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Charting a Greener Future

Thermal energy recovery system infrastructure at BC Cancer - Victoria.

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BC Cancer sites build on low-carbon, climate resilience successes

In 2022, BC Cancer sites around the province took significant steps in advancing planetary health. Building on past successes with BC Cancer stakeholders, including site leads, physicians groups, and facilities maintenance and operation (FMO) staff, the Energy and Environmental Sustainability (EES) team found creative and innovative ways to reduce carbon emissions and enhance climate resilience. EES identified and implemented opportunities to reduce the agency’s environmental footprint, improve the climate resilience of BC Cancer facilities, and enhance the safety and comfort of staff and patients.

At the L.J. Blackmore Cancer Research Centre in Vancouver part of the BC Cancer Research Institute, and BC Cancer centres in Victoria and Surrey, the team completed heat recovery and carbon reduction projects. These projects are designed to recover thermal energy in the buildings and reduce fossil fuel consumption while creating efficiencies related to operational costs and improving the comfort of occupants. For instance, the BC Cancer – Victoria heat recovery and energy upgrades project is expected to reduce the site’s emissions by approximately 80 per cent. Funding from the Carbon Neutral Capital Program and incentives provided by BC Hydro and FortisBC made the planning and implementation of these projects possible.

Last year, several climate resilience and energy-saving projects also took place at BC Cancer – Vancouver. The first was a major energy system upgrade initiated to reduce fossil fuel use through heat recovery and address operational challenges. This project is anticipated to save approximately 13,000 GJ of natural gas through heat recovery and building-control optimization strategies. A second project mitigates the impacts of the severe heat waves that have become a regular feature of Vancouver summers. The FMO team collaborated with PHSA’s Energy & Carbon Management team to recommission the cooling plant, improving overall climate resilience and cooling capacity at the site.

PHSA’s energy and carbon initiatives have been gaining momentum year after year. The ongoing work involves identifying more opportunities to reduce carbon emissions, enhance climate resilience, implement electric vehicle charging infrastructure, and promote renewable energy generation at BC Cancer facilities. Several studies are underway at BC Cancer sites to identify more ways to build a low-carbon and climate-resilient health system. Once completed and verified, these studies will serve as a roadmap for reducing BC Cancer’s carbon footprint in years to come while further strengthening the partnerships between various stakeholders.