On May 6, 2014, FirstService Residential hosted a seminar for Strata Council Members on the topic of Energy Saving Solutions. The event featured a panel discussion with guest speakers Jeff Chiu (Community Network Manager, BC Hydro), Wes Nienaber (Key Account Manager for Condominiums, FortisBC), Colton Aston (Program Manager, FortisBC), and Danna Maclean (Power Pros Electrical). The event was hosted in the amenity room of Henley Court, a Strata Corporation proudly managed by FirstService Residential. The following is a general summary of discussion points from the event:

BC Hydro
  • Lighting accounts for the majority of a Strata’s energy consumption.
  • Since 2003, more than 9,400 Stratas have participated in BC Hydro’s Power Smart programs.
  • Incentives from BC Hydro are only provided through approved vendors.
  • A major Power Smart initiative has been encouraging residential properties to invest in more efficient lighting.
  • Here is a chart from BC Hydro that outlines the savings that can be earned by switching from traditional light bulbs to more efficient lighting. Click here to see chart.
  • Switching from T12 bulbs in common areas to T8 bulbs, which consume about 40% less energy and last longer, can help save your Strata money.
  • A quick way to implement more efficient lighting is by switching to Light Emitting Diode (LED) exit signs. These typically have a one year payback period.
  • Some success stories related to savings and payback are available on BC Hydro’s website by clicking here.
  • More information on Power Smart initiatives available to your Strata is available on the BC Hydro website at www.bchydro.com/powersmart.html
Power Pros (Electrical Vendor)
  • An electrical vendor approved by BC Hydro to assess your Strata for potential savings under the Power Smart program will actually apply for incentives on behalf of the Strata.
  • Retrofitting exterior lighting with LED bulbs is a project that can typically save 55% on the average consumption for exterior lighting.
  • Retrofitting swimming pool lights with LED bulbs is another way to reduce energy consumption in Stratas that have pools.
  • LED bulbs can typically last from 50,000 hours to 100,000 hours, whereas typical fluorescent lights usually last 10,000 hours to 40,000 hours. This difference means LED bulbs can be replaced less often, which saves a Strata on maintenance costs as well as reduced energy consumption.
  • Variable speed drives are also an option for the motors in your HVAC systems to reduce energy consumption. This is a retrofitting option that can be discussed with your electrical vendor.
  • Solar energy solutions are still quite expensive for Stratas and are mainly being used for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified developments.
  • Wind energy is popular energy source, however, storage limitations and sporadic wind patterns have limited it in becoming a practical energy source for residential Stratas.

  • BC holds 200 years worth of natural gas reserves. This has kept natural gas pricing quite stable, with price increases influenced mainly by inflation.
  • FortisBC runs an efficient boiler program, offering a rebate of $9/MBH to a maximum of $45,000 per boiler.
  • This efficient boiler program typically earns savings or 19% to 20% over existing boilers.
  • FortisBC also offers a “right-sizing bonus” for boilers that are sized in accordance with FortisBC guidelines. The bonus is $500 for boilers with an input rating of up to 1,500MBH and $1,000 for boilers with an input rating of more than 1,500MBH. This bonus applies to boilers being used for space heating.
  • An energy assessment is available from FortisBC to Stratas interested in having an efficiency advisor inspect a property for potential saving solutions. 
  • For more information on FortisBC’s efficient boiler programs, visit
We invite Council Members from all Strata Corporations to join us at our upcoming events. For more information visit our News and Events page by clicking here.
Thursday May 22, 2014