Case Studies

Energy Supervisor is a real-world system that has been used successfully in buildings across North America. Independent audits revealed that the system realises total energy savings between 25% and 40%.

A success story in Maple Ridge

The buildings that make up Maple Ridge’s Municipal Operations Centre and the Pitt Meadows Family Recreation Centre serve a wide variety of uses.

The civic buildings at the center of this project include health care offices, buildings dedicated to administrative purposes, daycare and early education centres, RCMP facilities, a cafeteria, gymnasiums, recreational and meeting spaces, and warehouses and garages.

Energy savings

In an independently-verified one year trial, the municipal buildings in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows realized total energy savings greater than 25%. Energy Supervisor helped management reduce electricity consumption by 25% and natural gas use by 40%.

Energy savings realized by Energy Supervisor

A more comfortable workplace

In addition to the tangible results associated with our energy saving technology, many of the people who work in the buildings involved in this project experienced increased comfort levels at their workplaces.

Since the Energy Supervisor was installed, there has been an obvious improvement in the comfort level within the health clinic. There is a constant consistent temperature whenever we are here. I know others have seen a similar improvement; whatever their requirements are.
Sean Fenzi – IRS Innovative Rehabilitation Services

Case Study: Maple Ridge

One specific method that has been used in local government for approximately ten years with considerable success is available from a small independent provider in Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Canada. The provider, Gas Protection Services Inc. (GPSI– www.gasprotection.com) originally developed a system to monitor gas use and to ensure gas leakages were stopped at the source in the event of, for example, an earthquake. Building on a personal computer based system GPSI added a component to monitor and manage electricity use. As GPSI President Stephen Gibson points out “the old adage applies “you cannot manage what you cannot –or do not –measure. In these cases, obviously, improvement options are then limited.”

Initially, systems were installed within the District of Maple Ridge in the Operations Center, in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Headquarters, and in the Pitt Meadows Family Recreation Center. At the outset, the fundamental component of the system is a “what gets measured gets attention” approach. The PC based system monitors energy use 24/7 and identifies and remediates periods of high use. All of the test cases were installed in 1998 and they were monitored regularly by the contractor and municipal staff. The physical systems were connected to a personal computer system and energy use is monitored in real time. At the time, cost of installation was less than $ 2.00 per square foot.

The system produced some immediate and dramatic results. Gas usage could be reduced by as much as 30% and electricity consumption could be reduced by approximately 20%. These results were independently verified and resulted in GPSI winning the Natural Resources Canada “Energy Efficiency Award” in 2004.

The lessons learned in these initial case studies in Maple Ridge are particularly interesting. First, most involved in local government will protest that they have already tried or implemented all practical solutions to manage the demand of electricity. Of course, this may be true at any given point in time but circumstances (for example, the price of energy or available technology solutions) change. As a result it is always important to search for ways to improve.

Second, the system seems “too good to be true”. It is a low cost, high technology solution which is PC based. It is non-intrusive and can be applied as a retrofit to existing buildings easily without disruption to existing users. Further, it had a pay back at the time of installation in Maple Ridge of approximately five years. As noted, the solution can be applied both to a new building and in a retrofit scenario.

In 2006, the same  Energy Supervisor systems were installed in five buildings owned and operated by Hydro Ottawa Limited in Ottawa, Ontario. Obviously, the system continues to prove its effectiveness and it represents another example of the innovation of cities in finding and promoting green solutions.

Summary

Managing energy use, including electrical energy use, is important for private and public sector organizations. Increased energy costs make the proper identification of actual costs and the development of strategies to control or reduce these costs critical.

Cities in Canada are actively pursuing improvement initiatives in part supported by organizations such as the FCM and the UBCM. The Maple Ridge example is one low cost method that has been successfully applied and it may be useful for other jurisdictions.

R.W. Robertson Ph.D. was the Chief Administrative Officer for the District of Maple Ridge during the initial installation of the systems. He can be reached at rroberts905@hotmail.com