These questions reflect some of the common inquiries from community leagues on sustainability. 

 

Still have questions?

Contact us at GreenLeagues@efcl.org 

Sustainable Buildings

Energy Audits

  • What is an Energy Audit?

An energy audit is a detailed inventory of the energy performance in a building.

  • How does getting an Energy Audit to benefit my community league?

The information obtained from an energy audit is used to identify opportunities to improve efficiency, decrease energy costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. The measures outlined by an Energy Audit make community league halls easier to operate, cheaper to maintain and also increase the comfort of those using the facility.  

Energy audits also verify the effectiveness of Energy Management Opportunities that have already been implemented within a facility.

  • How can I get an energy audit completed for our facility?

Community leagues can reach out to certified energy auditors that will take on the work as a contractor.

Currently, the Government of Alberta’s NEET (Non-profit Energy Efficiency Transition) Program provided funding for non-profits and volunteer-based organizations in Alberta to obtain detailed energy audits and create energy management plans. NEET covers 100% of the direct costs, up to $12,000. Find more information here:

https://www.alberta.ca/energy-efficiency-neet-program.aspx

 

Energy Efficiency Upgrades / Installation

Lighting Upgrades

  • What is LED lighting?

LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) use a semiconductor to produce light in a process that is much more efficient and a much longer lifespan than traditional incandescent lights.

  • Will switching to LEDs affect the color/appearance of our facility?

While early versions of LED did tend to have a blue tint, modern LEDs are now being designed on the Kelvin scale. On this scale bulbs with a low number give off a warmer light (yellowish), while bulbs with high number give off a cooler light (blueish) so you don’t have to worry about the effect on appearance.

  • What other kinds of upgrades can we do to our lighting?

The other side of lighting upgrades is reducing how often the lights are on. This kind of upgrade can exist at multiple levels of implementation:

  1. Encouraging users to turn off the lights when they leave a room
  2. Add dimmer switches to provide an appropriate amount of lighting. With LED lights, the effect of dimming lights to power use is fairly linear.
  3. Program the lighting system onto timers and/ or occupancy sensors. This ensures that energy is only being used at appropriate times / when there is someone using the facility.
  • How does upgrading our lighting improve our facility?

With their high efficiency and lifespan, the new lights will translate into energy savings, maintenance savings, and environmental sustainability. Replacing outdated lighting system have a fat return on investment – paying for themselves in three to five years (on average). Adding dimmers, timers, or occupancy sensor also improve the control and comfort of the building.

 

  • How can I upgrade lighting in our facility?

Energy Audits will outline any Energy Conservation Measures that are relate to lighting. Acting on these measures can include: LED lights, dimmer switches, timers and sensors all of which can be purchased at various hardware/home improvement retailers. The Government of Alberta has run various online or instore rebates on lighting upgrades. Check in here to see if there are any current savings for lighting systems:

https://www.efficiencyalberta.ca/residential/

For larger project, an electrical contractor can be used to complete the project. Consider following up with the contractor as they often can complete the outlined tasks or have someone else they trust to do the work. Also, the EFCL’s Energy Transition Officer is here to help with contractor vetting. Contact them at:

Greenleagues@efcl.org

 

 

Heat and Cooling Upgrades

  • How can I upgrade our facility, so we need less energy to heat / cool it?

Upgrading the building envelope to ensure that the building is air-tight and well insulated. Making sure the basement, walls, windows, doors, and roof are not leaky improves the energy efficiency of all buildings.

Make sure that your HVAC system had normal maintenance and records, to ensure optimal performance.

  • My community’s leagues heating system is old and needs to be replaced soon, what should we look for?

Installing a high-efficiency furnace (95 % AFUE rating for gas-fired furnaces, 90% AFUE rating for condensing furnaces or boilers) will start to save you money right away.

Also consider electricity-based options, like electric furnaces or alternatives like airs-sourced or ground-source heat pump systems.

Combining the new heating system with a programmable thermostat will maximize the savings that can be made without compromising the thermal comfort of users.

  • How can I upgrade heating and cooling in our facility?

