Energy Management Case Studies

Saskatchewan Environmental Society and
the Saskatoon Friendship Inn Energy Retrofit

Table of Contents


Save Energy, Save Money and Help Save the Planet!
Saskatchewan Environmental Society can help community groups save money and the environment through building energy retrofits!

Everyone finds budgets are a little tight these days. The Saskatchewan Environmental Society can show community groups how to make changes to their building’s lighting, heating and insulation thereby cutting utility costs dramatically. It’s a win/win situation – community groups save some money while greenhouse gas emissions are reduced due to decreased energy use. This reduction in greenhouse gases will help to alleviate the Climate Change crisis in Saskatchewan.

The Saskatchewan Environmental Society undertook a pilot energy conservation project at the Saskatoon Friendship Inn, which significantly reduced the energy expenditures of the Inn. The long-term savings, of approximately $2,600.00 annually, will allow the Friendship Inn to more effectively use its budget in support of its core mission of daily meals service and social/self-help programs. Other community groups can enjoy similar savings!

Friendship and Energy: Energy Conservation at the Friendship Inn

Background Information

The long-term savings generated by this energy conservation project will allow the Friendship Inn to more effectively use its budget in support of its core mission: social and self-help programs.

Project History

In 1996, the Friendship Inn approached the Saskatchewan Environmental Society to investigate the potential for energy conservation at their 20th Street building. In the previous two years, the Friendship Inn paid between $14,000.00 to $19,000.00 annually for utilities (electricity, natural gas, and water). This represented their largest budget cost after salaries and benefits. Any savings in these costs could be focused on social services and self-help programming—a much more appropriate use of scarce Friendship Inn resources.

With funding secured by the Friendship Inn from the Shell Environment Fund, an energy audit was conducted by Kelln Consulting of Lumsden, Saskatchewan. This audit focused on retrofits with a payback of less than five years and found good potential for savings. Estimated savings of 12-20% were possible. In other words, the impact of this project will continue to positively benefit the Friendship Inn for years to come.

Project Detail

Retrofits at the Friendship Inn concentrated largely on the conversion of the lighting, since this was deemed to be the area of greatest potential savings. Most of the current lighting was retrofitted with T8 fluorescent tubes, electronic ballasts, and specular reflectors. In addition compact fluorescent fixtures were used. The replacement of the conventional fluorescent fixtures, however, reduced the Friendship Inn's energy consumption by approximately 70% representing the bulk savings for the project. Exit signs were retrofitted with Light Emitting Diodes (LED's) that typically consume only 10% of the electricity used by conventional illuminated exit signs. Other low-cost measures included the installation of water conservation devices, weather-stripping and sealing of leaks.

Project Potential

This project presented the Saskatchewan Environmental Society with an opportunity to demonstrate the potential for energy conservation as a cost-effective way of improving financial performance for non-profit groups and at the same time reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions. The project also demonstrated that energy conservation is not just a “middle class” issue. On the contrary, given that for most households, energy expenditures represent the second highest cost category, energy conservation represents one concrete strategy to increase the disposable incomes of the poor. Climate Change is an issue that will affect all Canadians and through energy conservation projects such as this, everyone can be part of the solution!

The Friendship Inn saw the project as an opportunity to more effectively utilize its budget in support of those activities of its mission, which included: offering social and self-help programs such as the family support services, the children’s creative play area, the summer art/recreation program for children, family camp, and the literacy program.

Project Planners

College of Law Follies Association, Climate Change Action Fund, Saskatchewan Environmental Society, Conservation Systems Ltd., Husky Oil, SaskEnergy, SaskPower, Akzo Nobel, Wascana Energy, Saskatchewan Energy & Mines, and Saskatchewan Research Council.

Why we all must do our part

The earth’s ten hottest years, since we started keeping records in 1860, occurred after 1982.

There is now almost total agreement among scientists that this is a result of the increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which trap heat close to the earth’s surface.

By far, the biggest contributor to global warming is carbon dioxide. CO2 levels have steadily increased over the past 140 years as a direct result of burning carbon containing fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas.

Atmospheric CO2 levels are expected to reach twice pre-Industrial Revolution levels sometime in this new century. This will in turn cause a rise in the earth’s average temperature of between 1 and 4.5 degrees Celsius.

Saskatchewan’s agriculture and forestry industries will be severely affected by even a minor increase in average temperature. Most climate change scenarios for the prairie region predict more frequent and more extreme droughts as well as increased severe weather events.

Canada has committed to reduce its emissions to 6% below 1990 levels by the year 2010. Unfortunately we know that energy demand forecasts suggest that Saskatchewan’s emissions will be 52% above 1990 levels by 2010 if we continue to act on a “business as usual” basis.

How the Friendship Inn did their part

The combination of electrical technologies uses approximately 60-70% less energy than conventional fluorescent fixtures and will achieve the bulk of the savings.

Changes to the lighting were relatively simple with the removal and cleaning of the fluorescent fixture lenses.

Taking out the existing bulbs, for later donation or resale, in preparation for the electrician who changed the ballasts to the more efficient electronic versions. The new electronic ballasts have an expected 20-year life and produce light with no noticeable flicker or hum.

The highly reflective specular reflectors were then inserted along with two T8 fluorescent tubes. The T8 tubes use less energy than conventional fluorescent tubes without any impact on light levels. Two T8 tubes, with a reflector, give you at least as much light as four tubes in a standard fixture.

The resulting change in quality and quantity of light was greatly improved, from a dimmer, yellowish light to a brighter, whiter light.

Flow reduction devices were installed in the tank of each toilet.

New weather stripping and caulking were added around doorways, as well as an insulating film on the windows to reduce heat transfer.

Water heater was inspected to ensure that it was a newer model, natural gas fired unit with an insulated tank.

The SES monitored the energy savings at the Friendship Inn for a two-year period to document the impact of the retrofit. Their findings will found at the end of this study.

It is a relatively simple matter to undertake an energy retrofit on any building or facility. The initial costs are quickly recovered through reduced utility charges. The savings to organizations and the environment will last for years to come.

The City of North Battleford undertook a similar project and over a three year period, saved more than $113,000.00 and prevented 1680 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.

Remember...we have not inherited the earth from our parents, we are borrowing it from our children. Let’s do what we can to pass on a world that is at least as healthy as the one we received.

For more information contact Margret Asmuss, Project Coordinator at (306- 665-1915). You can also find out more at the Saskatchewan Environmental Society's web page on energy conservation.