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A LOOK AT BUILDING ENERGY CHALLENGE PARTICIPANTS

March 1, 2021

In this edition

Michel Beaulieu
Senior Advisor

Property Management
Operations and Performance
Mouvement Desjardins

 

  1. What is your role in implementing energy efficiency or greenhouse gas reduction projects?

As a senior property management advisor at Cité Desjardins in Lévis, I must help ensure the safety, security and comfort of the occupants of buildings we manage. Energy efficient operations are essential in achieving profitability objectives and also in reducing our environmental footprint. I coordinate the actions of both the maintenance team and the energy committee for optimal energy consumption in our facilities. We offer our technicians the possibility of upgrading their skills by taking training courses and we ask them to keep abreast of new technologies, which is at the heart of our objectives. Together with motivated professionals, we discuss and analyze ways and means of improving energy efficiency.

Our asset maintenance plan is constantly evolving and dictates which renovation and replacement projects are necessary in order to maintain an  optimal rate of replacing old and worn-out equipment. I coordinate the drafting and presentation of projects that will ensure the comfort of building occupants, the energy efficiency of new equipment and systems, and an optimal return on investment.

 

  1. Tell us about the energy efficiency or GHG reduction projects that are currently underway or recently completed.

I’ll take the example of our building at 200, rue des Commandeurs, the first module of which was built in 1966. Given its advanced age, the building has required a series of major investments over the past few years, while maintaining the operations of building occupants. A combination of architectural and electro-mechanical investments allowed for greater energy efficiency in the building, increased comfort for occupants and an enhanced aesthetic appeal.

We replaced the control system, a centrifugal chiller, the main ventilation systems, obsolete roofing membranes and electrical distribution, as well as carrying out a major overhaul of the building’s exterior envelope. We are also currently implementing a project to optimize the entire interior design. That involves coordinating interventions so as to optimize energy efficiency. The project entails replacing lighting fixtures, cleaning and scraping walls, replacing windows and optimizing the heating and ventilation system, which means replacing all equipment designed to operate at low temperatures. That will eventually lead to the installation of a new heat recovery chiller and new condensing boilers.

 

  1. Did you seek financial assistance for implementing your projects?
    We received financial support from Hydro-Québec and Transition énergétique Québec for the energy audit and for replacing equipment. We also plan to contact Énergir once it’s time to replace gas-fired boilers. When applying for financial support we use a team of professionals to evaluate all options so as to obtain the best of the grants available, based on the effort involved and the investment required.

 

  1. What was the main difficulty in getting that project up and running?

The main difficulty we encountered was minimizing impacts for occupants while a building is undergoing construction or renovation. Environmental and operational conditions are often greatly affected by construction and renovation work, whether it be the noise, fluctuating and abnormal indoor air temperatures, false fire alarms, or blocked or congested indoor and outdoor traffic. An active work site causes a fair amount of inconvenience for building occupants.

 

  1. How did you respond to that challenge? What solutions did you come up with?

Open communication at all levels is essential to the successful completion of a project that meets expectations, not only during the renovation work but also throughout the entire process of an energy efficiency project.

The building’s management and technical teams work in close collaboration with the project management team right from the early design stage, in order to clearly define the characteristics of the proposed project and to arrive at a realistic budget estimate based on the objectives established.

That exercise means that we can present to the building owner and to the occupants a project that everyone supports, from the technical teams to the professionals by way of the project manager and other parties involved. All of them are aware of the target objectives and contribute in their own fashion to the success of the project. That solidarity means that we can respond efficiently to the abovementioned constraints, should they occur during the course of the renovation or construction work. If the anticipated improved performance is not achieved, we can count on everyone’s collaboration to put their shoulders to the wheel to find a solution to the problem.

 

Before and after photos – project of the outer envelope of the 200 des Commandeurs

 

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