Current and Future Energy Efficiency Measures

Current and Future Energy Efficiency Measures

WIATC Combined Heat and Power

The City’s third cogeneration (CHP) plant located at the Windsor International Aquatic Training Centre Presented by WFCU Credit Union (WIATC) will be completed by summer 2019. A Detailed Engineering Study recommended an 800 kW plant, which would produce approximately 5.8 million kWh of electricity, representing 78% of the facility’s 2018 consumption. The system will also displace approximately 70% of the thermal load currently provided by District Energy Windsor and generate operational savings of $370,000 annually.

Corporate LED Conversion 32 Buildings, Phases 1, 2, & 3

The LED lighting conversion project involving 32 of the Corporation’s largest electricity users began in late 2018. Preliminary estimates indicate the project will reduce consumption by 3.8 million kWh and generate operational savings of $551,000 annually, resulting in a simple payback period of 6.5 years. The anticipated consumption reduction of 3.8 million kWh represents 5% of the City’s 2018 electricity usage, while operational savings of approximately $551,000 represents 4.2% of electricity costs in 2018.

This $3.6 million project commenced in 2018 with a completion date of fall 2020 and involving the re-lamping of over 10,000 fixtures.

Upon project completion, a portion of the annual savings will be allocated to the Sewer Surcharge Reserve and Off-street Parking Reserve in the amounts of $80,548 and $51,896 respectively. As part of the project, City Council approved the establishment of a Corporate Facilities Maintenance Reserve Fund dedicated to asset renewal funded by an annual transfer from operational savings of $313,820, once the original capital project is paid off. In addition, an annual transfer of $104,607 will be made to the Energy Reserve Fund. This reserve was set up in 2009 to assist with funding energy related initiatives.

Forest Glade Ice Plant Upgrade

A programmable direct digital control system (DDC) is scheduled for installation in 2019 at the twin pad facility. The DDC system will not only cycle the compressors and brine pumps to maintain ice temperature set points, but also allow for sophisticated control strategies such as unoccupied ice temperature setback, compressor optimization, and floating head pressure controls. This system has been successfully installed at the WFCU Centre (2015) and the Capri Pizzeria Recreation Complex (2016).

The project will be completed in the fall 2019 and will reduce electrical consumption by 91,000 kWh.

Energy/Battery Storage Feasibility Study

For years, battery storage was considered elusive, hindered by high upfront costs and technical setbacks. But over the past decade, battery storage has taken great leaps toward mainstream use, expanding exponentially alongside renewable technologies. Advances in technology and materials have greatly increased the reliability and output of modern battery systems, and economies of scale have dramatically reduced the associated cost.

Large-scale battery storage is an emerging technology and presents an opportunity to reduce expenses associated with peak-time electricity use. By charging battery banks “off-peak” and utilizing this stored electricity when costs are increased by time-of-use billing, grid electricity demand can be trimmed when costs are highest.

The City has undertaken a Battery Storage Feasibility Study to evaluate the potential for electricity bill savings and enhanced reliability that could be achieved with a battery storage system at the Lou Romano Water Reclamation Plant and Little River Pollution Control Plant.

The savings and reliability to be investigated regards whether adding battery storage systems to the two facilities would produce a net benefit in the following categories:

  • Reduction in Global Adjustment rates due to lowering of peak demand
  • Reduction in electricity commodity charges due to shifting of energy consumption to nonpeak periods
  • Ability to participate in Demand Response
  • Impact on facility operations due to power loss
  • Identification of operating costs
  • Analysis of lease versus ownership

Large battery storage unit adjacent to a multi-level building

The Study is expected to be completed in August 2019.

Net Metering

“Net metering” is an agreement with the local distribution company (EnWin Utilities Ltd.) and Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) to utilize on-site the renewable power generated at a facility. Electricity production in excess of that utilized by the building is delivered to the local utility grid and credited to the customer to offset future electricity costs.

Customers are still responsible for charges not calculated based on the customer’s consumption (i.e. monthly fixed charges or peak demand based charges). Excess monthly renewable generation greater than monthly consumption creates a credit for the customer that can be carried forward for up to a rolling 12-month period.

After a positive credit balance has been carried for that period, any excess generation credit is reduced to zero and lost by the customer.

The illustration below depicts a simple schematic of how net metering works.

