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Heads Up CIPEC – Volume 19 No 11

Casa Berardi Mine biomass heating project moves into Phase II

The pilot project on biomass heating at Hecla Québec’s gold-producing Casa Berardi mine is moving into the second phase after a successful first phase. The innovative project, launched by Norforce Énergie in partnership with Hecla Québec, aims to significantly reduce the mine’s reliance on fossil fuel for its heating needs, while developing local businesses for a long-term, sustainable economy in the La Sarre, Abitibi-Témiscamingue region.

Josée Plouffe, Hecla Québec’s Regional Communication Coordinator, notes that the company’s goal is to promote local expertise, in this case biomass conversion to heat, as a service for export to other industries. The project’s second phase will allow Hecla Québec to continue its already fruitful collaboration with Norforce Énergie.

The $3 million project includes $1.1 million in financial support from Quebec’s Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources and is expected to avoid 2,732 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) through the use of biomass instead of fossil fuels.

In the winter of 2014-2015, two heat exchange units, installed with generators fueled by wood chip feedstock, were tested in the mine. According to Christian Léveillé, Executive Director of Norforce Énergie, the equipment performed more efficiently than expected and useful data was collected. The two heat exchangers saved the equivalent of 45,000 litres of propane during the pilot phase, and it was determined that around 5,000 tonnes of forest biomass per year are required for Phase II.

An additional five heat exchange units, the associated ducts and peripheral equipment will soon be installed for Phase II, which will allow the company to evaluate equipment performance and energy savings on a whole-plant scale. Plouffe adds that heat generated from the combustion of the forest biomass could replace a significant amount of fossil fuel. However, precise propane savings will be confirmed this coming winter when phase II is underway. Casa Berardi currently requires around 2.5 to 3 million litres of propane annually.

Norforce Énergie is responsible for the monitoring and maintenance of the equipment, as well as assuring the supply of biomass for the next nine years although Hecla Québec will also be studying the process. The mine has built a facility to store the wood, which amounts to approximately 5,000 tonnes annually.

As Léveillé explains, the forests in the region surrounding La Sarre, in western Abitibi, will furnish immediate biomass needs but other sources are being investigated including energy plantations for the mine’s long-term needs.

Hecla Québec is committed to pursue biomass use as an option to replace fossil fuel use and also wants to create a legacy of sustainable activity in the region. “It’s important to explore opportunities that help strengthen the local economy and provide long-term, sustainable options for the residents,’ says Plouffe.

Updated ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems standard links to ISO 50001

“The new ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems (EMS) standard is designed to enable organizations to have better management control over what causes impacts on the environment, and the environment’s effect on their business,” says Lynn Johannson, President of E2M, and Canada’s lead negotiator for ISO 14001. The standard provides a new framework that helps organizations establish, implement and maintain processes to manage their relationship with the environment.

ISO 14001:2015 associates an EMS with an organization’s core strategy. Public and private, organizations are recognizing the need to factor in both external and internal elements that influence their environmental impact, such as climate volatility, and the competitive context in which they work.

The new framework is an attempt by ISO to ensure even closer alignment between ISO 14001:2015 and other management system standards. ISO has introduced identical clauses, text, terms and definitions to foster this alignment, and lead to a common structure for many other standards. Johannson compares this common high-level structure to a plug and play approach that may allow organizations better integration opportunities.
Since energy is an integral part of environmental management, ISO 14001 and ISO 50001, the Energy Management Systems standard, are clearly linked. As Johannson states, “Energy is the currency of productivity. Energy use is inherent in the consumption of other resources, such as water and materials.”

Management approaches such as ISO 14001 and ISO 50001 are wholistic and thus, strive for more efficiency to align with nature. According to Johannson, “The more organizations pay attention to the rules of nature, the better their productivity will be.”

“We want organizations to have a robust, credible and reliable management system. The formality of a standard can lead to productivity improvements, which in turn increases profitability and ultimately, prosperity. In the case of ISO 14001 and ISO 50001, they lead to eco-prosperity.”

To review the standard, visit

To enquire about the collaboration, email:

Weston Foods goes energy-efficient across the country

Weston Foods Inc. has a cross-Canada vision when it comes to energy efficiency. As Darren Borden, the company’s Energy Management Engineer explains, Weston plants across Canada have had several significant energy efficiency retrofits over the past few years. Moreover, “the company is committed to continue its emphasis on energy efficiency in the future.”

Borden notes that with energy prices likely to rise in the future, the company is looking to become more energy self-sufficient to avoid production disruptions. As a result, Weston is investigating combined heat and power (CHP) systems as one way to reduce energy costs and buffer its facilities against power disruptions. “We have had one-hundred year events five years in a row and had to run our diesel back-up generators at our head offices to keep our data centre alive,” he notes, adding that Weston facilities in Kitchener and Toronto are likely candidates for CHP systems.

Weston Foods is also rolling out lighting retrofits across the country. For example, the Concord (Ontario) bagel plant benefited from a saveONenergy incentive to install a $60,000 combination of T-8s and LED lighting resulting in a two year payback period and 266,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) saved annually. Borden notes that “this represents two months of electricity bills.” He adds that the Kitchener cookie facility is switching its lighting entirely to LED in a $231,000 investment that will save 720,000 kWh per year. Three more plants in Quebec are switching to LED lighting thanks to a Hydro Québec incentive. “These retrofits will immediately cut 10 percent of energy consumption.” Freezers are also being retrofitted with LED lights in several locations since LEDs can be turned on and off quickly in extreme cold unlike other lighting types.  

