New tech can save money and time

A new ice-making system installed by the Cowichan Valley Regional District at arenas in the Island Savings Centre and Kerry Park Recreation Centre is just one example of how new technology can be employed to save money for local governments.

The REALice system reduces energy usage by spinning water in a vortex to remove tiny air bubbles, rather than pre-heating it, as the traditional ice-making process does. The resulting water requires less work by the refrigeration plant to freeze, higher brine temperatures, and less energy to dehumidify the arena.

All told, it adds up to more than $8,000 savings at each arena, along with a reduction of 35 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.

While users of the arenas were pleased with the final product, operators and taxpayers alike were impressed with the savings, and the new system caught the eyes of other arena operators in the region as well.

"The results of cost savings while keeping good ice is the breakthrough that will positively impact all arena ice facilities," Ernie Mansueti, director of parks and recreation for North Cowichan, which owns Fuller Lake Arena, said earlier this year.

Jordan Bateman, B.C. director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, says everyone, not just local governments, needs to be on the lookout for new technology that can save money in the long run.

"It’s not just cities," he said. "All businesses need to be aware of it. There are new technologies coming online all the time. You don’t have to be the first to implement them, but you have to be aware."

Some technology may be costly to purchase initially, but users can reap rewards down the road, Bateman noted. In that regard, governments have advantages that most businesses don’t.

"A government knows that it’s going to be there 20 years from now," he said. "They can take 10, 15, 20 years to look at technological solutions, knowing that they’ll be there in the end. If the savings start to mount in year 20 or 25, businesses rarely have the luxury to think that far ahead."

One of Bateman’s specific examples is how new technology can be used to monitor sewer and water systems, something the City of Duncan has done, with multiple benefits.

"We have instituted SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) for our water and sewer system," Duncan Chief Administrative Officer Peter de Verteuil noted. "Prior to this, we used to have a utility crew member take well readings for two hours every day. Now we have better data and controls, and his time can be spent elsewhere."

Like many local governments in the Cowichan Valley, Duncan has issued iPads to councillors, where they can review agendas that don’t need to be printed, which has saved time and money for the city.

"There is a minimal cost benefit of reduced paper and copying costs, but the larger benefit is in the staff time for printing and collating," de Verteuil said.

The saving of time – which in turn leads to saving money – has been a major consequence to many of the city’s technological advances.

"Most of the technological improvements we have made have a side benefit of improving efficiencies which help keep staffing levels from increasing even with increased service, which indirectly combat costs," de Verteuil noted.

Just Posted

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
Cowichan Valley MLA Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

BC Green Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

The city-owned lot at 361 St. Julien St., which has been home to a temporary homeless site for more than a year, will be sold and plans are to build a three-storey mixed-use development there, Peter de Verteuil, Duncan CAO explained at a recent council meeting. (File photo)
New development planned for homeless site in Duncan

Lot on St. Julien Street would see three-storey building

Historian and longtime Citizen columnist T.W. Paterson photographs the historical wreckage of a plane on Mount Benson. Paterson recently won an award from the British Columbia Historical Foundation. (Submitted)
Cowichan’s Tom W. Paterson wins award for historical writing

British Columbia Historical Federation hands Recognition Award to local writer

This electric school bus is the newest addition to the Cowichan Valley School District’s fleet. (Submitted)
Editorial: New electric school bus good place to start

Changing public transit like buses to electric really is important.

CVRD to increase enforcement after audits reveal that curb-side recycling contamination in the district is well above acceptable limits. (File photo)
CVRD reports contamination in recyclables well above acceptable levels

Increased enforcement planned starting this summer

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth and Attorney General David Eby attend opening of the first government-run B.C. Cannabis Store, Kamloops, Oct. 19, 2018. (B.C. government)
B.C. government to allow home cannabis delivery starting July 15

Added convenience expected to persuade buyers to ‘go legal’

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

B.C. Premier John Horgan leaves his office for a news conference in the legislature rose garden, June 3, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. premier roasted for office budget, taxing COVID-19 benefits

Youth addiction law that triggered election hasn’t appeared

BC Ferries’ newest Island Class vessel is experiencing an issue with one of its thrusters off the Algerian coast. Photo courtesy patbaywebcam.com.
BC Ferries newest vessel having mechanical issues in Mediterranean

Island 4 will be repaired in Spain before crossing Atlantic

Most Read