Twenty-eight buildings in 19 communities are undertaking projects to generate energy, increase energy efficiency and sustainability, and reduce energy costs. The projects are being supported by over $800,000 from Columbia Basin Trust’s Energy Sustainability Grants.
The grants support community buildings that range from halls to aquatic centres, and activities can vary from installing LED lighting to adding heat pumps. Projects may also include improvements like upgrading windows, adding insulation and upgrading ventilation, even installing electric vehicle charging stations.
“Communities told us that renewable and alternative energy generation and conservation are important to them, and this program helps reduce the impact on the environment while realizing financial and sustainability benefits for building operators,” said Mark Brunton, Senior Manager, Delivery of Benefits, Columbia Basin Trust. “These upgrades will help make community buildings more viable into the future, so they can continue to play important roles in the lives of people in the Basin.”
One of the recipients is the Salmo Child Care Society. It will install a high-efficiency gas furnace in its daycare centre, along with LED lights that will reduce electricity consumption and save money.
“Our centre was built before the recent advancements in energy conservation, so we are looking forward to not only the financial benefits of a more sustainable building, but also the long-term environmental benefits,” said Cathy Paton, Executive Director.
“Even the application process has already taught us so much about how we can reduce energy consumption.”
In Cranbrook, the community of Ɂaq̓am will reduce electricity consumption and save money in its administration building by replacing windows, doors and weather stripping and installing a new furnace, heat pump and heat recovery ventilation system.
“This project is a continuation in ʔaq̓am’s work toward meeting their goals and objectives under their community strategic plan: Ka kniⱡwi·tiyaⱡa,” said Michelle Shortridge, Director of Operations and Community Services. “This project specifically aligns with the energy-ȼmak̓qapmuⱡgoal to ‘lead in the production and conservation of renewable and non-renewal energy,’ as well as ‘live in ways that conserve energy.’ We are excited for the difference these improvements will make.”
In partnership with the Lake Windermere & District Lions Club, the Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce owns a multi-purpose community building in Invermere, which also houses the visitor’s centre. This building will be getting new doors and windows, LED lighting, roof insulation, air source heat pumps and an electric vehicle charging station.
“We are proud of the collaborative and community-minded facility that we have created,” said Peter Bourke, Executive Director. “This project will result in significant infrastructure improvements that will create a legacy in this building and to the community for many years to come.”
The Fernie and District Arts Council will install LED lights in the Fernie Arts Station to reduce electricity consumption and save money.
“The energy improvements to The Arts Station are important to reduce our impact on the environment, as well as an opportunity to reduce our operating costs,” said Louise Ferguson, Executive Director. “The building is a busy community hub in a historic building and we wish to do what we can to be mindful representatives in our community. Money savings can also be redirected into community programming and provide more opportunities to participate in the arts.”
The City of Revelstoke will install LED lights in the Revelstoke Community Centre to reduce electricity consumption and save money.
“This project will help us work toward reducing electricity consumption and associated costs in city-owned buildings,” said Caitlin Hinton, Climate Change Coordinator. “This will help us meet the City of Revelstoke’s priorities of sustainability, livability and organizational resilience.”
Photo Caption: The Salmo Children’s Centre will become more energy friendly with support from a Columbia Basin Trust Energy Sustainability Grant. — CBT photo