Public Sector Energy Conservation Agreement
For information on how the B.C. public sector is reducing greenhouse gas emissions, please see the Carbon Neutral page.
B.C.’s public sector plays a key role in helping British Columbians become leaders in conservation and energy efficiency.
The first Public Sector Energy Conservation Agreement (PSECA) was created in 2007 as a partnership between BC Hydro and the Government of B.C. Budget 2008 committed $75 million over three years to help public sector organizations reduce provincial greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, energy consumption and operating costs, as well as support government in achieving its goal of carbon neutrality.
PSECA has funded Provincial Ministries and Agencies, Boards of Education, Universities and Colleges, Health Authorities and Crown Corporations. Over three years it has supported 247 projects, created an estimated 500 jobs, saved taxpayers $12.6 million annually and reduced GHG emissions by 35,600 tonnes.
- $25-MILLION ENERGY RETROFITS ADD JOBS, LOWER EMISSIONS (8 June 2010)
"PSECA 3" funding: $25M spread across four categories
(Solar thermal, Open Call, K-12 HVAC, District Energy)
- $2.8 MILLION POWERS CLEANER, GREENER PUBLIC BUILDINGS (5 Nov 2010)
$2.8M for Solar thermal projects (24 K-12, 9 post-secondary, 5 hospitals). Includes additional funding provided through Terasen, SolarBC, NRCAN.
- PUBLIC BUILDINGS TO SAVE ENERGY AND MONEY (14 Dec 2010)
A list of 23 Open Call projects together receiving $7.6M (post-secondary, health, etc.)
- SCHOOL DISTRICTS WARM TO RENEWABLE ENERGY TECHNOLOGY (7 Feb 2011)
$6.9M for 35 K-12 projects in ten B.C. school districts.
- PREMIER CHRISTY CLARK MARKS EARTH DAY WITH GREEN INVESTMENT (21 Apr 2011)
$4.7M SFU thermal energy system. The first example of the $12M toward "PSECA 3" District Energy projects (see below).
- (in addition to the SFU example above, the Province expects to announce funding for the remaining district energy projects in the near future)
UPDATE: March 31, 2011
Thank you for your interest in the Public Sector Energy Conservation Agreement (PSECA) program. The capital grant portion of the PSECA 3 program allocated $25 million for 82 projects in public sector organizations across the province. Capital funding has not been provided for the PSECA program in fiscal year 2011/12. For information about the Energy Manager and Energy Specialist components of the PSECA program please contact BC Hydro Power Smart and FortisBC Power Sense respectively.
||BC Hydro, the first PSECA partner, provided incentives for electricity components of energy retrofits under its Power Smart program. BC Hydro has also supported Energy Managers across B.C. and energy conservation behaviour change programs.
Read the BC Hydro Public Sector Energy Conservation Agreement (PDF, 147 KB).
||In June 2010, Terasen Gas, now FortisBC became a PSECA partner. The new agreement leveraged FortisBC's incentives to help build energy efficiency capacity across the public sector.
Read the Terasen Public Sector Energy Conservation Agreement (PDF, 116 KB).
||SolarBC is working with the Government of B.C. to promote solar hot water and air heating systems and leverage federal funding through Natural Resources Canada (NRCan).
Please read the PSECA FAQs and send any enquiries to the Climate Action Secretariat.
Royal Roads U
• $800,000 (provincial)
• $300,000 (partner)
GHG emissions reduced: 331 tonnes annually
“You have to invest money to save money when it comes to creating zero-emission, energy efficient buildings. Royal Roads is part of a national historic site and it’s critical we preserve this history as we upgrade facilities.”
— Nancy Wilkin, RRU Director, Office of Sustainability
First it was the aristocratic home to a BC coal baron, next a military college. Today Royal Roads University is a national historic site that boasts stuning heritage buildings, exquisite gardens and some of BC’s foremost leadership programs in sustainability and environmental management.
Ensuring all campus buildings reflect its teaching philosophies is critical for RRU. How do you go about making a 100 year old stone castle and several other
campus heritage buildings carbon neutral? Over $1.1 million in PSECA funding is helping Royal Roads meet that challenge.
