Kelowna EV and Home Retrofit Focus Groups
Over the past year, in response to COVID-19 restrictions, CEA has transitioned our signature, in-person workshops to an interactive, online engagement program and hosted over 20 events in eight BC communities of various sizes.
By providing an event host, breakout group facilitators, technical support, and an agenda of creative activities, CEA can confidently organize, facilitate and synthesize virtual events for groups of any size.
We planned and facilitated a series of six focus groups for the City of Kelowna to support draft strategies for electric vehicle support and home energy retrofits. Positive feedback from participants and the client, facilitated discussions and detailed event summaries, and engagement all provided Kelowna with insightful public input to compliment the online community as well.
"CEA did a great job facilitating a virtual focus group I attended recently - one of the most interesting group discussions that I’ve participated in! The whole exercise was really well done with excellent conversations, interactive breakouts and information shared by the right people….. Well done!"
Carol Suhan, Manager, Conservation & Energy Management, FortisBC
Vernon Climate Action Plan
In 2020, CEA collaborated with All One Sky Foundation and FlipSide Sustainability, to support the City of Vernon to create their Climate Action Plan.
In 2020 CEA collaborated with All One Sky Foundation and FlipSide Sustainability, to support the City of Vernon to create their Climate Action Plan. This is currently undergoing additional public engagement prior to likely adoption in 2021.
It's one of the first Plans in B.C. to combine mitigation and adaptation actions, taking the opportunity to integrate these into feasible low-carbon resilience strategies. The Plan is unique in its final design, in that it is written for the public, and specifically identifies the responsibilities of individuals and businesses and other community partners to successfully implement the Plan.
The Plan asks every person and every organization in Vernon to play their part by committing to at least one action per year.
Level 2 Owner’s Toolkit
With funding from Fraser Basin Council in support of their Emotive - Live Electric campaign, CEA created an online toolkit and supporting collateral (videos, brochures, and additional resource links) to support education of municipal staff and residents as they install and operate Level 2 charging stations.
As stations come online, supporting each of the local governments to become well-informed advocates for increasing EV adoption is crucial.
By ensuring the new Level 2 station site hosts are well equipped with messaging, collateral and social media tactics, we are providing them with information about EVs and also coaching them how to communicate the benefits of EVs to their community.
Emotive #LiveElectric - Electric Vehicles Can Go The Distance Video
Building A Legacy
When the BC Energy Step Code was introduced in 2017, CEA addressed an identified knowledge gap in the East Kootenay region of BC by developing the ‘Building a Legacy’ program. Responding to feedback from key industry stakeholders, the program has supported the transition of the East Kootenay building industry to implement the BC Energy Step Code (ESC) and the performance pathway approach to achieving Building Code standards.
Building a Legacy (BAL) includes a number of hands-on training opportunities that combine peer learning with leading edge building science education. We have delivered training for diverse audiences, including builders, architects, designers, sub-trades, real estate professionals, building officials and members of the public. In addition, local knowledge has been leveraged and amplified through a video series and an introduction to BC Energy Step Code video.
For updated information on the status of BC Energy Step Code implementation for new construction in East Kootenay, go to the East Kootenay Energy Step Code overview webpage. Viewers can be informed as to what each municipality is requiring, their timelines, incentives, and contacts.
CEA also developed the BAL Toolkit - an online resource inspired by the East Kootenay initiative. The BAL Toolkit was prepared for local governments to assist the implementation of the BC Energy Step Code. The online resource, linked below, includes a guidebook containing a general introduction to ESC, related Provincial and local government context, and a collection of implementation activities for use by municipalities.
The “Building A Legacy” building science workshops evolved along with the knowledge and capacity of participants. Taking an holistic approach, our instructors recognize that energy efficiency is only one of the important factors to consider in achieving comfortable, durable, high performance buildings. In the culminating workshop, “Making the Links: An Holistic Approach to Air Tightness” building scientist and engineer Hamid Heidarali, stitched together two years of transmitting knowledge and understanding in alternative below-grade, wall, and roof assemblies and their advantages and disadvantages in terms of energy efficiency, moisture management, durability and ease of repair/renovation. Our East Kootenay team has 25 wall, roof and below grade demonstration models, and accompanying technical booklets, available as learning aids to our training sessions.
CEA developed BuildSmart Tailgate training sessions to engage a harder-to-reach audience of sub-trades contractors. The on-site training introduces the BC Energy Step Code, emphasizes the importance of air tightness to the energy performance of a build, and provides a real-time mid-construction blower-door test where air leaks are detected and corrected. One host builder commented, “Thanks for putting on a very informative tailgate…It was invaluable for ourselves, our staff and sub-trades to see where the leaks were occurring!”.
The “Building A Legacy” video series, developed in collaboration with local builders, energy advisors and building officials, highlights topics such as working with an energy advisor, the importance of air tightness for energy efficiency, costs associated with building to the Step Code, and building strategies used to achieve a Step 5 (net-zero ready) home.
