Alternative Energy Sources in Regional Facilities
What is the indicator and why measure it?
This indicator measures research completed by the Region on energy sources alternative to traditional non-renewable forms and the amount of energy output created by alternative energy sources. These measures can be calculated into corresponding savings in greenhouse gas emission and savings in utility bills. Implementing alternative energy systems in our Regional facilities will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and will demonstrate an integrated approach to environmental sustainability.
Alternative energy research and implementation
The Region has conducted studies and pilot projects to research the viability of utilizing renewable or alternative energy sources in Regional facilities. The following energy investigations were completed between 2008 and 2011:
- Wind generation feasibility study.
- Solar heating systems pilot project.
- Additional solar photovoltaic systems study
- Geothermal system cost benefit study
- Biogas expansion study
- Solar hot water system
Based on the research, the Region to date has implemented the following systems:
- Geothermal systems at Sunnyside Home and Regional Library Headquarters.
- Solar photovoltaic systems at Operations Centre and EMS Fleet Centre.
- Solar hot water system at a Regional daycare facility n Cambridge.
Additionally, the Region commits to installing 2.2MW of solar photovoltaic systems on 37 Regional buildings under the Provincial "Feed-in-Tariff" program.
Case Example: Methane Gas Conversion to Electricity at Waterloo Landfill
In addition to the pilot projects for the renewable energy sources, the Region's landfill has been operating a gas power plant to convert methane gas emissions into electricity since September 1999. Methane gas is a normal emission from municipal landfills and is a potent greenhouse gas. These emissions would usually go into the earth's atmosphere by natural processes or is flared periodically.
The graph below indicates the amount of methane gas captured and power produced from the Erb St. landfill during this decade. The power produced is distributed to the provincial power grid as an alternative energy source. In Cambridge, landfill gas is captured and sold directly to an adjacent industrial facility to reduce their natural gas requirements.