The City of Whitehorse will spend $655,000 to upgrade the waste heat recovery system at the Canada Games Centre.
At Whitehorse city council’s Nov. 23 meeting, members voted to add another $200,000 to the entire project budget over the $455,000 originally planned. They also voted to award the contract to install the system to Budget Plumbing & Heating, which had the lowest of three bids submitted on the installation work at $494,333. Adjustments were also made to the provisional operating budget for the next two years to reflect the expected cost savings.
The system uses energy from the CGC’s arenas to heat other parts of the recreational facility.
Richard Graham, the city’s manager of operations, explained in a previous report to council, design work on the system that wrapped up in August showed the construction costs would be significantly more than the $455,000 originally budgeted. Additional funding from the city’s portion of gas tax to cover the increased cost has been approved.
While the capital costs are higher than originally budgeted, it’s anticipated the new system will allow for savings on the operational side with the design work showing higher than expected cost savings.
The new system is anticipated to save approximately $42,500 in 2021 after it is installed and a further $85,000 each year going forward. The system will mean the city is burning less oil for heat than it does currently.
“Fortunately, higher-than-expected cost savings and GHG reductions indicated that the project was still viable with an improved payback period,” Graham said.
It’s anticipated the new system will see payback in 7.7 years compared to 10.1 years that were initially anticipated.
The city has an energy tracker that will be used to calculate the precise savings once the system is in place.
Coun. Steve Roddick described the project as a “no-brainer”, highlighting the anticipated operational savings and cuts to GHG emissions. He suggested work should also be done to look further into the cost of heating the CGC.
“This is a great initiative,” he said of the new waste heat recovery system.
Coun. Laura Cabott also voiced her support for the project, also pointing out the savings and pointing out the project aligns with council’s strategic priorities and the climate change emergency declared by council in 2019.
As stated in the strategic priorities document, “the City continuously strives to minimize its impact on the environment through strategic investments in greener buildings and vehicles, improvements in operations, enhanced energy management, and construction of infrastructure that encourages alternative transportation and is resilient to the impacts of climate change.
“In recognition of the impact climate change is having on our city and planet, city council declared a Climate Change Emergency in the city of Whitehorse on September 23, 2019. This declaration will lead to prioritization of actions for related operational improvements and capital investments. These investments allow both the corporation and the community to consume less energy and create fewer greenhouse gases, and enhance Whitehorse residents’ quality of life.”
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