Charge North EV Charging Network
Charge North is developing a reliable and robust electric vehicle (EV) station network, including both DCFC stations (approximately 30-40 minutes to charge vehicle) and Level 2 stations (approximately 4 hours to charge vehicle). DCFCs allow EVs to travel long distances - they are key to getting EV drivers into the region. Levels 2s can direct how and where visitors spend their time and money while in your community. They provide important back up to DCFC stations and ensure all types of EVs have access to public charging.
Charge North is made possible by extensive collaboration between over 40 local governments and the Community Energy Association (CEA) as project facilitator. General project oversight is provided by an Advisory Committee comprised of representatives from each of the six regional districts and Northern BC Tourism Association.
Community Energy Association Role
CEA Roles and Responsibilities:
- Facilitate collaboration between 43 local governments
- Project management, including sourcing funding
- Public education and outreach
- Media relations
- Car dealership engagement
Charge North Advisory Committee
AC Roles and Responsibilities:
- Represent community level interests and act as liaison for the communities
- Communicate information to Boards and members
- Review and provide input on project collateral/public materials
- Advise on project direction and decisions
- Connect CEA with relevant stakeholders, including relevant Indigenous communities
- Bring forward project concerns and opportunities
- Provide support in securing capital for future EV station deployment
- North Coast Regional District
- Kitimat-Stikine Regional District
- Regional District of Bulkley Nechako
- Regional District of Fraser-Fort George
- Cariboo Regional District
- Thompson-Nicole Regional District
- Federation of Canadian Municipalities
- BC Hydro
- BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
- Northern Development Initiative Trust (NDIT)
Peaks to Prairies EV Charging Network
The Peaks To Prairies EV Charging Network facilitates travel to and within the beautiful region of Southern Alberta with fast charging and Level 2 stations from Canmore to Medicine Hat, south to Waterton and to the Crowsnest Pass... with many stops along the way!
The rural and dispersed nature of Southern Alberta communities demands solutions that are innovative, collaborative and reflective of the local challenges and opportunities.
This is why, in 2016, regional economic development organizations, Southgrow Regional Initiative and Alberta Southwest Regional Alliance, approached CEA to discuss the opportunity of developing an EV charging network in their region, similar to Accelerate Kootenays. With strategic siting and regional collaboration, such a network could bolster local economies, connect Southern Alberta to surrounding jurisdictions and highlight the growing renewable energy sector in the region. The City of Calgary, Lethbridge and Medicine Hat, as well as Medicine Hat College joined the collaboration to form the Peaks to Prairies partnership.
CEA facilitated the project from ideation through to project managing the installations on behalf of the advisory committee. In addition to sourcing and ultimately successfully securing funding to create the network, our staff, led by Project Manager, Megan Lohmann, also facilitated the RFP process to find an owner/operator partner and managed contracting.
Accelerate Kootenays EV Charging Network
Accelerate Kootenays was Canada’s first community driven strategy to build a clean transportation network, and was a catalyst for subsequent regional EV charging infrastructure strategies in other jurisdictions, including Southern Alberta (Peaks to Prairies), Central and Northern BC (Charge North) and Central/Northern Alberta. CEA facilitated the Accelerate Kootenays project from early feasibility, mapping and grant-writing through to managing installations, media releases and celebrations.
The driving principle that CEA followed in managing this complex, multi-partner project was that a community-led process would ensure solutions were relevant to the context - technology, service agreements, alerts, etc, would all be appropriate for the unique needs and opportunities of the Kootenays.
While the project started as a way to address the technical barrier to EV adaptation, it became an opportunity for tourism, economic development and emissions reductions across a large rural region. The impact of Accelerate Kootenays will continue for years to come and should be celebrated as a legacy project by the Regional Districts that demonstrated the leadership and innovation to make it happen.
Strategic siting of 13 DC fast chargers and 40 Level 2s ensured a network that holistically supported electric travel to and within the region. Balancing fast charging stations with Level 2 stations maximized project budget while providing tourism opportunities for host communities.
Alongside addressing access to charging infrastructure, the project team also identified the lack of awareness of EV technology in the region. In addition to a holistic multimedia and online campaign to bring awareness to EVs, CEA also leveraged the momentum of Accelerate Kootenays to build the #RuralEV Mobile Showcase to communities across the region.
Over the course of 2 years, CEA staff drove a Chevrolet Bolt to community events across the region, offering information as well as test drives. This proved to be a successful way of demystifying EVs, allowing Kootenay residents to be able to see, feel and experience EVs.
"after test driving your EV... we finally decided to just do it! We brought home our beautiful bouncing baby [Chevrolet] Bolt yesterday and we are so excited! Thank you for giving us the chance to try it out and the confidence to know we would be happy with it!"
A graphic summary of the #RuralEV Mobil Showcase is here.