NB council hears energy audit update, several cost-savings identified

North Battleford city council received some good news at Monday’s meeting on ways they can save money on energy at their facilities.

Council received some early findings from an energy audit being conducted at city facilities. The energy audit is funded by a grant the city received from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Green Municipal Fund. 

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The audit covers city facilities including the CUplex and Wastewater Treatment Plant, with a view towards how to lower greenhouse gas emissions. The city heard from Kevin Thurston of Thurston Engineering Services and Jason Praski of Exa Energy, who provided a PowerPoint presentation. 

A number of findings were presented from the feasibility study about potential solar panels at the CUplex and WWTP. Green heating options were looked at for the various facilities, as was biofuel.

According to the presentation there were a number of financial “wins” they discovered. Those include the following:

Energy efficiency measures identified for the Dekker Centre include programming air handlers to recirculate air, saving $10,000 for a $6,000 investment; 

To program the makeup air to only run when free cooling is needed to save $4,000 in natural gas; to program an air handling unit there to only run on a call for cooling, which can be installed for $1,000 and save $700 per year; 

To turn that unit off during unoccupied periods and let unit heaters heat the space during unoccupied periods for a $14,000 saving; 

To turn off a make up air unit at the Field House at unoccupied times, for a $1,700 a year savings; 

Several measures at the Aquatic Centre including adjusting pool water and space temperatures to save $9,000 a year, programming the outdoor air damper to open slowly at a cost of $2,000 to save $5,000, and to schedule select air handling units to turn off for a saving of $940.

Director of Finance Steve Brown indicated the next step for the city, if they were to eventually proceed with these projects, would be to make a second application to receive up to 10 per cent of the capital costs from FCM and a low interest loan to finance the remainder. Brown added that he has been told if the city were to make an application that FCM would look very favourably on the application for any construction the city wants to do on renewable energy. 

In general, council was enthusiastic about the findings in this first report. Mayor David Gillan indicated council wanted to immediately look at the low or no cost energy efficiency measures, and to continue pursuing the solar and green heating options and learn about potential grants that could be out there.

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