Green power helps conserve energy

Apr 21, 2003,
By Diane Luckow

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SFU is supporting a new B.C. Hydro Power Smart program called green power to encourage the growth of independent green energy suppliers.

By purchasing 250 megawatt hours worth of green power certificates from B.C. Hydro, SFU is ensuring that B.C. Hydro will in turn purchase green energy generated by, for example, micro hydro and biomass energy producers.

"It's SFU's contribution toward the concept of sustainability and green power," says Sam Dahabieh, (left) director, facilities management. "It's equivalent to supplying annual lighting power to Strand hall or east academic annex or four average size houses."

Over the past 20 years, SFU has adopted numerous energy conservation strategies and participated in B.C. Hydro power smart initiatives, resulting in more than $25 million worth of energy cost avoidance.

The savings result from lighting modifications, the synchronization and optimization of heating and ventilation systems to coincide with space occupancies, and the introduction of other energy and water conservation initiatives, including installation of recirculating water pumps in the heating plant and the modification of cooling systems that use city water for heat dissipation.

Now, says Dahabieh, the university plans to spend $3 million to retrofit lighting systems on the Burnaby campus. "We have preliminary approval to proceed," he says. "The project would see every lighting device on this campus touched, changed or worked on." All fluorescent tubes will be replaced with energy efficient T8 lamps. Existing light ballasts will be changed to high power factor electronic ballasts and will use reflectors to increase the light output. The result will be improved lighting generally and reduced costs.

"We expect to save $250,000 a year - that's 13-14 per cent of our total electrical expenditures," says Dahabieh. Overall, SFU spends $2 million annually on electricity and a further $2 million for campus heating.

"While the main purpose of following Power Smart initiatives is cost-avoidance for the university, it is also protects the environment from further requiring large power generation," says Dahabieh. "The university looks on this as an economic, social and environmental initiative."

SFU holds a gold champion level rating with Natural Resources Canada's climate change voluntary challenge and registry. The rating recognizes the university's commitment to best ecological practices.

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