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- Waste not, want not: UBC to charm clean power out of leftover wood
- National Survey of Commercial and Institutional Energy Use underway
- Energy efficiency in commercial buildings on energy ministers’ radar
- New strategy for greening Government of Canada buildings
- Translating energy efficiency investments into real property values
- Calendar of events
- Let us know what you think
Waste not, want not: UBC to charm clean power out of leftover wood
The University of British Columbia (UBC) is installing a pioneering biomass-fuelled combined heat and power (CHP) system at its Vancouver campus.
The biomass gasification system will convert 25 000 tonnes (t) of wood residuals into clean synthetic gas annually. The locally sourced waste wood will come from landfill diversion, municipal and commercial pruning, land clearing, clean construction sites, sawmills and wood manufacturers.
The “syngas” will power an internal combustion engine to produce 2 megawatts (MW) of clean electricity – enough to replace up to 6 percent of the average energy demand on campus. Waste heat recovered from the engine will produce 9000 pounds/hour of low-pressure steam for heating systems. Overall, the CHP system will reduce the university’s natural gas consumption by up to 12 percent and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 4000 t per year.
The UBC Bioenergy Research and Demonstration Project represents a partnership with Nexterra Systems Corp. and GE Power & Water’s gas engine division. The project will provide clean, renewable heat and electricity for the Vancouver campus, showcase and refine small-scale biomass heat and power use, and develop knowledge and standards on bioenergy systems. The system will provide faculty and students with research and learning opportunities.
UBC is also collaborating with FPInnovations to house the CHP system in a new building constructed using cross-laminated timber (CLT). CLT is a new building material made of solid wood that can be used as a low carbon, renewable alternative to steel frame construction. This building will be one of the first CLT buildings in North America and will demonstrate its market potential for the forest industry. (FPInnovations is a national research and development [R&D] organization for the Canadian forest sector that is supported by both industry and governments.)
The project received funding from the university, NRCan’s Clean Energy Fund, the Province of British Columbia, BC Bioenergy Network, Sustainable Development Technology Canada, and FPInnovations.
For more information consult Nexterra’s Q & A document.
National Survey of Commercial and Institutional Energy Use underway
A new national survey of commercial and institutional energy use is underway, from November 2010 to March 2011. Statistics Canada is conducting the survey on behalf of NRCan and Environment Canada.
The survey will be done by in-person interviews across Canada. This approach aims to capture the richest information possible in a statistically sound and cost-effective manner. So, if someone calls you to participate in the survey – don’t hang up! Be prepared.
Survey or no, get in the data habit!
Gathering, analysing and sharing energy-use data is a smart practice – both from the perspective of individual enterprises and stakeholder associations such as sector organizations, utilities and government bodies. Better knowledge of energy use in the sector is linked to better energy management, more effective programs and improved economic and environmental security.
In the past, NRCan has used two separate energy-use surveys: the Commercial and Institutional Consumption of Energy Survey (CICES) looked at the energy consumption of business and institutional establishments and the Commercial and Institutional Building Energy Use Survey (CIBEUS) studied energy use by different building types.
The new unified Survey of Commercial and Institutional Energy Use (SCIEU) will cover both establishments in this sector and the buildings they occupy. The intention is to make the process easier for respondents and to provide broader, more meaningful data. Respondents are selected from a set list of businesses and institutions that occupy any of 10 building types as categorized by North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes.
The results of the SCIEU survey are expected in 2011.
Energy efficiency in commercial buildings on energy ministers’ radar
Promoting energy efficiency projects in the commercial buildings sector was one of the priorities that emerged from the 2010 Annual Energy and Mines Ministers’ Conference in Montréal.
Areas identified for government collaboration included publishing an updated Model National Energy Code for Buildings in 2011 and committing to a cycle of further improvement; strengthening the capacity of the commercial buildings sector to finance energy efficiency projects; enhancing existing programs; and supporting emerging technologies.
First row, from left to right
The Honourable Ron Liepert, Minister of Energy, Alberta – The Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of Natural Resources, Canada – The Honourable Nathalie Normandeau, Minister of Natural Resources and Wildlife, Quebec – The Honourable Serge Simard, Minister for Natural Resources and Wildlife, Quebec – The Honourable Kathy Dunderdale, Minister of Natural Resources, Newfoundland and Labrador
Second row, from left to right
The Honourable Lorne Kusugak, Minister of Energy, Nunavut – The Honourable Bill Bennett, Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, British Columbia – The Honourable Peter Taptuna, Minister Responsible for Mines, Nunavut – The Honourable Patrick Rouble, Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources, Yukon – The Honourable Dave Chomiak, Minister of Innovation, Energy and Mines, Manitoba – The Honourable Robert McLeod, Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment, Northwest-Territories
“The Government of Canada is working with the provinces and territories to take action to advance clean energy solutions as part of our goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and establish new innovative economic opportunities for Canadians,” said the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of Natural Resources. “Canada’s energy ministers are working together to encourage clean energy innovation and to help create high-quality jobs for Canadians.”
Other priorities discussed included the promotion of smart electricity grids and cleaner transportation technologies and fuels.
Read the full news release.
New strategy for greening Government of Canada buildings
The new Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS) from Environment Canada sets out clear goals and targets to minimize the environmental footprint of Government of Canada operations, including greener buildings.
