It was an offer the City of Trail could not refuse.
The city is going ahead with energy conservation measures at the Trail Memorial Centre that could save the city and taxpayers a lot of money.
At a Nov. 9 city council meeting, councillors agreed to team up with FortisBC to improve its use of energy at the memorial centre.
“The ammonia refrigeration plant at the Trail Memorial Centre produces a large amount of waste heat, which is reclaimed and used throughout the facility,” said recreation deputy director, Robert Baker, in his staff report. “Although the city already operates heat recovery equipment in the refrigeration plant, there are significant opportunities for additional energy and cost savings.”
The city and FortisBC split the $19,000 cost of hiring Polar Engineering to conduct an energy study to determine potential savings through plant heat recovery.
The study, released in September, recommended that energy saving components called VFD (variable frequency drives) be installed on the brine pumps and on the refrigeration system to recover heat and increase performance, while reducing use of natural gas.
According to the study, the city would save 3,110 gigajoules per year of natural gas and more than 92,000 kWh per year of electricity, for a total cost savings nearing $24,000 per year.
FortisBC offered to reimburse the city for its share of the energy study if they agree to go ahead with improvements. In addition, the utility offered financial incentives for the upgrades totalling more than $190,000.
Fortis would deliver $127,000 towards project costs, and if the measures are completed by March 31, 2021, they will kick in another $64,000 in funding.
The extra ‘top-up’ is a one-time only incentive prompted by the financial impacts of COVID-19.
“This initiative is seen to be very positive,” said Chief Administrative Officer David Perehudoff. “Proceeding is consistent with the city’s commitment made as part of signing onto the Climate Action Charter. Not only will the city reduce its carbon footprint, there will be significant annual energy/cost savings as part of reusing the waste heat.”
Without grant money, Trail would be on the hook for just over $93,000 of a total estimated cost of $284,000 while FortisBC would cover the remaining $190,000.
Trail looks to offset their share by seeking funding through energy saving grants or through their Climate Action Reserve Fund.
“There is $95,260 in the city’s statutory Climate Action Reserve Fund and this money could be used to fund this project as part of the 2021 capital plan,” said Perehudoff. “The resulting payback in cost savings is less than four years, which is a very short payback when considering the investment.”
Baker says the the savings would amount to about $384,000 over 20 years, and the proposed energy conservation measures will reduce the city’s greenhouse gas emissions by 154+ tonnes of CO2, thereby reducing its carbon taxes and footprint.