“You have to invest money to save money when it comes to creating zeroemission, energy efficient buildings,” said Nancy Wilkin, Royal Roads Director, Office of Sustainability. “Royal Roads is part of a national historic site and it’s critical we preserve this history as we upgrade facilities.”
Most buildings have been upgraded with new insulation and energy efficient lighting, heating and ventilation systems. All systems are monitored electronically and centrally with digital direct controls. As well, 42 solar thermal panels have been installed on the Millward Student Residence to heat water and further reduce emissions.
Alternative options such as wind power and geothermal heating systems are also being explored and the potential of using a wetland restoration project to offset carbon emissions is in the works.
St. Mary’s Hospital
Provincial Funding received: $2.4 million
GHG emissions reduced: The St. Mary’s expansion will be carbon neutral
The new St. Mary’s expansion will target LEED Gold certification and would be the first renovation / expansion health project in BC to achieve LEED Gold standard. If upgraded to LEED Gold the new wing will be carbon neutral.
A smaller carbon footprint with energy eficiencies in heating and lighting, beter ventilation for fresher indoor air, and building design that encourages natural light are just a few of the highlights of the new St. Mary’s Hospital expansion.
”We’re all about restoring wellness to the people who stay in our hospital,” said John Manougian, Energy Manager for Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH). “It makes sense that we would commit to ensuring the health of our environment in the same way, and that’s what St. Mary’s new hospital will do.”
With PSECA funding of $2.4 million, St. Mary’s Hospital building expansion will be cutting-edge, incorporating green building practices. The project will target LEED Gold certification and would be the first renovation / expansion health project in VCH to achieve LEED Gold. If upgraded to LEED Gold, the new wing will be carbon neutral.
Provincial Funding received: $3 million
GHG emissions reduced:
- Hall Tower, Burnaby: 23 %
- Sunset Towers, Vancouver: 9%
Community: Across BC
BC Housing is meeting the climate challenge with “housing that provides healthier futures for people and the planet.”
Across the province BC Housing helps to fund housing for families and individuals whose low incomes make finding an afordable and sustainable place to live a real challenge. As the Sustainability, Planing and Reporting Manager for BC Housing, Magdalena Szpala wants to meet that challenge with “housing that provides healthier futures for people and the planet.”
To help BC Housing upgrade its buildings and reduce GHG emissions, PSECA provided $3 million in funding for sustainability improvements at nine housing developments across the province. Project examples include lighting retrofits, boiler replacements, domestic hot water retrofits, and building envelope sealing.
“A couple of projects have already recorded significant improvements,” said Szpala. “Greenhouse gas emissions at Hall Tower in Burnaby have been reduced by 23 per cent and by nine per cent at Sunset Towers in Vancouver.”
All nine projects were completed in April 2010, aside from the solar thermal hot-water panels, which are being installed at the Burnaby Hall Tower building.
BC Housing has also developed a sustainability plan, 2010 – 2011 Livegreen: Housing Sustainability Plan, to set measurable goals and track progress. Under the plan BC Housing will be carbon neutral.
School District #37 - Delta
• $1.4 million (provincial)
• $5 million (partner)
GHG emissions reduced: 2,037 tonnes annually
Annual energy savings: $500,000
“We’re really grateful to FortisBC and the Provincial Government for their commitment to a cleaner, zero-emission future for Delta. We’re thrilled to be used as an example for other school districts throughout the province.”
— Dale Saip, Board Chairperson, Delta School District
You can upgrade the school boiler to a new model, install energy efficient lighting – or you can leap frog right over energy eficiency to zero-emission technology!
This year, Delta School District took that leap. With $1.4 million in PSECA funding and significant contributions from FortisBC the district is transformating the energy systems in 19 schools, including installing geothermal exchange systems to save over $500,000 in energy costs each year.
The funding will also be used for solar thermal hot water projects and energy efficiency upgrades, including installing high efficiency condensing boilers at eight sites and replacing mechanical infrastructure at 11 sites to accept the geothermal technology.