Because the federal government owns or leases more than 40 000 buildings across the country, this is an important part of its commitment. The national target is to reduce GHG emissions by 17 percent from the 2005 levels by 2020.
The FSDS establishes a process of continuous assessment, reporting and improvement that will lessen the environmental impact of federal buildings.
The section “Goal 8: Greening Government Operations” identifies the specific targets, milestones, sustainable development principles and implementation strategies that departments will follow to maintain, upgrade, buy, build, lease and report on facilities. Departmental sustainable development strategies will include global best practices and integrate life-cycle costing, promote sustainable construction materials, factor in GHG emissions and establish benchmarks for water, construction, renovation and demolition waste management.
Best practices recommended to reduce energy consumption and GHG emissions in buildings include the use of NRCan’s Federal Buildings Initiative (FBI). The FBI is a voluntary program that enables federal organizations to implement energy efficiency retrofit projects through third-party energy performance contracts without necessarily using their own capital funds. Other practices recommended include energy audits and recommissioning, retrofits and upgrades, renewable sources of energy, less GHG-intensive heating, cooling, office technologies and equipment, awareness campaigns to inform and influence employees, and medium- and long-term SMART (specific, measurable, agreed upon, realistic and time-based) targets.
The environmental certification required for federal buildings is changing. Currently, new federal buildings must achieve Gold level in the Green Building Rating SystemTM of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program of the Canada Green Building Council. The requirements change in April 2012 for existing and new federal buildings, new and renewal leases, fit-ups, retrofits and major renovation projects larger than 1000 square metres. They will require environmental certification from programs such as the LEED program, the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) BESt or Green Globes Design.
Read the press release from Environment Canada.
Translating energy efficiency investments into real property values
Do energy efficiency improvements affect property values – and how? Good question – and one that is getting more and more attention.
Investing resources in energy efficiency, especially capital costs, typically raises concerns about the return on that investment. The return can be looked at from many perspectives, such as actual energy use, energy costs, air quality and occupant well-being, community image and corporate social responsibility. And, in a chicken-egg conundrum, property valuation influences lenders’ decisions for loans related to energy efficiency.
So, another aspect is now being considered: real property value. There are no widely accepted standards or metrics – nationally or internationally – around this issue but the groundwork is being laid in several countries, including Canada, and through international networks, including the following:
The Green Property Alliance in the United Kingdom (UK) has recently published Establishing the Ground Rules for Property: Industry-wide Sustainability Metrics. This 2010 report, from a multistakeholder working group, is an examination with recommendations for a national consensus on performance indicators for buildings’ sustainability.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), a recognized UK-based international organization, is also addressing the complexity of translating energy efficiency and sustainability improvements into real property valuations. Its recent report Sustainability and Commercial Property Valuation (available only to RICS members) identifies several sustainability characteristics: former and current land use; sustainability of building materials; efficiency of space and resources; water conservation and waste management practices; accessibility by car, transit or bicycle; use of renewable energy; adaptability for different occupants or uses; and contributions to occupant health and well-being. Refer to the presentation Sustainability & Property Value in the RICS Climate Change series.
The Green Building Financing Consortium (GBFC), a United States (US) research and education enterprise, published Value Beyond Cost Savings: How to Underwrite Sustainable Properties in 2010. The report states, “The failure by property investors to appropriately incorporate revenue and risk considerations into sustainable investment decisions has led to underinvestment in sustainability.”
The U.S. Appraisal Institute offers a classroom seminar called An Introduction to Valuing Commercial Green Buildings. The course description says: “Get the latest information on a market projected to reach $60 billion by 2010 … [S]tudents will explore cost-benefit analysis, analyze the relevance of green features in the market, evaluate construction costs, and become familiar with design principles.”
The 2007 Vancouver Valuation Summit generated a signed memorandum to make “green” part of property appraisal standards and, in turn, to better inform decisions by lenders. Signatories included the following:
- Premier of British Columbia
- Appraisal Institute of Canada
- Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
- World Green Building Council
- Canada Green Building Council
- U.S. Green Building Council
- Union of PanAmerican Valuers
- BC Hydro
- BLJC Workplace Solutions Inc.
- Town of View Royal
See related news story.
Stay tuned. Green property evaluation is on the Heads Up radar.
Calendar of events
The Calendar of Events for Buildings is updated monthly. It lists energy efficiency conferences and training opportunities across Canada, including dates and locations for the 2010 Dollars to $ense workshops.
The following list highlights key events:
2nd annual SustainaBUILD Conference, November 23, 2010, Vancouver (BC), www.sustainabuild.com/vancouver/
Real Property Institute of Canada National Workshop, November 23-25, 2010, Toronto (ON), www.rpic-ibic.ca/en/events/2010rpic_workshop/registration.shtml
EE4 energy simulation software workshop, November 29-30, 2010, Saint John (NB), http://www.efficiencynb.ca/enb/5216/ee4
8th Annual CitiesAlive Green Roof and Wall Conference, November 30 to December 2, 2010, Vancouver (BC), www.greenroofs.org/
PMExpo Property Management Exposition & Conference, December 1-3, 2010, Toronto (ON), www.pmexpo.com/post_show/index.php
- EE4 energy simulation software workshop (in French only), December 2-3, 2010, Québec (QC), aqme.org/EE4.aspx (in French only)
Let us know what you think
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