Solar Power Heats Water for Canadian Airport

Vancouver International Airport Authority added a new solar-powered hot water heating system in the airport’s domestic terminal building that will contribute to savings of nearly CAD$90,000 (US$67,500) and 8,569 gigajoules (approximately 2.4 million kWh) per year. The 100 solar panels installed on the roof of the building, will help to generate enough energy to heat an average of 800 gallons of hot water at Vancouver International Airport (YVR) each hour.

Richmond, British Columbia – October 9, 2003 [] The CAD$500,000 (US$375,000) project was paid for in part through CAD$85,000 (US$64,000) of incentive funding through BC Hydro’s Power Smart Program. According to Ali Hounsell, Vancouver International Airport Authority Manager of Media Relations, the airport’s new renewable energy technology addition to the airport terminal is the largest solar-powered hot water heating system in British Columbia. For the past decade, Vancouver International Airport Authority, a community-based, not-for-profit organization, has managed YVR, an airport that accommodated 14.9 million passengers, approximately 235,000 tons of cargo and 258,000 takeoffs and landings last year. “In 2002, the Airport Authority was recognized by BC Hydro as their first ‘Power Smart Certified’ customer, because of the initiatives already taken by the Airport Authority to help save energy,” said Hounsell. “These initiatives included the installation of monitors that automatically turn off power in areas not in use and automatic blinds that are sensitive to light.” Over the past year, Vancouver International Airport Authority and BC Hydro have worked in tandem to reduce energy consumption and energy costs at YVR. The savings associated with the installation of the solar panel heating system will add to the nearly CAD$2 million (US$1.5 million) saved to-date through various Power Smart and energy reduction initiatives already put in place at the airport. “The solar-powered water-heating system represents the latest step in our commitment to further reduce energy consumption,” said Hounsell. “But our decision was also based on cost.” Housnell said that when the 30-year-old boilers at the airport needed to be replaced, the Airport Authority had the freedom to choose any type of energy available to power the new system. But investigations proved that the solar power made the most sense economically and environmentally. “The solar panel installation is another example of how YVR is leading the way in large-scale energy reduction initiatives” says Bob Cowan, Senior Vice President, Engineering with Vancouver International Airport Authority. “Energy reduction makes sense, both environmentally and financially. Through the ongoing support of BC Hydro, the Airport Authority is becoming Power Smarter.” The replacement of the hot water heating system with the new solar panel system is a project that is 100 percent Canadian. Thermo Dynamic, a Canadian company engaged in the research, development, production, distribution and installation of solar thermal equipment, is the manufacturer of the solar panels used at YVR. The Canadian renewable energy company, Taylor Munro Energy Systems, provided consultation on and the installation of the YVR solar panels. Vancouver-based sustainable engineering firm, Keen Engineering, provided the system design. “BC Hydro is pleased to help Vancouver International Airport through our demand-side management Power Smart program,” said Stephen Bruynell, BC Hydro’s Manager of Communications. Serving more than 1.8 million customers across the province, BC Hydro and Power Authority generates more than 80 percent of its electricity through hydroelectric generation on the Columbia and Peace River systems. BC Hydro’s stated goal is to work towards a sustainable future by providing integrated energy solutions in an environmentally and socially responsible manner. “We applaud YVR’s innovative energy solutions and their goal to be a leader in energy reduction,” said BC Hydro Senior Vice-president Distribution, Bev Van Ruyven. “Power Smart projects such as this, help our customers save money and help BC Hydro meet growing energy demand in the province by acquiring low-cost energy through conservation.”


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