Energy Audits will also outline any Energy Conservation Measures that are related to heating and cooling. Acting on these measures can include: adding insulation, upgrading windows and doors, weatherproofing, and upgrades to the HVAC system. The Government of Alberta has run various online or instore rebates on building envelope and HVAC upgrades. Check in here to see if there are any current savings for heating/cooling systems:

https://www.efficiencyalberta.ca/residential/

For a larger project, an HVAC contractor can be used to complete the project. If you completed an energy audit, consider following up with the contractor as they often can complete the outlined tasks or have someone else they trust to do the work. Also, the EFCL’s Energy Transition Officer is here to help with contractor vetting. 

 

Water Consumption

  • How can our facilities use less energy to heat water?

Community leagues typically have sporadic hot water usage, so using a hot water tank can waste a lot of energy since the water is constantly being heated but not used. It may be beneficial to upgrade into a tankless (on-demand) water heater which does not have the standby energy losses. On-demand water heater are expensive, so it is best to work with a professional to determine if it will be a good investment for your community league. 

  • How can our facility use less water?

Installing low-flush toilets and low flow faucets/showerheads are water conversation fixtures that also reduce the costs of water to the facility.

Rain barrels to capture and rainwater for irrigation instead of tap water will reduce your water bill as well.

  • How can I reduce water consumption in our facility?

Depending on the scope of the energy audit, there may be upgrades outlined in the audit. Again, consider following up with the contractor that completed the audit to start implementing the conservation methods. The EFCL’s Energy Transition Officer can help with vetting a plumber to make the upgrades happen as well.

The Government of Alberta has run various online or instore rebates on water-efficient appliances  Check in here to see if there are any current savings for heating / cooling systems:

https://www.efficiencyalberta.ca/residential/

 

Solar PV

  • Why should we install solar panels at our facility?

A solar PV system provides a return on investment while reducing your environmental footprint. They supply electricity for years after the initial financial investment has been paid back. Solar PV system also buffers the facility against utility companies’ rate changes and shifting electricity prices.

  • How will the panels provide our facility power when it is not sunny out?

Most urban solar PV systems are grid-tied, which means they are safely connected to the normal utility grid. When the sun is out and there is excess solar production, the electricity is exported to the grid and the facility is credited by the utility provider. At night or when cloudy, the electricity is bought back from the grid.

  • What happens to the solar panels in winter?

Layers of snow on top of the panels will reduce the production of the panels, but it is much less than you may think. 5 years of local data was collected at NAIT and the results showed that snowfall caused a 3% energy loss. Read more here:

http://www.techlifetoday.ca/articles/2018/solar-shines-in-dead-of-winter-even-in-edmonton

Overall, system owners can expect to overproduce in the summer, while underproducing in the winter.

  • How can we pay for the solar PV?

Investment into a solar PV system can be an expensive initial cost, but currently, there are Provincial and Municipal program that, together, cover up to a third of the installation costs:

https://solar.efficiencyalberta.ca/

http://ace.edmonton.ca/energuide/solar-rebate-program/

There are also several grants available for community leagues to access in order to pay for the systems. You can find a list of sustainability-centric grants here:

https://efcl.org/res/master-green-grant-opportunities-2018--green-grants--updated.pdf

Together, the rebates and grant funding can make community solar project very affordable.

  • How can I get a solar PV project started for my facility?

Contact a solar contractor, and they will evaluate the viability and performance that a solar PV system will have at your facility. Getting quotes from several contractors allows to you compare options and get the system that is best for you. Once again, the Energy Transition Officer is here to help you with any questions you might have.

 

Have more questions about solar, check out our previously published Solar FAQ for more specifics

 

 

 

Sustainable People

This section is currently being created. If you have a topic that you want to see us cover, please email us at greenleagues@efcl.org . 

 

Sustainable Communities

This section is currently being created. If you have a topic that you want to see us cover, please email us at greenleagues@efcl.org .  

EFCL Offices:

7103 105 St NW
Edmonton, AB
T6E 4G8 Canada

P: +1.780.437.2913
F: +1.780.437.4710

Hours: Mon to Fri, 8:30 to 4:30