Decreased Emissions and Increased Efficiency in City Operations

With constant reminders about what you can do to reduce your greenhouse gas emissions, I’m sure many of you wonder what the City is doing in its operation to reduce our own emissions.

In early July 2021, staff presented City Council with an annual update report to the Corporate Energy and Emissions Management Plan (CEEMP). While there is a lot more information in the report itself, I’ll just highlight a few things that have been going on (virtually).

Appleby Ice Centre Heat Recovery Unit

We replaced a make up air unit that serves the “A-Side” changerooms at Appleby Ice Centre with a new heat recovery unit. In its original design, the space received 100% outdoor air from the make up air unit, that was either heated or cooled to meet the space need, and then 100% of that air was exhausted outdoors.

Original unit

The new unit passes the exhausted air through a heat recovery wheel that will greatly reduce the need for natural gas heating. With the facility closures that came about as a result of COVID-19, City staff were able to implement this project earlier than anticipated.

New heat recovery unit

LED Lighting Projects

While LED lighting is not new, we still have lighting that needs to be changed out and each year we get a bit more done throughout City facilities. Over the past year LED lighting upgrades were done at Fire Station 7 and Mainway Recreation Centre.

City Hall Air Handling Units

Five air handling units (AHU) at City Hall were also replaced with new higher efficiency units. Although this project didn’t replace any of the boilers or the chiller and will not have a major impact on carbon reduction, these new AHUs are considerably more efficient than their predecessors and will use significantly less electricity.

City Hall air handling unit

Joseph Brant Museum

The Joseph Brant Museum was recently completed and received LEED Platinum certification. The building boasts a heat pump system connected to a geoexchange field located under the parking lot, a robust control system to ensure that the Museum’s artifacts are stored in the proper conditions, and a green roof.


As we all know when we try out new and different processes and equipment, there can be bumps along the way and a certain number of unknowns. This can be true about projects done in our own homes and certainly play a factor when replacing large systems like the projects described above. To avoid issues like these, we use the process of commissioning to ensure that we achieve the results that we set at the onset of the project. Defining what you would like to achieve with any project, no matter how small or large, is a very important step and can often be skipped or done quickly. But, if we take some more time and document what we are looking for, keep track of those requirements over the course of the project and perform any necessary testing at the end of the project to ensure that things are operating as designed, then we are in much better shape! It’s often very difficult to reduce energy use and emissions if things aren’t working in the first place.

Upcoming Projects

We also have several exciting things on the horizon.

  • City staff spent a considerable amount of time earlier this year preparing funding applications for deep energy retrofit studies at City facilities, additional electric vehicle chargers and the replacement of Skyway Arena with a new low carbon facility.
  • With respect to renewable energy, the City is currently working on a Solar PV (photovoltaic) plan for its assets, performing preliminary designs and costing studies and working them into the right spots within the City’s capital budget so that they align with roof replacements, or any other facility system that they may influence to avoid removal of solar panels when other building elements are replaced.
  • Construction has just begun on City View Park Pavillion, the first net carbon neutral building in the City’s portfolio. The system which is the first net metered on a City facility is expected to generate enough power for the electricity consumed by the facility and will be up and running in the late summer or early fall.
An image of City View Pavillion

Take Action Burlington! By collectively working to be more efficient and reduce our emissions, we can make a difference.

This post was submitted by Tom Pedlar, Corporate Energy and Emissions Coordinator, City of Burlington.

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