Providing holistic "energy coaching" services to build a mutually beneficial partnership with a financial industry leader

Formed in 1946, Vancouver City Savings Credit Union (Vancity) has long run its business with an eye on the triple bottom line, balancing financial, environmental and social returns. (Since 1994, Vancity has invested $46 million in grants to community organizations.) Its unwavering focus on sustainability and corporate responsibility has paid large dividends, as Vancity now manages $14.5 billion in assets and has more than 400,000 members and 61 branches throughout British Columbia. Canada's largest and most-respected credit union, Vancity is also one of Prism's first clients.

 

"Prism takes great pride in our long-term association with the Vancity facility management team. Vancity's focus on the environment and energy management are in line with our principles, and it is a pleasure helping them accomplish their mission."

--Brian O'Donnell, Prism Engineering

Challenge

In 1990, Prism began providing energy management services for Vancity by conducting and implementing energy audits at its head office and branches. Vancity was looking for an engineering consultant to advise its Facilities Management Department as well as to track and monitor energy use. Vancity valued Prism's ability to provide energy expertise for both electrical and mechanical engineering services, as well as their independence from particular products, suppliers and installers. Thus began a 20-year (and counting) relationship in which Prism has taken on the integral role of "energy coach."

Solutions

During the course of the relationship, Prism has provided broad energy management coaching and guidance as well as a wide array of specific energy management services including:

  • energy audits at most of Vancity's more than 60 branches
  • design of branch mechanical, lighting and controls upgrades
  • guidance on upgrades to LED (light-emitting diode) signs
  • assistance in replacing R22 refrigerant with non-CFC refrigerants
  • water-saving conversions for branch staffrooms and restrooms
  • installation advice for solar hot water heating at Vancity Centre
  • mechanical and electrical design for Vancity's LEED NC (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for New Construction) Silver branch in North Vancouver
  • mechanical engineering services for air conditioning of technology centres
  • development of online sustainability guidelines for new and renovated branches
  • energy management coaching, including attendance at monthly Green Team meetings
  • formulation of Vancity's energy policy, which guides equipment purchasing decisions
  • development of customized software to monitor and report on energy performance in each of Vancity's 61 facilities
  • sponsorship of initiatives supporting behavioural change in employees and encouraging sustainability

Results

Prism's longstanding relationship with Vancity has led to impressive energy savings and a sterling environmental reputation for the renowned credit union:

  • Since Vancity started reducing energy use and emissions from its buildings, it has saved over $2 million in energy costs. Vancity has reduced energy consumption by 50% per employee since 1997
  • In 2006, Vancity set a goal to be carbon-neutral by 2010. Impressively, Vancity was able to reach this goal two years ahead of schedule. As of December 31, 2008, Vancity is officially a carbon-neutral organization
  • Their energy reduction achievements have won Vancity awards from BC Hydro, the Government of Canada and the Building Owners and Managers Association of Canada. As a result of their efforts and with the assistance of Prism, they have earned enviable environmental standing in the community, allowing them to attract many new customers and employees who value their conservation-minded approach