NB Power committed to reducing its environmental footprint.

NB Power is New Brunswick's largest electricity provider. It has approximately 2500 employees and operates generating facilities around the province to serve the energy needs of 347,000 customers.

Long in the business of generating and selling electricity, NB Power is also committed to reducing its environmental footprint. The company recently began looking for ways to reduce energy consumption in several of its buildings. As a result, it recently completed an energy efficiency retrofit at its Fredericton head office building on King Street.

The King St. building was built in 1983 and is a nine storey building, 13,750 square metres in size. This building and an adjacent building house about 500 employees who work in a number of departments.

As a participant in Efficiency NB’s Energy Smart Commercial Buildings Retrofit Program, NB Power hired local engineering company MCW Maricor, to conduct a comprehensive energy audit of its building to identify potential energy-saving upgrades and calculate the projected investment payback period. As a result the company completed a number of upgrades, including, the installation of a heat recovery unit and new heat pump controls to optimize performance and time of day scheduling of the unit.

NB Power upgraded controls for the building’s heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) unit, which included occupancy sensors and night setback to ensure the unit is on only when the building is occupied, installed a new cooling tower and controls, and variable speed drives on fans and circulating pumps which reduce energy use by minimizing operation whenever possible.

The upgrades cost $690,000 and have resulted in reducing energy consumption in the building by 5,222 giga joules and reducing energy costs by about $125,000 a year or about 26 per cent. With an estimated payback period of 5.5 years, the upgrades have been considered a great success.

Warren McLaughlin, project manager with NB Power’s corporate facilities management says that in addition to the energy savings, employees who work in the building, and those visiting the building are also benefitting from improved air quality and increased fresh air circulation as a result of the new equipment and controls that have been installed which help the system run more efficiently.

In addition to reducing energy use, this project has helped NB Power reduce its environmental footprint by reducing green house gas emissions by 1232 tonnes which is equal to taking 235 cars off the road for one year.