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Home: Canadian Construction News: Government Asks Industry Advice on Making Ottawa 'Greener'

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Government Asks Industry Advice on Making Ottawa 'Greener'

Written by; Joy Smithers / TCCN Staff Writer
Added on: Sun Aug 30 2009


Advice from industry will play an important role in the government's plan to be more environmentally responsible and cost efficient in running Ottawa's federal buildings, according to the Public Works Minister.

Christian Paradis said that "Meeting the energy needs of our office buildings is not only a major expense, but it has a significant impact on our environment. Some of these buildings are over 50 years old, using technology from the 1950s - it is time to rethink how we do things." In a press release, Public Works said that improvements to energy and environmental efficiency will require major investments.

Currently, Public Works supplies thermal energy to more than 100 properties on a cost-recovery basis. The department operates seven plants, producing chilled water, hot water, and steam. Said Paradis, "Key decisions need to be made about the future of these plants and how the government acquires energy services to heat, cool and power federal buildings in the national capital area"

To that end, the Public Works Department is asking for information from Canada's industrial leaders and plans industry briefings this fall in major cities across Canada, though the dates and locations have not yet been announced.

Industries are asked to provide the government with useful information on technological advances and services that can help federal buildings improve their environmental record. They will have until October 30 to do so.

The request was greeted with enthusiasm by the Mechanical Contractors Association of Canada (MCAC), which is based in Ottawa. MCAC president Richard McKeagan said that the federal aim "dovetails nicely" with some of the environmental initiatives that are already underway. McKeagan says that MCAC plans to contact public works to find out how they can be of assistance. The organization plans to encourage its members to participate in the upcoming industry-government meetings.

Public Works says it is exploring energy services acquisitions to address energy services challenges and reduce the government's environmental footprint by "strategically involving the private sector in providing solutions."

The request for information from industrial leaders is the first phase in a multi-phased approach. Through this process, Public Works will measure the private industrial sector's ability to enter into a partnership with the government on this energy efficiency initiative, and to gather the information the government needs to write an official request for proposals.

Public Works is hopeful that the meetings with industry will help further the "significant progress" the government has made in improving the environmental friendliness of federal office buildings in Canada. Environment Minister Jim Prentice says that he hopes that with the help of the rapidly evolving energy production sector, "We are going to work with industry to place Canada on a greener, more cost-efficient path."


Copyright: 2009

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