small commercial customer or a large organization like CMBC, FortisBC has rebates that can help you save energy and money when selecting high-efficiency equipment and products. Now, until Dec. 31, 2021, it has even bigger rebates** on high-efficiency HVAC, commercial boilers and kitchen equipment. It’s just one way the utility is doing its part to help their customers during COVID-19. Check out all their even bigger rebates at fortisbc.com/bigger, or contact your FortisBC account manager directly.

*Savings figures based on average size home of 2,300 to 2,600 square feet using 90 gigajoules of natural gas annually.

**Bigger rebates on select upgrades are available until Dec. 31, 2021. Bigger rebates on commercial furnaces are available until March 31, 2021. Participants must be owner, long-term leaseholder or a builder/developer. Rebate applications must be submitted within 365 days of the purchase date of products. Only available to FortisBC commercial natural gas and electricity customers and commercial municipal electricity customers of Penticton, Summerland, Grand Forks and Nelson Hydro. Additional terms and conditions apply.

This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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