It started with a simple statement, “why not do it now, while we can prepare and plan, rather than have to scramble to replace our aging furnace when it fails in the middle of winter.”
This thinking lead Burnewood Community League to decrease their electricity bill by approximately 44%, through the power of energy efficiency.
Burnewood Community League’s Vice President Langis Bernier spearheaded this change, driven by his desire to make have a lasting impact on the community.
To do this, Langis first attended the Green Leagues Energy 101 Workshop Series. This set of four workshops aimed at different energy sustainability topics armed him with knowledge, resources and steps to move forward with these ideas. From the workshops, Langis learned that an important part of energy management is baseline measurements and assessments to fully understand where you are and the best way forward for your project. Burnewood Hall underwent an energy audit and a solar energy assessment. The solar assessment evaluated the ability of their building to produce solar energy. While the audit informed them of items they could change in the building to save on energy. The audit pointed to simple things like changing to LED light bulbs inside and out, replacing window and door seals, and programmable thermostats. More than that, the audit told them that they needed more attic insulation, an energy miser on their skate shack vending machine, and a thermostat control on their domestic hot water circulation pump. With a full understanding of their hall and the potential projects that would improve the use and comfort of the building, Burnewood Community Leagues chose to focus on making the building as energy efficient as possible.
How did a small community run by dedicated volunteers pay for all these new things? They took advantage of the multitude of grants from a variety of sources that are available to community leagues. Edmonton’s Community League Infrastructure Program (CLIP), Alberta’s Taking Action to Manage Energy (TAME+), Community Facility Enhancement Program (CFEP), and the Energizing Communities Award presented by Enmax were the biggest funding contributors. The league itself contributed tons of volunteer time and energy to make this project the huge success that it was.
A 44% reduction in electricity costs is nothing to scoff at, especially for a volunteer-led community organization. This has freed up funds for the league to continue to do what they excel at: providing programs and services while advocating for the Burnewood community. Langis also sees other benefits too. These changes have sparked many conversations about energy and how it's used. Those that were intimately involved in the project, the project team and the board, were able to have first-hand experience with this type of project. But visitors to the hall watched these changes too, sparking many community conversations about energy and conservation!
Do you want to make similar changes in your community? Langis suggests the first step is to learn as much as you can. Take workshops offered by the EFCL’s Green Leagues program, through the City of Edmonton, or by outside organizations. Learn all you can to help you make an impact in your community league.
For tools, resources and more information, contact the Green Leagues Program at GreenLeagues@efcl.org.