Rio Terrace Community League – a great place for family and community!
This is the slogan for the West Edmonton Community League, but what happen to Community Leagues when they have to deal with an aging community hall and infrastructure that needs replacement?
Rio Terrace Community League was able to use this situation to identify sustainable opportunities that will continue to make their community a great place. Lance Burns, President of Rio Terrace Community League happily shares that “we have people willing to work together for the benefit of others.
Rio Terrace knew that they needed to replace equipment in the hall that was near its end of life and they saw this as an opportunity to create long term efficiency for the hall as well as support the league’s financial health.
By attending the Green Leagues Energy 101 workshops, the Community League was able to find out about what energy efficiency, solar, and funding opportunities were available to them. Using four funding sources, the Community League was able to start on their sustainability plan.
Getting an energy audit done, by Generate Energy, allowed for several energy conversation measures to be identified and prioritized. Energy efficiency upgrades like weatherization of doors, new high-efficiency furnaces, programmable thermostats, and a tankless hot water heater increased the building envelope and thermal comfort for community members. Lighting upgrades like interior LED lighting and new LED rink and tennis court lights reduced the electricity consumption and energy bills for the hall.
All these energy efficiency upgrades were only the first part of Rio Terrace’s sustainability goals. They also wanted to install solar photovoltaics to generate their own energy. Brett Myers, director at Rio Terrace, combined his interest in learning more about solar and helping the community league by taking a class hosted by the Solar Energy Society of Alberta (SESA). This opportunity gave Brett the knowledge to guide the community league through the solar project. A 27.2 kW solar PV system was installed, by Kuby Energy, in September of 2018.
Between the energy efficiency upgrades and solar PV system, the community league is now expected to be a net zero electricity building. Yearly, with overproduction in the summer and buying back from the grid in the winter, Rio Terrace will generate as much energy as they consume. This massive reduction in the Community League’s environmental footprint can be equated by an estimated annual reduction of 14 tonnes of Greenhouse Gas emissions.
Helping the hall become more of a point of pride of the community as also an important goal for the community league. Comprised of 3 neighborhoods – Rio Terrace, Patricia Heights, and Quesnel Heights, the Community League has done some great work in community engagement. On December of 2018, Rio Terrace hosted a SESA event, where community members could learn about the upgrades made at the hall, talk to the contractors, and be inspired to make their own sustainable choices at home. With a daycare program and two schools nearby, Lance also sees an opportunity to educate local children on the benefits that the community leagues have seen from its sustainability initiatives. “The relationships between people are what keeps our community vibrant. This is where the work is most rewarding,” says Lance.
If your community league is interested in your own sustainability initiatives, Brett highlights how there are so many reasons to pursue a project like this. Triple bottom line – people, planet, and profit – aside, community-level sustainability can be a great volunteer experience. “For the right volunteer, this type of project is a wellspring in terms of project management experience and networking.” Community leagues have a long history of passionate volunteers, and we continue to see Edmontonians make sustainable actions through leagues.
If you are feeling inspired by Rio Terrace Community League, the EFCL can help you get started. The Green Leagues program offers workshops, resources, and tools to help guide your sustainability initiatives to success.
This spotlight was written by the EFCL’s Energy Transition Officer, Ronak Patel.