In the summer of 2021, places in B.C. broke temperature records and BC Hydro experienced 19 of its top 25 all-time summer daily peak demand records[1].

The weather caused concern for British Columbians around the availability of increased electrical supply during extreme weather events. In a survey conducted by BC Hydro, 76% of respondents said they are concerned about the reliability of their electricity supply because of climate change. [2]

While our electrical utilities are working diligently to continually increase the reliability and supply of electricity, the onus is also on us as building owners, managers, and consultants to act within the facilities we work with to be better prepared. That said, balancing electrical demand requirements with energy conservation and decarbonization goals, asset renewal, occupant comfort, safety, and climate resilience in our facilities can be a daunting task.

To help break this down into bite-size pieces, Faisal Emami, one of our Electrical Engineers, offers an approach that we apply to many of the facilities we work with at Prism.

  1. Review your utility data
    • Look at your historical data for demand peaks to better understand your situation. Platforms such as PUMA make this particularly easy and insightful
  1. Assess your current situation
    • Conduct a facility condition assessment to review the condition, capacity, and remaining asset life of your building systems. Pay particular attention to your current electrical service and identify where your bottleneck in capacity is.
  2. Determine your future electrical capacity needs
    • Consider future requirements for EV charging, electrification of HVAC systems, and increased cooling needs during extreme weather events.
  1. Free up spare electrical capacity using demand side management (DSM)
    • Minimize waste and maximize efficiency in your existing systems to reduce consumption and lower peak electrical demand requirements.
    • Energy audits and recommissioning can be great places to start to help identify ways to do this.
  1. Assess opportunities for energy supply resiliency
    • Alternative power sources such as solar photovoltaics and power banks may be good options for reducing your reliance on a single point of supply.
  2. Develop an implementation plan
    • The plan should balance the outcomes of the previous steps with asset renewal and emissions targets.
    • Develop a phased approach to upgrade your electrical service to allow for security of supply as we move into the future.
    • Seek incentive funding support where available to help with studies, plans, and upgrades.

If this approach sounds like something your facilities could benefit from, reach out to us and our Electrical team will be happy to work with you to identify your needs and provide customized recommendations.  Reach out to Faisal to learn more.