RMOW gets PowerSmart 

Investment in energy efficiency raises nearly $10,000 in credits

For the Resort Municipality of Whistler, a penny saved really is a penny earned these days when it comes to lowering power consumption.

A year ago the RMOW signed on with B.C. Hydro’s e.Points program, a PowerSmart initiative that challenges organizations to lower their energy consumption by 5 per cent or more. If an organization meets that goal, the value of the energy they saved is then given back to the organization in the form of e.Points, which can be redeemed for more power saving retrofits.

The RMOW saved $9,384.55 in the past year, compared to the previous year’s energy usage, primarily through the use of compact fluorescent bulbs, more efficient fixtures and lights operated by motion sensor. Staff education and participation also helped by encouraging staff to switch off lights and look for other ways to reduce energy consumption.

That money represents $9,384.55 in additional credits that the RMOW can use to buy energy efficient technologies.

"We’ll be continuing on with these types of programs, and find ways to increase the savings," said Marc Zurbuchen, the One Tonne Challenge co-ordinator for the RMOW. "Definitely (the investment in energy efficient technologies) has shown to make a difference, so that’s where we’re going to be looking.

"It’s cumulative. If we use the money they’ve given us to achieve five per cent savings again over this year’s bill, we’ll receive more e.Points to be used for more energy saving retrofits. It’s a great program – you save money by becoming more efficient, and you can use those points to save even more money."

Zurbuchen says there is still a lot of basic retrofitting to be done, including the installation of more sensors, more compact fluorescent bulbs and more power saving fixtures at municipal properties. After that there are still other opportunities to save energy, such as the use of more efficient appliances.

While the municipality will recoup its investment within a few years while reducing energy costs in the long-term, the RMOW also participated in the program to call attention to other programs that are available to businesses and residents in the community.

One example, said Zurbuchen, is the Government of Canada’s EnerGuide Program, which offers grants to households that retrofit their appliances with more energy efficient alternatives. Another example is B.C. Hydro’s PowerSmart program for businesses and residents.

"There are a lot of programs out there that can save you money, so one goal has been to get out there and try to get the awareness out for that," said Zurbuchen.

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