Schematic of bi-directional metering, including solar panels, inverter, meter and grid

Administration will be seeking City Council approval to install 2.5 MW of capacity over the next five (5) years at an approximate cost of $4 million. Inclusive of the existing installed capacity of 1.35 MW, the City will be able to generate 5.7 million kWh of electricity annually, representing approximately 8% of the City’s current electricity needs or the equivalent of powering 475 homes.

Hybrid Photovoltaic-Thermal Solar Collectors

Solar-thermal collectors can be combined with photovoltaic (PV) modules to produce hybrid PV-thermal (PV-T) collectors. These can deliver both heat and electricity simultaneously from the same installed area and at a higher overall efficiency compared to individual solar-thermal and PV panels installed separately. Hybrid PV-T technology provides a particularly promising solution when roof space is limited or when heat and electricity are required at the same time.

In tandem with the net metering project, opportunities to install hybrid PV-thermal collectors will be analyzed on an individual basis in order to leverage solar technology.


Sub-meters are metering devices that monitor electricity, gas, water, steam and other utilities. Electrical sub-meters are installed to monitor systems/equipment, i.e. pumps, motors, compressors, lighting, etc. that consume significant amounts of energy. The electricity usage data is typically transmitted every 15 minutes to an energy management software for analysis with the intent of identifying savings opportunities.

Sub-metering can be used to measure the energy consumption of HVAC, lighting, refrigeration, compressors, pumps, and more. In addition to the main meter used by utilities to determine overall building or facility consumption, sub-metering utilizes individual meters that allow building and facility managers to have real-time visibility into the energy use and performance of their equipment, creating opportunities for energy and capital expenditure savings.

Traditionally utility bill analysis uses information that is simply outdated (up to 60 days after usage) and is too aggregated, (bill represents a 28-35 day period, not 15-minute intervals). Sub-metering addresses this information gap, providing real-time granular visibility of energy consumption. This information can be utilized to optimize the facility’s operations.

Benefits include:

  • Identification of unnecessary equipment running at night, off shift or during weekends
  • Ability to transmit information back to operators and facility managers the same day and provide operators with feedback the next day about implemented changes
  • Comparison and benchmarking of usage across similar facilities over time
  • Detection of utility bill errors by comparing sub-meter usage with actual utility bill
  • Better management of electricity usage when facility faces demand limits or peak usage pricing from the utility

Administration is currently reviewing various metering technology with the intent of introducing sub-metering to ten (10) of the City’s largest energy consumers in 2019/2020.

Enterprise Wide Energy Management System Software

Centralized and common support for the development and installation of an energy management system throughout the City of Windsor’s many properties and buildings brings an enhanced means of addressing shared issues. This includes joining and leveraging similar projects for overall capital cost savings, and bettering communication and transparency concerning energy asset management throughout the Corporation.

Because energy data is currently received at regular billing intervals, abnormal changes in consumption are ordinarily observed between forty-five and sixty days following an event. Daily monitoring enabled by an integrated monitoring system can prevent the persistence of increased consumption and cost by alerting the Energy Initiatives Unit. By responding to anomalies in individual equipment use, staff can prolong the life of motors, pumps, compressors, and other systems throughout the corporation.

The development of an integrated energy management system requires liaison between the City of Windsor’s Asset Planning, Facilities, and Information Technology (I.T.) departments, and local utilities to work toward establishing fundamental elements of hardware, software, and infrastructure including distributed sub-metering and building automation systems. The anticipated completion date is 2023.

Pelican Wireless Thermostat Pilot Project

Energy Initiatives is current investigating Pelican Wireless Systems. This wireless building automation system offers solutions designed specifically for commercial buildings and claims to reduce energy costs by as much as 30%. Pelican offers powerful hardware, innovative wireless mesh network and web-based management tools. The system provides for easy thermostat adjustments, manages temperature in building spaces, reduces inefficiencies and eliminates occupant complaints.

The proposed candidate site to test this technology is the Gino and Liz Marcus Community Complex, which contains a pool, gymnasium, banquet hall and meeting rooms.

In 2018, the facility consumed 606,432 kWh of electricity, 92,578 cubic meters of natural gas and 6,000 cubic meters of water for an annual utilities’ cost of $128,343.