“Energy conservation and environmental responsibility are fundamental values for FortisBC,” said Doug Stout, Vice President, Energy Solutions and External Relations, FortisBC. “We are committed to developing innovative energy solutions to help meet the current and future energy needs of B.C. school districts. Our collaboration with the Delta School District is an excellent example of what can happen when many parties come together to find creative uses of integrated energy solutions.”
Delta’s geothermal systems are installed under school sports fields and could one day link to other geo-thermal systems in surrounding neighbourhoods, acting as a ‘home-base’ for a whole geothermal network.
“This project is a major teaching opportunity,” said Dale Saip, Board Chairperson for the Delta School District. “We’re taking solar technology into the classroom by using the installation of solar thermal panels on the roofs of three secondary schools to teach students about sustainable, alternative energy. The teamwork and shared visions resulting from this project have reated incredible learning opportunities for our kids and our community.”
• $3.4 million (provincial)
• $347,000 (partner)
GHG emissions reduced: 1190 tonnes annually
“We’ve had an ambitious energy
management project underway for
the past four years and this second
funding allocation to retrofit the
Lansdowne campus will help us
deliver on our climate action goals.”
Striving to be a green campus, Camosun College has used
sustainable business practices for decades. From recycling
and composting, to grean cleaning products, and biodiesel and
electric utility vehicles, Camosun’s efforts to become carbon
neutral have grown each year.
In 2009 the college took another step to reduce GHG emissions when it received
$2.6 million in PSECA funding for retrofits on its Interurban campus.
The project targeted energy efficiency, replacing gas burners with air-to-water
heat pumps, installing a solar hot water heating system, and pioneering a
solution for recycling welding exhaust gases to save on heating bills.
A second allocation of PSECA funding was granted to Camosun College in 2010.
The further $1.1 million in funding was dedicated to lighting, heating, and airconditioning
system retrofits that are now underway at the Lansdowne campus
“Our first project was the Interurban campus retrofit and it really helped us to
kick-start our greenhouse gas reductions,” said Peter Lockie, Camosun’s VP of
Finance and Administration. “We’ve had an ambitious energy management
project underway for the past four years and this second funding allocation to
retrofit the Lansdowne campus will help us deliver on our climate action goals.”
• $91,000 (provincial)
• $42,000 (partner)
Reduction in natural gas consumption: 50% in Kekuli Student Residences
“By incorporating green building
principals and alternative energy
installations into our campus, we
hope to inspire change and nurture
the next generation of cutting-edge
creators and innovators.”
Poised to influence the next generation’s thinking and social
behaviour, Castlegar’s Selkirk College is keen to adopt the ideas
and technology that will reduce the campus’s GHG emisions.
The college received $133,000 in PSECA funding and in March 2011 completed
an overhaul of the hot-water heating systems in the Kekuli Student Residence
building, which houses approximately 100 students at the Castlegar campus.
Existing natural gas boilers were supplemented with new solar thermal
hot water heating systems, expected to reduce the facility’s natural gas
consumption by 50 per cent.
“As a regional leader in post secondary education, Selkirk College is ideally
positioned to help people in this region shift their thinking towards
zero-emission technology,” explains Dereck Marcoux, Selkirk Renewable
“By incorporating green building principles and alternative energy installations
into our campus, we hope to inspire change and nurture the next generation
of cutting-edge creators and innovators.”
University of Northern British Columbia
• $5 million (provincial)
• $3.5 million (partner)
GHG emissions reduced: 3,100 tonnes annually
Energy cost savings: $500,000 annually
Community: Prince George
“UNBC’s Biomass Gasification
Plant celebrates the university’s
commitment to transformational
renewable energy, and positions it as
a change-agent to spread innovation
Photo: Picture BC and knowledge across the country.”
With environmental education central to the teaching philosophy at the
University of Northern BC (UNBC), transforming the campus heating systems
to a carbon neutral biomas gasification plant was a natural fit.
