Onsite Renewable Energy Policy

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Saving Money, Building Markets – Implementing an Onsite Renewable Energy Policy

The availability and use of onsite renewable energy technology for buildings in BC has grown significantly. While renewable energy may come from an increasing variety of sources, not all of these sources are suitable for onsite production. On-site renewable energy, such as solar or wind power, is a way to power your building while reducing its reliance on fossil fuels and minimizing greenhouse gas emissions. These technologies have an important role in meeting household energy needs throughout the community.

Micro-renewable energy can generally be broken into two classes:

  • Space conditioning (heating and cooling) and hot water systems. Such technologies include solar thermal and geo exchange systems. Many of these systems are very cost competitive, and superior to conventional systems from a life cycle cost perspective.
  • Renewable electricity systems. Examples include solar photovoltaic cells, wind turbines, and biomass combustion. Not always, but generally these systems have longer paybacks because of BC’s low cost of electricity, and technology maturity.

Onsite Renewable Policy in Community Buildings

Onsite renewable generation policies community wide can complement similar policies for civic buildings. Various European [1], and now US, jurisdictions have policies mandating the incorporation of renewable energy systems into new construction and renovation. These policies have been very successful, as they have led to strong growth in renewable industries, and decreased costs due to economies of scale and installation experience. National governments, such as Britain, Germany and Spain, are following suit. 

Example Communities

  • Solar Colwood: a demonstration of a whole community moving towards energy conservation and renewable clean energy
  • Burns Lake: installed a biomass heating system at the Tom Forsythe arena
  • Nanaimo: replacing its old water reservoir with one that incorporates energy recovery equipment
[Use the tab above to learn HOW to reduce emissions with this tool.]

[1] European Renewable Energy Council. (2007) Key Issues – Regulations.