The project cost is $49,072 with anticipated annual savings of $17,802 representing 16% of the total electricity and natural gas costs for 2018. The project would have a simple payback period of two (2) years.

Voltage Harmonization Pilot Project

Electrical distribution systems in Canada are designed around a common set of voltage standards to ensure the reliable operation of electrical equipment within buildings. Since electrical substations often supply a large number of diverse facilities, a compromised voltage level that balances the needs of multiple buildings is typically deployed. As a result, facilities can experience fluctuating voltage levels in excess of what is required.

A “Voltage Harmonizer” monitors and controls electricity entering a facility and lowers its voltage to the minimum required level for reduced electricity costs. The benefits of Voltage Harmonizers were investigated at the Art Gallery of Windsor, 400 City Hall Square East, the Forest Glade Arena, and the Capri Pizzeria Recreation Complex. Among the five buildings, the 400 City Hall Square East facility presented the greatest overall annual savings of approximately $12,000 per year. A pilot project based on the analysis is being considered as a future project in 2021.

Municipal Storm and Sanitary Pumping Stations

As part of the City’s Asset Management Program a site condition assessment of 45 sanitary and storm pumping stations is being undertaken in 2019. The pump stations consume approximately 3.2 million kWh of electricity at an annual cost of $533,000 in 2018. In addition to the energy consumption, a preliminary review has noted some stations are experiencing a high inductive load. This means the power factor which ideally should register between 1.0 and 0.9 is too low. If the power factor is below 0.9, the City is paying a premium for the kilowatt (kW) component of the monthly electricity bill. Installation of capacitors and/or installing variable frequency drives (VFD’s) will increase the power factor and reduce costs. Dillon Consulting was engaged to provide a scope of work and associated costs with undertaking this project.

Upon completion of the site condition assessments, administration will review the optimum solutions to insure the pump stations operate at maximum efficiency.

Caron Pump Station/WIATC Wastewater Energy Transfer Pilot Project

Administration is analyzing the design of a Wastewater Energy Transfer (WET) system, proposed by Noventa Energy Partners, to supply environmentally friendly energy to Windsor’s District Energy System (DEW) and Windsor International Aquatic and Training Centre Presented by WFCU Credit Union (WIATC).

Wastewater is an abundant and underutilized source of thermal energy in North America. Sewers experience predictable flow profiles and consistent temperatures ranging between 18°C and 25°C year-round. The high density and specific heat capacity of wastewater, coupled with its constant availability, makes it an excellent source of thermal energy or a heat sink for heat pump-based HVAC systems.

Noventa’s patented Huber ThermWin® WET system is capable of rejecting and extracting thermal energy to/from wastewater and repurposing it to supply heating and cooling to DEW system and WIATC respectively. The WET system will be able to supply the DE System with chilled water while simultaneously supplying low-grade hot water to the WIATC.

This initiative is projected to generate operational savings of $172,000.

Energy Awareness and Education Campaign

Stressing the importance of staff participation in energy related efficiency measures, whether it’s the installation of a new technology or simply turning off office lights and computers, cannot be overstated. Studies have shown that engaging staff working within a facility (as occupant or operational staff) where an education awareness campaign was implemented, coupled with the implementation of energy efficient technologies resulted in energy savings as high as 15%.

Benefits of efficient energy management at municipal facilities include:

  • Saves taxpayers money;
  • Reduces greenhouse gas emissions;
  • Protects the environment and natural resources; and
  • Contributes to the preservation of energy security at national level.

To become truly energy-efficient, the City must make basic changes in the way the employees behave, in the technologies adopted, and in the internal policies and procedures. No single change can deliver maximum savings. Benefits are maximized when a combination of behavioural, technological, and organizational changes are implemented simultaneously with support from senior management.

Diagram showing success linked to techonlogical, organizational and behavioural change

While efforts to adopt energy-efficient equipment, maintenance and operational practices can be challenging, it is a much more difficult challenge to establish energy efficiency as a fundamental value. People tend to take energy for granted, and many are unaware of the opportunities they have to reduce energy use. Some may claim to support energy efficiency but do not commit themselves in changing their behaviour. Increasing people’s awareness toward energy use is therefore important to ensure the success of energy efficiency initiatives and should be part of the energy management plan.

Asset Planning/Energy Initiatives Unit
For general information, call 311. For detailed inquiries, call 519-255-6100.