To complete the project UNBC received $5 million in funding through PSECA, $3.5
million from the Innovative Clean Energy Fund, and just over $7 million from the federal
Knowledge Infrastructure Program. The plant, which uses wood waste from local mills,
opened in March 2011 and is expected to reduce campus fossil fuels consumption by
about 85 per cent.
Built to LEED Gold standards the architecture of the new facility features a variety of
northern wood products and was constructed by local construction companies.
“This is an important development for UNBC, and it’s also critical for the local forest
industry and the hundreds of communities across Canada that are reliant on forests,”
said UNBC President George Iwama. “This facility is a showpiece that will serve as a
unique platform for education and research. Biomass is a sustainable, renewable energy
source that is key in diversifying our forest industry and the communities that rely on it.”
The project received the top award in 2010 from North America’s premier college
and university sustainability organization. The Association for the Advancement of
Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) selected UNBC’s bioenergy project for its
ability to connect teaching and research to campus operations, while serving as a
model for communities and other campuses.
A celebration of the university’s commitment to transformational renewable energy,
UNBC’s Biomass Plant positions it as a change-agent to spread innovation and
knowledge across the country.
Simon Fraser University
Provincial Funding received: $4.8 million
GHG emissions reduced: 10,860 tonnes annually
“At the end of the day this project
will create one of the largest
neighbourhood energy utilities
in Canada and will decrease
GHG emissions by an estimated
67 per cent.”
— Sam Dahabieh, Director of
Facilities and Services, SFU
Living on a mountain top means you can see for miles, and Burnaby
Mountain’s Simon Fraser University (SFU) takes vision seriously.
Situated among towering firs and forest pathways the university
is looking to the future, aiming to be a world-class example of
energy conservation and reduced GHG emisions.
With $4.8 million in funding from PSECA, along with contributions from several
other partners, SFU is building a biomass central energy plant (CEP) to meet
nearly 67 per cent of campus heating needs and generate electricity back into
the BC Hydro grid.
“We’re really excited to be moving along with this project,” said Sam Dahabieh,
Director of Facilities and Services Operations. “The new CEP is a truly
sustainable energy solution. Because we’re working with so many skilled
partners we have a lot of knowledge at the table. At the end of the day this
project will create one of the largest neighbourhood energy utilities in Canada
and will decrease GHG emissions by an estimated 80 per cent.”
The CEP project will also create an estimated 86 new green infrastructure jobs
during design and construction of the facility. “The benefits from this project
are significant,” said Dahabieh. “We’re supporting local firms and creating
a local knowledge base in green technologies. We’re hoping the success of
this project and the skills accumulated in putting it together will create a
knowledge hub to drive innovation in other communities.”
Thompson Rivers University
• $194,000 (provincial)
• $69,000 (partner)
GHG emissions reduced: 26 tonnes annually***
“This PSECA project put energy
conservation in motion at TRU, which
we leveraged to encourage our
executive to approve a total retrofit
investment of $1.5 million for an
integrated energy reduction package.”
With blue skies, sagebrush and long, dry summers, Kamloops’ Thompson
Rivers University (TRU) looked to the sun for solar panel installations.
After working with a BC Hydro funded Energy Manager to complete a detailed
energy reduction study, the university applied for, and received, $194,000 from
PSECA and $69,000 from partners FortisBC and Natural Resources Canada to
install three solar thermal projects. The new panels will help the university
reduce its energy consumption by five per cent over the next three years.
The projects supply domestic hot water for TRU’s three biggest water users: the
Old Main building, the Campus Activity Centre addition and the Independent
Centre student area, as well as the meat-cutting facility in the Culinary Arts
“We’ve worked fast to honour our commitment to creating a sustainable campus,”
said Tom Owen, TRU’s Environment and Sustainability Director. “The solar
thermal panels on our buildings have become a symbol for energy reduction,
not just on campus but also in the larger Kamloops community.“
“This PSECA project put energy conservation in motion at TRU, which we
leveraged to encourage our executive to approve a total retrofit investment of
$1.5 million for an integrated energy reduction package.”
