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Business: Transportation


Headsup CIPEC Newsletter – In this issue

September 15, 2008 Vol. XII, No. 14


EnCana focuses on energy efficiency

Calgary-based EnCana, one of Canada's largest energy enterprises, producing the equivalent of 4.4  billion cubic feet of natural gas per day, recently signalled its commitment to reducing the company's environmental footprint. According to its 2007 Corporate Responsibility Report, the company has increased its budget for energy efficiency measures from $10 million in 2007 to $50 million in 2008. This investment comes on the heels of a number of pro-active steps taken last year.

In early 2007, the company's sustainability agenda shifted to energy efficiency with the creation of a Vice-President level position for Energy Technology/Research, held by Larry Weiers. Two programs, both headed by Weiers, the Energy Efficiency Initiative and the Environmental Innovation Fund, focus on lessening impacts to the environment. Weiers explains that “the high-quality projects, in terms of energy savings and emissions reductions,” prompted EnCana to increase dramatically its energy efficiency budget.

The Energy Efficiency Initiative aims to achieve measurable reductions in energy usage and greenhouse gases in EnCana's internal operations and in the community. The initiative “opened the floodgates for employees to come up with energy efficiency improvements within the company,” says Weiers. EnCana's philosophy is that every individual can play his or her part in energy conservation. About 35 of those ideas have been funded and implemented and are now at various stages of completion. Funded projects fall into two broad categories: (1) reduction of the venting of natural gas and (2) improving the fuel efficiency of equipment or switching to cleaner fuels. Specific projects include high-technology gas leak detection equipment, the installation of vapour recovery systems and advanced engine controls that increase the efficiency of field-operated engines.

As part of the Energy Efficiency Initiative, EnCana also stresses employee and community energy efficiency awareness through various projects. Project Camplight will have replaced up to 2000 100-watt bulbs in EnCana's field locations with compact fluorescent light bulbs by the end of 2008. In the 20 communities where EnCana has a presence, Project Porchlight saw great success with local volunteers delivering 500 000 compact fluorescent light bulbs to households.

Weiers notes that EnCana's Environmental Innovation Fund “provides a mechanism to help support high-technology companies working on energy efficiency innovations.” The Fund has a $10-million annual budget and generally provides project support of $1 to 3 million. Projects that have been funded include tidal energy technology on Canada's east and west coasts, solid state lighting, an increased efficiency of diesel trucks and a new silicon manufacturing process that could cut the costs of solar cells. The latest project to be funded is "green" natural gas, which is made by reducing its carbon content.

“EnCana's vision is to make energy efficiency part of our way of doing business,” says Weiers. To this end, Weiers sees an even more aggressive energy efficiency program for 2009, because the energy efficiency measures undertaken to date have competed favourably with EnCana's capital programs. “On a per dollar basis, the fuel savings of the implemented projects are very good.”

Foster Creek

At EnCana's Foster Creek facilities in northern Alberta, cost savings and emissions reductions have been realized since they began using nearby grid electricity to power drilling rigs three years ago. This alternative to conventional diesel results in a reduction of rig emissions and makes the rigs noticeably quieter. To date, Foster Creek has drilled 12 pads using electricity from the grid instead of conventional diesel to power its drilling rigs, with plans for an additional 16 pads to be completed within the next few years.

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Winery taps solar and geothermal energy

The Burrowing Owl Estate Winery has found a number of ways to go green – among them, ensuring that its buildings exceed LEED standards, using environmentally safe fertilizers and introducing organic techniques in grape-growing. Now the British Columbia vineyard is fully equipped with a state-of-the-art solar and geothermal heating-cooling system at its estate located in the South Okanagan region.

“We did it to be consistent with the environmental philosophy at Burrowing Owl to take the long term view of our vineyard and winery practices and on a global scale we strive to do no harm,” says founder Jim Wyse. The winery's namesake is a small owl that inhabits the region and is listed as an endangered species.

The energy-efficient renewable energy system provides domestic hot water, heating and cooling to a winery that produces approximately 30 000 cases of wine each year. It also supplies the wine shop, the restaurant, an 11-room guesthouse, a swimming pool and an all-season hot tub.

“It's all part of one automated system,” says Roger Huber, president of Pro Eco Energy, a provider of alternative energy systems.

The solar heating system consists of 30 collectors and a 3600-litre water storage tank. The collectors gather the sun's energy, much of it captured in the summer months, and the hot water storage tank stores that energy to meet hot water needs during the cooler seasons. The system also supplements a geothermal ground loop, where excess heat is stored for winter use.

Because of the volume of water in the tank, captured solar energy is not wasted. The automated system is capable of transferring heat from areas requiring cooling to areas demanding warmth. It follows varying protocols - one for every season – calling on the solar heated water, the geothermal supply and, in the winter, a boiler as a last resort.

