Archives for April 2014

Green Jobs BC event – Chilliwack – Tuesday May 13 from 7 – 9:15 p.m.

green jobs BC logo

Join leaders of some of BC’s foremost unions and environmental groups to hear about how to create green jobs and build a cleaner, stronger economy in BC at a special event in Chilliwack from 7  to 9:15 p.m.

This Green Jobs BC free event takes place at the Sto:lo Resource Centre, Building 10, 7201 Vedder Road in Chilliwack.

Green Jobs BC event – Gibsons – Saturday April 26 from 2 – 4:30 p.m.

green jobs BC logo

Join leaders of some of BC’s foremost unions and environmental groups to hear about how to create green jobs and build a cleaner, stronger economy in BC at a special event in Gibsons from 2  to 4:30 p.m.

This Green Jobs BC free event co-sponsored by the Sunshine Coast Labour Council takes place at the Kinsmen Hall, 399 Aldersprings Road in Gibsons.


Celebrate Earth Day – Tuesday April 22 – in Vancouver, Surrey and BC!

Earth Day Canada 2014

Earth Day on Tuesday April 22  is the biggest celebration of the year about the need to save our planet.

You can join in at Earth Day events across British Columbia on Earth Day and the weekend following.

In Vancouver, Earth Day volunteers will assemble to plant native trees and shrubs at Everett Crowley Park (entrance at Kerr Street and 64th Avenue) in Southeast Vancouver on Saturday, April 26th – from 11 am until 3 pm.

The old Kerr Road Dump is now a natural green refuge for people and wildlife, where reforesting work continues each year on Earth Day.  Earth Day at Everett Crowley Park offers a wide range of free family-oriented fun including professional performers, music, dancing, cultural and ecological exhibits, and very special children’s activities.

The entertainment, exhibits and activities are all free and wheelchair accessible. This annual event is organized by local residents, and is supported by local businesses and the City of Vancouver. Food vendors will be on site.

In Surrey, a “Party for the Planet” takes place on Saturday, April 26 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. with a wide variety of events, all happening at The Plaza at New City Hall, 13450 104th Avenue.

You can check for other events in British Columbia – and elsewhere – at Earth Day Canada’s website.

BC Insulators at Canada Green Building Conference – Toronto June 2-4

Building Lasting Change 2014 expo

The BC Insulators will be at the Canada Green Building Council Expo and Conference in Toronto from June 2 to 4 – spreading the message about the 1% Solution – Mechanical Insulation.

The 2014 Conference theme is Building Lasting Change – Exploring the Value of Green Building.

The BC Insulators will share a booth with the Insulators union Local 95 from Ontario – come by and say hello if you are there.

According to Conference organizers, this year’s program will address new information on the business case and performance of green buildings, but also embrace the broader value proposition of building green. Going beyond the operational savings, the focus will be on emerging benefits that are now becoming better understood such as:

  • Enhanced health and well-being;
  • Tenant attraction and retention; and
  • Innovation and job growth with linkages to enhancing corporate social responsibility, shareholder value, environmental quality, livability and international trade.

The conference is Canada’s largest green building event,

Lee Loftus and Cher Hanusiak: Save energy and the planet with mechanical insulation

Lee LoftusCher-headshot-1

Published in The Province newspaper, Sunday April 6, 2014

“Waste not, want not.” — Benjamin Franklin, 1706-1790

With Earth Day coming up on April 22, we will hear about “greener” energy efficient buildings and alternative power sources like solar panels. But the simplest and most economical way of saving money and the planet isn’t new — it’s old.

The best way to save energy follows what Benjamin Franklin said — don’t waste it — and the way to do that is through mechanical insulation of pipes and other mechanical systems.

Properly installed mechanical insulation can reduce our carbon footprint, lower greenhouse gas emissions, use less energy, cut costs and pay for itself in a remarkably short period of time.

And with B.C. Hydro rates going up 28 per cent over five years and ever-rising bills for other heating fuel, it’s an opportune time to discuss how individuals and businesses alike can save money by cutting energy consumption — and how government can help too.

The Green Chamber of Commerce B.C., the B.C. Insulators union and the Mechanical Contractors Association of B.C. have come together to promote sustainable, environmentally sound approaches to the challenges businesses face today.

Growing a sustainable economy that embraces people, the planet and profit is the Green Chamber’s mission, while the B.C.

Insulators have helped construct energy-efficient buildings for more than 50 years.

Mechanical insulation is rightly called the one-per-cent solution because it amounts to only one per cent of the construction costs of a new building. When done correctly, mechanical insulation pays for itself in energy savings in record time.

For example, if appropriate mechanical insulation were utilized in a new 25-storey, electrically heated residential apartment building, the annual energy savings would be 320,000 kilowatt hours.

That’s 14 per cent of total energy consumption — an enormous amount in just one year!

And mechanical insulation would reduce greenhouse-gas emissions of carbon dioxide by an amazing 58.8 tonnes annually.

The best part is that the payback period for investing in proper mechanical insulation during construction is estimated at less than 2.7 years, based purely on energy cost savings.

A study by HB Lanarc Consultants commissioned by the B.C. Insulators documented these savings and showed how retrofitting older buildings with proper mechanical insulation also pays for itself in short order.

Energy savings for a four-storey, wood-frame residential building 20 to 40 years old would cover the cost of retrofitted mechanical insulation in less than four years.

There are still more benefits: reduced noise through properly insulated heating and cooling equipment; increased fire prevention and better protection of mechanical systems from fire damage; and eliminating condensation and resulting mould, avoiding expensive repairs.

Lower energy bills, significant greenhouse-gas reductions and a quick return on the costs — the only question is: Why isn’t this happening all over Canada? Fortunately, more people are getting the message, including many B.C. municipalities that have endorsed better mechanical insulation.

Unfortunately, too often corners get cut during construction to reduce the purchase price and as a result, mechanical insulation is often inadequate and improperly installed by untrained workers.

The goal of developers, architects and construction contractors is to sell units, not guarantee lower operating costs — but it’s the end user who would see the energy savings benefits.

What can be done to ensure mechanical insulation is more broadly used as a cost-effective solution?

Utility companies are already very interested and can offer rebates for energy-efficient buildings.

The provincial and federal governments should play a huge role by amending building codes to demand best practices and appropriate installation of effective mechanical insulation, while doing the same for their own buildings.

Homebuyers and businesses can still demand proper mechanical insulation in new buildings or look at retrofits to quickly cut energy costs. This Earth Day it’s the easiest and most economical way to go green every day.

Lee Loftus is business manager of the B.C. Insulators union, local 118. Cher Hanusiak is a director of the Green Chamber of Commerce of B.C.