Amid an increased demand for renewable energy and sustainable development, the 14th annual Generate conference, hosted by Clean Energy BC, took place last week. The three-day conference offered field trips—including one to the BCIT Burnaby Campus.
The group of energy consultants and experts started at the Energy OASIS, part of the BCIT Smart Microgrid. The tour opened up the Li-Ion energy storage facility and its power distribution room. Attendees were impressed by the energy management system that comes up with an energy plan for the following day, as well as the efficiency of the photovoltaic panels, which have peaked at 246 kW. The group made a pit stop at the electric vehicle charge stations placed beneath the solar panels.
“This tour has been fantastic,” says Rebecca Putters, a Project Developer for Sorgent.e Hydro Canada, a run-of-the-river company. “I think everyone is really blown away, actually. Paul Kariya [Executive Director Clean Energy BC] has been very vocal about what BCIT is doing—sustainable development and renewable energies, implementing them into an urban system. [Today’s tour] really shows how BCIT is a leading school when it comes to this sort of thing.”
“It’s great to see people touring our research installations and demonstration projects,” says Kim Dotto, Dean of Applied Research. “Part of BCIT’s value to the community is in raising awareness around current industry and community issues and showing that viable solutions can be found.”
After learning about the microgrid, attendees got a glimpse of the newly-built biomass facility. When operational, it will help achieve the BCIT Factor Four goal—a four-fold (75%) reduction in energy and materials consumption in six trade and technology buildings. The team behind Factor Four has already achieved a 50% reduction. When the biomass facility runs at full-capacity, it will help the participating buildings reach carbon neutrality.
The tour ended at the AFRESH Home, a demonstration house that showcases innovative trends in sustainable housing.
Kim Dotto points out that with climate change, renewable energy and sustainability are top of mind for many British Columbians.
“BCIT’s Applied Research programs help to show viable paths forward,” he says.
Rebecca Putters agrees: “BCIT is the perfect sized place to have this learning happen, and that’s great to have locally. This is a great asset for Vancouver. I think everyone has been really excited to see what’s happening here and how it’s all integrated on campus. It’s great to have students learning in this hands-on way and then applying that learning 5, 10 years down the line in actual communities. This has been impressive.”