The city of Thunder Bay saved over $300,000 alone just through the process of developing an energy plan. Further savings are expected as employees apply their knowledge to investigate and implement energy efficiency initiatives.

On Monday, December 5th, Thunder Bay City Council approved The Strategic Approach to Corporate Energy Management (Energy Plan) which supports the 2011-2014 City of Thunder Bay Strategic Plan.

Implementing Energy Management initiatives and pursuing the wise use of energy are two of the easiest strategies for meeting energy demands. These initiatives lead to many other environmental, economic and social benefits. According to Michael Smith, General Manager Facilities & Fleet Department “The City of Thunder Bay’s Strategic Approach to Corporate Energy Management fulfills many objectives to manage and maintain our daily operations. Not only does this Approach meet the goal set out within the 2011-2014 Strategic Plan, but, it also aligns with the Community Environmental Action Plan’s goal to reduce energy consumption within our operations. This not only leads to greenhouse gas emission reductions, but a more efficient and fiscally accountable operation.

The Energy Plan is meant to be a living, flexible roadmap that provides guidance and encourages Corporate Departments to incorporate energy management into their short and long term decisions. The primary focus for the initial implementation of the Energy Plan will be to build organizational capacity and build a foundation for strategic energy management framework. Secondary implementation plans will allow employees to apply their knowledge to investigate and implement energy efficiency initiatives that will emerge as the energy management field continues to evolve.

Although this Plan was just approved by Council, energy savings have already been realized according to Vanessa DeGiacomo-Zwaresh, Energy Analyst with the Facilities and Fleets Department. So far Vanessa and her team have been able to save the City an estimated $300,000 in energy costs and/or cost avoidance, just over the period of time in which the Plan was being written and finalized. The vision of the Strategic Approach to Energy Management is to reduce total energy consumption and transition to a carbon neutral future through the wise and efficient use of energy and resources, while still maintaining an efficient and effective level of services to our customers and the general public. Through implementing the proposed process improvements and program implementation initiatives, and aligning with the projects detailed in the capital asset renewal programs, the proposed initiatives have an anticipated annual consumption savings of 2% to 5%.

“This Plan is a living document that will provide a roadmap and build internal energy management knowledge and awareness that will provide a foundation for successful energy management decisions and actions within all City Departments for the next 3 years and beyond”, according to David Arkell, President and CEO, 360 Energy Inc. of Burlington, whose firm facilitated the initial planning process and built up the Corporations skills and successes to begin the journey to sustainable energy management.

This Energy Plan will provide the foundation for the requirements of the energy and conservation demand management plans required by the Province’s Green Energy Act, which must be in place for all municipalities by July, 2013.