New Wastewater Project to Cut Costs and Conserve Energy

City of Kelowna, Government of Canada and Direct Energy Pitch in to Make Project a Reality

Okanagan University College (OUC) and the City of Kelowna are embarking on an innovative project that is considered leading edge in energy conservation measures.

The Waste Water Heat Reclamation Project, which is being partially funded by Natural Resources Canada's Energy Innovators Initiative and Aquila Networks Canada, will use the clear water discharge from the City's Water Treatment Plant on Raymer Road as a heat source for OUC's South Kelowna Campus.

"This project is just one of a number of initiatives that OUC is implementing at its two Kelowna Campuses to reduce costs and conserve energy," says OUC President Dr. Katy Bindon. "With these initiatives we expect to save more than $300,000 annually in energy costs. But more importantly, we will be making a positive impact on the environment. The resulting reductions in carbon dioxide are equivalent to planting 418 acres of trees or taking 166 cars off the road."

"The Government of Canada is pleased to support the ground-breaking wastewater reclamation project as well as other energy conservation measures being undertaken at OUC with a grant of more than $142,000 from the Energy Innovators Initiative program," Senator Ross Fitzpatrick said at a news conference. "The environmental benefits of these initiatives in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions are an investment in our region's future and reflect Canada's commitment to the Kyoto Protocol."

"The end result of the Waste Water Reclamation Project also will reduce the temperature of the water discharge flowing into our beautiful Okanagan Lake," said Kelowna Mayor Walter Gray. "The City of Kelowna has a history of being environmentally conscious. We are pleased to partner with OUC in a project that sets such a creative example for other communities that are concerned with energy conservation and climate change."

"These initiatives will enhance operating conditions, replace and significantly improve the core heating, cooling and ventilation systems and reduce energy and operating costs at both campuses," says Aidan Kiernan, associate vice president (Campus Development and Facilities Management). "They also will produce multiple benefits through energy efficiency, pollution prevention and environmental enhancements."

OUC has contracted Direct Energy Business Services to administer the project.

"As the energy services partner, we're excited to be part of this creative solution," commented Gary Parke, vice president and general manager, Direct Energy Business Services. "It's a unique project that will deliver both an environmental and economic return on investment. OUC has set a new standard in considering how organizations assess both the impact on their environment as well as the financial return."

OUC's heating plant will be upgraded with new high efficiency boilers and heat pumps and chillers that will tie into the existing system. The new system will take the clear water discharge from the city's wastewater plant, heat it and then supply it to the existing underground heating lines leading to all the buildings at the South Kelowna Campus. Total cost to implement all of the energy conservation initiatives will be about $2.4 million, says Kiernan.

"We are proud to be doing our part to contribute to Canada's Climate Change Plan," Bindon said. "It is part of a university's role to be on the leading edge. This project allows us to fulfill that role, save energy and practice sound fiscal responsibility."

Direct Energy

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