Weston has changed its practice in replacing air compressors when they end their service-lives; the company now purchases at least one variable frequency drive (VFD) compressor. “Verification audits by electricity suppliers have ingrained that VFDs save us money by consistently reducing energy use and power demand. As a result, we have implemented this at our British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and most Ontario and Quebec facilities.” Using the BC Hydro Self-Serve Incentive Program (SIP), Manitoba Hydro PowerSmart, Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) SaveONenergy and Efficiency Nova Scotia programs, Weston has retrofitted most of their compressor plants. Borden notes that “on average we find that a VFD compressor saves about half its purchase cost per year in energy.”

In the company’s Mississauga Ready-Bake plant, the focus is on monitoring and targeting (M&T) energy using the saveONenergy M&T program. This project will lead to an energy dashboard for employees that allows them to identify energy issues in a timely manner, while providing good data on energy impact related to optimization. In addition, plant employees are working with a roving energy manager from the local distribution company, Enersource. These opportunities, to optimize operations and energy efficiency, were developed in collaboration with the saveONenergy program supported by Enersource and the Guelph Food Technology Centre.

In Calgary, Alberta, the Bowness bakery is undergoing a massive retrofit with an efficient LED lighting grid, a VFD compressor and a complete rebalance of the plant’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) air management system. “Our goal is to fit two existing factories under one roof while at the same time reducing overall energy use.” Enmax Power is a partner in this project assisting with a transformer supply incentive valued at over $50,000.

Further east, Weston’s Amherst, Nova Scotia, bakery is engaged in an Energy Management System pilot with Efficiency Nova Scotia, a program that builds skills for an in-house energy champion. “Closer to home, at our Fenmar, North York plant, the plant manager has enrolled in the Partner in Project Green’s Energy Cohort program, where industry champions connect and actively help each other through a teamwork forum,” notes Borden.

“Energy management is a cost control opportunity,” says Borden, adding that “it is my goal to make our company more efficient and Canadian industry more competitive by taking advantage of this opportunity.”

Manitoba Hydro’s industrial program keeps expanding offers

“Our programs are designed to solve customer operational and production problems in an energy-efficient way,” says Rob Armstrong, Manager of Customer Engineering Services at Manitoba Hydro. “By addressing our customers’ operating realities while looking for energy and sustainable opportunities, it becomes a more seamless and transparent way to be welcomed into their facility.”

Armstrong explains that the first version of the utility’s industrial program was launched in 1993 and has since expanded twice to turn into the current version. The Industrial portfolio of programs consists of several specialized programs, including the Performance Optimization Program, the Bioenergy and the Natural Gas Optimization Programs. Program engagement for a client depends on what opportunities an initial energy scoping study identifies, and the willingness of the client to pursue them.

Clients usually start with an energy efficiency scoping study, which can be expanded to include water, waste and emissions depending on the needs and valuation metrics of the facility. The studies are offered to industrial facilities at no cost and aim to identify Power Smart saving opportunities.

The Performance Optimization Program, which covers motive and process-related equipment, has been the most subscribed-to program to date with continued annual savings of 535 gigawatt-hours (GWh). Armstrong says that this represents from six to eight percent of the current total industrial load; noting that “these are significant metrics.” Since inception, 750 companies from all sectors have participated with over 1,000 projects. Common end-use projects include compressed air system upgrades, electrochemical processes as well as retrofitting for pumps, refrigeration, HVAC, fans and blowers. Incentives vary with the type of project.

Armstrong also notes that the program’s annual saving targets are increasing from 13 to 26 GWh over the next five years. “By 2030, we should have added 422 GWh to our current annual savings.” The utility plans to achieve this by focussing on embedded energy managers, an approach that Armstrong feels will be more powerful in creating energy teams and integrating energy efficiency into the corporate consciousness. “We are also working on enhanced energy dashboards that give electricity use metrics tied into production and/or financial metrics.” These dashboards are already being piloted and will be rolled-out between now and early 2016.

For companies that want to optimize energy supply requirements by converting  their waste streams or by-products into fuel for heat and power (for up to 1 megawatt (MW)), Manitoba Hydro’s Bioenergy Optimization Program is a good fit. To date the program has claimed 80 GWh in annual savings from a total of 20 to 25 projects. The 2030 program target is to add another 134 GWh annually. For facilities planning to site-generate more than 1 MW, the Load Displacement Program, launched in 2014, is a better option and targets 593 GWh in annual savings. In total, these are important metrics for the sector.

The utility’s Natural Gas Program aims to help customers optimize process-related natural gas-fired equipment and systems.

“We try diligently try to be customer-focused and set realistic targets; this approach has built credibility with customers over time,” says Armstrong. “Manitoba Hydro is walking the path with them to seek sustainable production processes in their facilities and to employ long-term energy supply solutions and systems.”

For more information, visit

New NRCan energy efficiency publications portal

To view and order technical guides and other information related to energy management in the industrial sectors, visit

Dollars to $ense Energy Management workshops – winter schedule

Workshops offered in collaboration with Langara College
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia
To register, call the Langara College’s Continuing Studies Registration Office at 604-323-5322

Energy Management Planning
Date: January 15

Spot the Energy Savings Opportunities
Date: January 29
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia

Energy Monitoring
Date: February 26

Recommissioning for Buildings
Date: March 11
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia

Energy Efficiency Financing
Date: March 25

Customized Dollars to $ense workshop

Please allow eight to 10 weeks from the planning to the delivery of a customized Dollars to $ense workshop.

Complete list of industrial events

Call for story ideas

Has your company implemented successful energy efficiency measures that you would like to share with Heads Up CIPEC readers? Please send your story ideas for consideration to the editor, Jocelyne Rouleau, by e-mail at

If you require more information on an article or a program, contact Jocelyne Rouleau at the above e-mail address.

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