The Royal BC Museum
• $182,000 (provincial)
• $140,000 (partner)
Estimated energy saved: 380,000 kWh annually
With PSECA funding the upgraded
lighting in the First Peoples Gallery
saves approximately 380,000 kWh –
or the equivalent of powering 31
homes for a full year.
As stewards of our province’s history the Royal BC Museum (RBCM)
knows what it takes to transform stories of woolly mammoths, First
Nations villages and gold-panning pioners into the lively exhibits
that teach us lesons from the past . And understanding history often
helps us chart the future.
“History has shown us that the people of British Columbia are resourceful and
have overcome many challenges,” said Angela Williams, Director of Business
and Operational Services. “So while the climate crisis is significant, there’s no
reason why we can’t all work together to shift thinking and create solutions. At
the Royal BC Museum we’ve been moving in this direction for some time now.”
And, with PSECA funding of $182,000, the museum upgraded lighting in the
third floor First Peoples Gallery, saving approximately 380,000 kWh – or the
equivalent of powering 31 homes for a full year.
Working with BC Hydro, the museum also developed an Energy Management
Program and implemented a comprehensive environmental sustainability
policy to encourage energy conservation and set up future sustainability goals.
As a result of the lighting upgrades, RBCM was selected as a finalist for
BC Hydro’s Power Smart Excellence Award in the category of Workplace
University Hospital of Northern British Columbia
• $1.6 million (provincial)
• $79,000 (partners)
GHG emissions reduced: 837 tonnes annually
Community: Prince George
Northern Health received the
2010 Philips Environmental
Awareness and Knowledge (PEAK)
Award, which recognizes the very
best energy savings initiatives in
As the teaching hospital for northern BC, Prince George’s University Hospital wants
to bring its community the best that health care has to offer. Ensuring facilities
are energy efficient not only reduces operational costs and puts funding back into
health care; it also benefits air quality and long-term sustainability.
With $1.6 million in PSECA funding, the hospital completed energy efficiency measures by
installing electrical systems and power plant and boiler upgrades. Outdated incandescent
lighting systems were replaced with environmentally-friendly, high-efficiency bulbs and LED
emergency lighting. In 2010 alone the hospital estimated a savings of $65,000 in natural gas
costs from the power plant and boiler upgrades.
“We’re really pleased with the positive outcomes of these projects,” said Albert Sommerfeld,
Northern Health’s Director of Engineering and Environmental Sustainability. “With the power
plant upgrade, the heat from the boiler exhaust is used to reheat cool water. We installed new
energy efficient boilers and burner optimization systems; now heat is regulated and controlled,
as opposed to just being turned on or off.”
In recognition of these efficiencies, Northern Health received the 2010 Philips Environmental
Awareness and Knowledge (PEAK) Award, which recognizes the very best energy savings
initiatives in Canada.
“Over the last year we’ve reduced energy consumption and green house gas emissions in the
entire health district,” said Sommerfeld. “We’ve got more work to do, but I think we’ve shown
that it’s possible to reduce environmental impact and still deliver excellent health care.”
Penticton Regional Hospital, Summerland Health Centre
• $312,000 (provincial)
• $194,000 (partners)
GHG emissions reduced: 57 tonnes annually
“This alternative energy project may
be small, but it’s a great step in the
right direction, and removes the same
amount of carbon from our air as is
contained in 228 full-sized trees.”
— Aman Hundal, Manager of Environmental Sustainability
The power of the sun, some new thinking and cutting-edge
technology: The Penticton Regional Hospital (PRH) and
Summerland Health Centre (SHC) have combined all these
to move toward carbon neutrality.
Utilizing $506,000 of PSECA funding, the two health facilities installed 140
solar thermal panels. The two projects achieved significant energy savings,
with reductions in natural gas use of 49 per cent at PRH and 71 per cent at SHC.
“Every year we spend $13 million on heating and lighting the hospitals in our
region,” said Aman Hundal, Manager of Environmental Sustainability. “This
alternative energy project may be small, but it’s a great step in the right
direction. It removes the same amount of carbon from our air as is contained
in 228 full-sized trees.”