“First the system analyses where the heat is needed, and then it decides where the solar heat can be most efficiently transferred,” explains Huber.

The winery hardly relies on any propane for its heating process, thereby significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions as well as energy costs. “The solar panels can heat the water up to 77°C, and we pump it back into the winery so that we can wash our 1500 barrels, which we clean every three months,” says Wyse.

Of course, the system required a significant capital investment with a relatively long payback. “To be honest, I've never really done the math,” says Wyse on his expected return on investment.

According to Huber, “With the combined hybrid system, if you calculate what you save on gas boilers, your simple payback is about eight years. It makes sense to use a system that combines the two, because the solar panels can raise geothermal efficiency at lower cost than relying on geothermal or solar powered energy alone.”

“By heating with geothermal and solar, we were able to replace our boiler with one that's half the size and doesn't use very much propane. Had the payback been 20 years, I still would have done it.” says Wyse.

Energy efficiency has long been a preoccupation for Wyse. In 1997, the winery built 12 000 square feet of underground barrel cellars that provide natural cooling in the summer and natural warmth in the winter to help the wine-aging process. Unlike above-ground barrel facilities, they require no electrical or fossil fuel energy.

Burrowing Owl Estate Winery

The Burrowing Owl Estate Winery

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BC Hydro's Power Smart announces fall industrial-training workshops and events

BC Hydro's fall series of Power Smart workshops and events begin in October and target staff and management in all areas of industrial facilities. Nancy Adams, Program Manager, Power Smart Industrial Campaigns, notes that the workshops and events “were developed and designed to provide topics of interest for all our industrial customers that will allow them to lower their energy costs through opportunity identification and best practices.” Financing approaches to energy efficiency projects and innovations in energy efficiency technologies and practices will be among the topics covered.

During the week of October 27, full-day workshops on fan system assessment, compressed air level I and level II (two days), take place in Prince George, B.C. A process control workshop is offered in Vancouver on October 30. The next day, two one-hour Webinars – How to Capitalize on Power Smart Incentives – are offered.

The Power Smart fall series continues in Prince George, the week of November 3, with the Forestry Conference and a full-day employee awareness workshop as well as an Energy Manager roundtable and networking events.

The fall series wraps up with the annual Power Smart Forum taking place on November 19 in Vancouver, followed by two one-day industrial workshops: Sustainable Energy Management Program and Spot the Energy Savings Opportunities delivered in collaboration with Natural Resources Canada's Dollars to $ense energy management workshop program.

These events represent an opportunity to learn about how to lower energy and maintenance costs as well as best practices in energy management. Delivered by leading experts in the field, BC Hydro's Power Smart series “provides unparalleled value for the level of instruction and the information provided to participants,” says Adams.

For further details and to register, visit

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CABA and RSMeans offer industry-wide Test of Life Cycle cost calculator

CABA in partnership with RSMeans, a Reed Construction Data company, offers a “proof of concept” beta test and actively seeks feedback from the engineering and integrated systems industry.

The Life Cycle Calculator is a Web-based tool that allows users to choose, evaluate, view and save customized reports for ROI of Intelligent Buildings. To find out how it works, go to the following Web link:

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What's New

Benchmarking Energy Use in Canadian Pulp and Paper Mills

This study provides background information on energy use in Canada's pulp and paper sector and describes the methodology used to collect, develop and apply energy data for the benchmarking of conversion and manufacturing areas within 49 Canadian mills. It also identifies the three key findings that have emerged from the report and provides an enclosed CD-ROM “How to benchmark your facility” with an Excel workbook containing several spreadsheets, enabling companies to perform their own mill's energy use analysis and then benchmark their results.

Several years ago, the IEA developed a standard method for measuring and reporting energy use that allows comparisons between process areas in pulp and paper mills. In developing the Benchmarking Energy Use in Canadian Pulp and Paper Mills study, the Pulp and Paper Research Institute of Canada (Paprican) used the IEA methodology to benchmark nearly half the mills in Canada and in the process made a number of alterations and improvements to the methodology in light of their experience. The new IEA Annex's goal is to develop the IEA method, combined with the experience of Paprican, into a common, recommended method of measuring and reporting energy use in pulp and paper mills worldwide.

To order a copy of the study, please call 613-996-6891 or e-mail

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Call for story ideas

Has your company implemented successful energy efficiency measures that you would like to share with Heads Up CIPEC readers? Please send your story ideas for consideration to Jocelyne Rouleau by e-mail at

Additionally, if you require more information on an article or a program, please also contact Jocelyne Rouleau at the above e-mail address.

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Calendar of Events

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