Government programs promote health-care energy efficiency

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At one time the phrase “I’m from the government and I’m here to help!” would have meant immediate suspicions if not absolute panic. Today, at least as it relates to the help available from Natural Resource Canada’s Office of Energy Efficiency, the help is genuine and …useful. And it comes in a number of formats including tools, services and financial incentives geared to assisting Canadian health-care facilities become more energy efficient.

However, often knowing where to begin is the biggest stumbling block when embarking upon an energy retrofit or setting out criteria for a new building. The Dollars to $ense workshops including “Spot The Energy Savings Opportunities”, “Energy Monitoring and Tracking” and “Energy Master Plan” offered by NRCan form an excellent entry stage. Consisting of three one-day hands-on sessions, the workshops offer some of the most up-to-date energy expertise available at a very reasonable cost.

Over 3,500 registrants from organizations across Canada have been able to identify lower operating costs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase operational efficiencies and create a healthier work environment by adopting the energy efficiency savings tips learned at the workshops.

Workshops specific to your individual facility or regional needs can also be developed and delivered in an affordable and timely fashion. For more Dollars to $ense workshop information contact NRCan at 1-613-996-6585 or http:/oee.nrcan.gc.ca/workshops

Energy Innovators Initiative (Innovators)The Energy Innovators Initiative (Innovators) is a voluntary federal government initiative designed to help commercial businesses and public institutions explore energy efficiency options and strategies. Your health care organization can save money and help the environment at the same time. The initiative offers members access to an array of tools, services and financial incentives – delivered through an Energy Innovators Officer who will be assigned to work with you after you send in your letter of registration.

“Innovators” provides help in developing energy management plans for existing buildings, customized technical expertise, assistance in monitoring energy savings, advice on financing options for retrofit projects and opportunities to promote an organization’s energy efficiency achievements. Look also to the Energy Innovators for advice on alternative financing options for retrofit projects, information on developments in energy-efficient technologies, newsletters, success stories & other publications plus an opportunity to promote organizational achievements. With Energy Retrofit Assistance, incentives of up to $250,000, Innovators is certainly worth investigating.

The financial assistance is designed to stimulate the development, implementation and replication of new energy measures in existing buildings and represents part of the Government of Canada Action Plan on Climate Change announced in November 2001.

For more information on services provided via the Energy Innovators Initiative, please contact Arlene Wilson, Energy Innovator Officer at 1-613-943-0647, awilson@nrcan.gc.ca or visit (http://www.oee.nrcan.gc.ca/eii/english/home.cfm) to learn more.

Commercial Building Incentive Program (CBIP)To help assure that your new health care building will have the least possible impact upon our fragile environment while still providing you with a healthy and energy-efficient building in which to offer medical and health care services, look to the Commercial Buildings Incentive Program (CBIP) at http://oee.nrcan.gc.ca/cbip.htm

To qualify for up to $60,000 in CBIP funding, applicants must clearly show that their new building is at least 25 percent more energy efficient than the Model National Energy Code for Buildings (MNECB). Buildings under 4645 square meters (50,000 square feet) may follow a predetermined prescription of energy efficiency criteria. Larger buildings can take advantage of NRCan’s new EE4 energy performance simulation software to show that the design meets or surpasses the 25-percent qualifying level. In many cases, bringing a design up to the standards will add little or nothing to the capital cost of the new building.

An increasing number of Canadian designers, architects and engineers have been following the trend of incorporating a high degree of energy efficiency into their designs from the start. Owners are also recognizing the long-term financial and environmental benefits of lower operating costs but are often reluctant to pursue advanced building design because of the perceived extra costs associated with energy-efficient designs. “This does not have to be the case – facilities that use 35 percent less energy at no additional capital cost are feasible,” claims Murray Guy of Integrated Controls.

“We have to operate this facility in the long term, so we knew if we stuck to the criteria of CBIP, we would have not only long-term cost savings but also an energy-efficient building,” said Deborah Hammons, Executive Director, Fairhaven (Peterborough ON)

“We would also be doing our part to be good stewards of our environment.”

With a little help from CBIP your new building can be a model of energy efficiency while also demonstrating your strong sense of ongoing commitment to fiscal and environmental responsibility.

An ever-increasing number of Canadian hospitals and health care facilities are seeing the merit in adopting a green, energy efficient and environmentally responsible stance and are doing so with the assistance of Canada’s Office of Energy Efficiency. They are setting up ‘green teams’ and environmental committees, encouraging alternative travel (bicycles, car pools, etc.) among employees, adopting pesticide-free grounds, and commencing in-house employee awareness campaigns. Others are pledging their formal support to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions below the 1990 levels by joining the Energy Innovators Initiative of Natural Resources Canada. Are you doing your part?