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Energy Conservation

YVR is committed to improving energy efficiency and advancing energy conservation. In 2015, we developed a long-term energy plan that aims to reduce our consumption through a range of methods. Under this plan, we have no specific consumption targets; rather, we constantly aim to reduce our energy use and include total consumption in our target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 33 per cent by 2020.

Since 2012, YVR’s terminal area has grown by nine per cent—from 366,643 m2 to 399,904 m2 in 2016—yet we’ve maintained our electrical efficiency and have reduced natural gas use, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and reducing costs. Since 1999 we’ve seen a cumulative savings of more than $15 million in electrical and gas costs from energy-efficient initiatives.

  2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Natural Gas consumption (GJ) – terminal building 115,695 124,897 130,956 121,303 101,799
Electrical consumption (GWh) – terminal building 91.48 91.02 93.30 97.05 98.13
Natural Gas – heating efficiency per area (GJ/1000m2/yr) 285.99 325.37 310.02 281.98 225.64
Natural Gas – heating efficiency per passenger (GJ/million passengers) 0.0066 0.0069 0.0068 0.0060 0.0046
Electrical efficiency per area (GWh/1000m2/yr) 0.250 0.253 0.241 0.246 0.245
Electrical per passenger (GWh/million passengers) 0.52 0.51 0.48 0.48 0.44

In 2016, we consumed $733,387 in natural gas and $5,790,344 in electricity for a total of $6,523,731 to heat and power all Airport Authority buildings and activities—representing 6.1 per cent of our total materials, supplies and services costs. This is a slight reduction from 6.5 per cent in 2015.

We reduced our natural gas consumption by 12 per cent in 2016 thanks to a range of initiatives. Our solar hot water heating in the Domestic and International Terminal Buildings saved 8,790 GJ of natural gas.

2016 saw efficiencies associated with greater integration of YVR’s systems: we connected our lighting with our heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system, modified our terminal heating and cooling to use more outside air in the terminal and began piloting the integration of our HVAC and lighting to gate schedules through automation—all with positive early results.

We implemented a new policy that requires food and beverage tenants to install hydronic (hot water heating) air units for their kitchens and our tenants continue to install kitchen exhaust hoods for food operators across the terminal. We also continued to see the benefits of our recent switch to a new low-energy air filtration HVAC system, which is consuming three times less energy for terminal ventilation.

Smart Lighting

In addition to using schedules and sensors to reduce lighting, we have shifted towards efficient LED technology over the last several years. Every year, LED lighting saves 1.3 GWh of electricity in the terminal, 77,000 kWh on Arthur Laing Bridge and 25,000 kWh for theatrical lighting of art installations.

In 2016 we continued a multi-year project to convert airfield lighting to LED technology, improving airfield safety and maintenance efficiency. We also improved our lighting control system, enabling our maintenance team to more easily view lighting conditions and levels.

Light Pollution and Reduction

YVR is committed to research and development to control light levels and reduce impacts on surrounding communities. We are constantly reviewing best practices for lighting to determine how we can lessen our impact. In 2016, we continued to use light shields to reduce glare and we undertook a multi-year project to improve lighting on the apron, installing high mast poles that allow for better lighting levels, lower power consumption, reduced glare and less light pollution. Our maintenance team monitored interior and exterior terminal lighting to assess illumination levels and minimize the impacts on our neighbours, addressing potential issues and ensuring prompt follow-up.

Renewable Energy

YVR has focused investment on renewable energy to reduce our greenhouse gas footprint, pilot technologies to offset additional electrical demand and increase resiliency through self-sufficient energy generation. Our Energy Plan includes a focus on renewable energy and in the future we will calculate the savings from renewable energy in our target to reduce emissions 33 per cent by 2020.

We report on our purchased energy (natural gas, electricity, vehicle fuels) and, although we have several on-site renewable energy systems in place, we are working on metering and collecting data that will allow us to fully report on their value. The following reports on what we are currently tracking.

Airside Operations Building

2016 marked the first full year of operation for YVR’s Airside Operations Building (AOB). Consolidating all airside operations under one roof, the AOB includes plenty of sustainability features including a GeoExchange field, solar hot water, photovoltaic panels, a wind turbine, a rainwater collection system and energy efficient LED lighting. While very small in output, the building’s renewable energy features act as a pilot for YVR to benchmark its ability to produce alternative energy sources. In 2016, the AOB consumed 1,946,461 kWh of energy and approximately 87 per cent was from renewable sources, including 636,318 kWh from the AOB’s renewable energy features and 1,066,358 kWh in hydro-electric power from BC Hydro.

Solar Hot Water

In 2003, YVR installed a solar panel system on the roof of the Domestic Terminal Building and connected it to 80 per cent of the hot water distribution system. This system was so successful that we applied it to the International Terminal Building in 2014, installing 72 solar panels. These panels now power two solar hot water systems in our terminal buildings, which heat more than 1,500 gallons of hot tap water every hour—resulting in an annual energy savings of 8,790 GJ of natural gas, totalling $90,000.


YVR has GeoExchange systems at the Airside Operations Building and at our International Terminal Building. Like geothermal energy, GeoExchange involves using groundwater as a heat medium; however, it can also use this water for cooling. This is the case in our Airside Operations Building, which has a heating and cooling GeoExchange system, whereas our International Terminal Building uses GeoExchange for cooling only.

YVR continued a multi-year research project to assess the viability of a closed-loop vertical GeoExchange system to provide heating and cooling for our terminal buildings. This included research into a GeoExchange system for our future District Energy building, which will consolidate all of YVR’s energy needs under one roof. We will begin initial work on the building in 2017 and will continue to look at GeoExchange as its core source of heating and cooling, as well as additional renewable energy features.

Power Smart Programs

YVR continued to participate in BC Hydro’s Power Smart Programs. We worked closely with BC Hydro on many initiatives and we participated in the Energy Manager Program, which dedicates an employee to manage the implementation of energy-saving projects and improve existing operational and maintenance procedures. Through this program, YVR undertook an Energy Management Assessment in 2016 to identify priority areas for future action, including the need to improve employee energy awareness.