Video feature highlights how our 20+ years partnership with Langara College has helped to decarbonize their operations
Building strong relationships with our customers is one of Prism’s core values. Our partnership with Langara College is no exception. As a forerunner of energy and emissions reduction in BC, Langara came to Prism in the late 1990’s looking for guidance for their voluntary reporting on carbon emissions to the Federal Government. Since then, our multi-disciplinary teams have been helping the college every step of the way in their energy and emissions reduction journey.
Our support has ranged from reporting GHG emissions to conducting energy audits and Low Carbon Electrification (LCE) projects, as well as creating a Strategic Energy, Management Plan (SEMP) and the implementation of deep carbon retrofit projects. Over 20+ years of our working relationship, not only are we proud to have actively participated in the evolution of their climate ambitions, but also in contributing to student academic success.
Most recently, Langara has taken another bold step towards creating a more sustainable campus with the implementation of a District Energy system that will significantly help to decarbonize their operations.
“Our success is really about their success. If they are able to meet the needs of students, staff, and the operations at Langara while reducing energy and carbon, then we’ve done a good job in helping them do that”, says Robert Greenwald, P. Eng., President of Prism Engineering.
Watch the video to discover how our strong working relationship with Langara College has helped them move towards their climate action goals:
Explore 20+ years of successful stories with Langara College:
Prism wins six ASHRAE Awards for projects in energy savings and decarbonization
The work conducted by Prism Engineering to support organizations in achieving higher energy efficiency while implementing measures to accelerate the decarbonization of their operations has been recognized with six ASHRAE BC Technology Awards for the years 2021-2022 and 2019-2020.
The awards recognize innovative projects that have been implemented for more than one year and with substantial results in the areas of occupant comfort, indoor air quality and energy conservation.
“These projects are great examples of our core values,” says Robert Greenwald, P.Eng., President of Prism Engineering. “We want our work to have an impact, we want to nurture strong relationships with our clients, we want to deliver quality projects that perform,” he adds.
From left to right: Tim Aske, P.Eng., Energy Team; Iram Green, P. Eng., Energy Team Leader; Stephen Kooiman, P. Eng., M.A.Sc, Mechanical Team Leader; Hamid Samani, P. Eng., Principal and Senior Mechanical Engineer; and David Roberts, P. Eng., Mechanical Engineer.
The award-winning projects are:
- BC Chapter Award for Hillcrest Community Centre Optimization and Second Place in Region XI in the Existing Commercial Building Category.
- First Place in Region XI and a BC Chapter Award for New Afton Mine Chiller Replacement in the Industrial Category.
- First Place Region XI, BC Chapter and Society Award for Kitsilano Community Centre Deep Carbon Retrofit. Existing Institutional Category.
- Second Place Region XI and BC Chapter Award for Surrey Taxation Data Center Boiler Replacement. Existing Commercial Building Category.
- Second Place Region XI and BC Chapter Award for Langara College Building A, AHU Upgrade. Existing Education Facilities Category.
- Second Place Region XI and BC Chapter Award for Richmond Hospital Cooling Upgrade. Existing Health Care Facilities Category.
Multi-step approach to achieve carbon reductions
There are some common traits among our award-winning projects. First, they all involved a multi-disciplinary team of Energy, Mechanical, and Electrical professionals from Prism. The large scale of the projects required a team approach with different areas of expertise to meet the objectives of each project.
Additionally, not only were the projects built upon a comprehensive study to assess best opportunities for energy savings, but most importantly to find new ways to advance decarbonization.
“This enabled us to present multiple options to the organizations, so that they could analyze each one of them carefully and make an informed decision”, explains Stephen Kooiman, P.Eng., M.A.Sc, Mechanical Team Leader. “They are all large projects with good energy savings and decarbonization opportunities. We achieved the biggest impact by focusing on where the most energy was being consumed,” Stephen says.
With the recommendations in hand at the end of the study phase, our team put in place an implementation plan that addressed both the client’s budget and an optimized pathway for energy and emission reductions.
“The retrofits go beyond energy savings to achieve significant carbon reductions using technologies that work”, explains Robert. “Our clients are making strides to meet their long-term carbon reduction targets and we are helping them on their journey. I am really proud of how our staff collaborate and challenge each other, on a continuous basis, to get the results and long-term performance demonstrated through these awards,” he adds.
Here is a brief overview of each award-winning project:
Hillcrest Community Centre
Project: System optimization, pool heating, and control system redesign.
Innovation: Redesign of pool heating, domestic hot water (DHW), and control systems to enable heat recovery in the facility.
Results: $92,000/year in energy cost savings and 700 tonnes of CO2e/year in GHG reduction.
New Afton Mine
Sarah Anderson, P. Eng., at New Afton Mine, receives the ASHRAE Award from Robert Greenwald, P. Eng., President of Prism Engineering.
Project: Chiller replacement
Innovation: Installation of low-pressure centrifugal water-cooled chiller to integrate existing fresh water supply into chillers’ condenser loop.
Results: 1,160 MWh/year reduction in electricity consumption.
Kitsilano Community Centre
Project: Heat recovery
Innovation: HVAC systems retrofit (rink and community centre facilities), with integrated ice plant recovery system connected to central heating plant of both buildings,
Results: $70,000/year in energy cost savings and 82% decrease in GHG emissions.
Surrey Taxation Data Centre
Project: Boiler replacement
Innovation: Implementation of dual return condensing boilers, with cascading loads and demand feedback, to allow building to operate in condensing mode during heating season.
Results: $28,000/year in energy and maintenance cost savings; 65.5 tonnes of CO2e/year in GHG reduction.
Langara College (Building A)
Project: HVAC upgrade
Innovation: Use of fan array and reconfiguration of AHU; upgrade with minimum disruption to campus life.
Results: $70,000/year in energy cost savings and more balanced efficiency among college buildings.
Project: Cooling upgrades for medical imaging and kitchen/cafeteria.
Innovation: Kitchen/cafeteria were shutdown for only three days during upgrades; improvements in ducting air intakes; new rooftop makeup air unit; renewed heat pumps and advanced control strategies.
Results: $4,200/year in energy cost savings and 22 tonnes of CO2e/year in GHG reduction.
All images © Google Earth except New Afton Mine
Understanding the City of Vancouver’s new carbon pollution limits
In response to the City of Vancouver’s Climate Emergency Action Plan, Vancouver City Council approved recommendations this past May to introduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emission regulations for existing large commercial and retail buildings. The regulations include GHG intensity (GHGi) limits and heat energy limits, as well as annual energy and carbon reporting requirements.
The GHG emissions and heating energy limits for these building types will require owners and energy utilities to plan for deep carbon retrofits and investments in alternative energy sources. Key highlights:
- The energy and carbon reporting requirements come into effect in 2024.
- The GHGi limits come into effect in 2026, with a proposed $350/tonne CO2e fee for emissions that exceed the limit.
- The heating energy limits come into effect in 2040, with a proposed $100/gigajoule fee for heating energy that exceeds the limit.
Other regions and cities, including Metro Vancouver, are now also considering following suit and introducing GHGi and heating energy limits for their regions.
Although the limits are a positive step towards decarbonizing the building sector, much work remains to be done to make these buildings comply with the regulations. Currently, many buildings do not meet the limits stipulated in the bylaw. According to PUMA’s 2021 office building benchmarking report only 10 per cent of buildings within the dataset currently fall within 2040 heat energy limits, 80 per cent fall within the 2026 GHGi limits, and 2 per cent fall within the 2040 GHGi net-zero limits. Although 2026 and 2040 may seem like the distant future, retrofitting buildings to achieve the deep reductions targeted takes several years, effort and cost. Getting an early start on this work is critically important.
The good news is that help is available. Several programs can be leveraged to support the transition to lower GHGi and heating energy in existing buildings.
- Deep carbon retrofit studies to assess potential technical solutions are often a great place to begin and allow for planning of upgrades over time.
- Low-carbon electrification and heating plant upgrades can be effective ways to reduce building GHGi and heating energy consumption.
- The PUMA online monitoring platform also offers an effective way to track carbon and energy to meet the reporting requirements the City of Vancouver will begin enforcing in 2024.
- Various funding streams also exist to help you move forward with these initiatives — check out this article we wrote recently on rebates and incentives.
Interested in finding out more about these new regulations and what they mean for your buildings?
Feel free to reach out to us — we’d be happy to chat. Contact Iram Green, Energy Team Lead, at email@example.com.
School Districts Large and Small find Value in PUMA
Two additional BC School Districts are now using PUMA (Prism Utility Monitoring and Analysis) to help them manage their energy and utility costs. PUMA is pleased to welcome School District 43 – Coquitlam and School District 92 – Nisga’a as new clients.
PUMA’s benchmarking capacity is a key draw for organizations like school districts because it helps them answer the question: How does this building compare to other similar buildings?
Benchmarking can provide valuable data for a small School District like Nisga’a, which is comprised of four schools Northwest of Terrace. PUMA’s benchmarking capacity allows SD 92 to compare its sites to sites of other school districts in the province providing a broader frame of reference for how much energy is being used. Similarly, a larger school district like SD 43 can use PUMA data to compare their sites’ performance to other larger school districts which helps in setting realistic targets.
PUMA is built to provide the information energy managers need to do their jobs effectively – including accurate and timely data collection, weather adjustment using baseline models and weather normalization, greenhouse gas reporting, and costs calculations. School districts use PUMA to drive operational improvements that reduce energy costs.
Of equal importance is that PUMA is supported by Prism Engineering’s team of technical staff who are passionate about saving energy and have played a leading role in Energy Management in BC and Western Canada for the past 25 years.