How can we build our homes and communities so that they co-exist harmoniously with Nature? What does it mean to create a sustainable house, a sustainable community, a sustainable city? For each additional day that we live, design and build unsustainably, we pull another fibre out of the fabric of Earth’s ecosystems.

Energy Policy at Bamberton
A Progress Report

1.0 Introduction

1.1 Bamberton is a proposed environmentally responsible new town for 12,000 people, to be built on the site of the abandoned cement works, 20 miles north of Victoria. The application for rezoning was made in April 1991, was given 3rd Reading by the Cowichan Valley Regional District in Sept '93, and is currently undergoing review by the B.C. provincial government before returning to the CVRD for Final Reading.

1.2 Overall planning for the energy policy of the new community is taking place within a global context which has shifted dramatically since the energy-expansive post-war years. The world scientists on the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have called for a 60% reduction in CO2 emissions now, in order to minimize the risk of global warming from the build-up of CO2 in the atmosphere. Here in British Columbia, with an annual population increase of c.65,000 people, BC Hydro has adopted an aggressive policy of demand-side management, emphasizing opportunities for increased energy efficiency as an alternative to costly new investments in hydroelectric infrastructure, such as the Site C dam.

1.3 It is the goal of all involved that Bamberton should become a showcase for sustainability, and for the proper stewardship of resources. Bamberton is aiming to achieve a 20-year goal of 80% CO2 reduction by an overall energy demand management strategy, by its traditional, pedestrian-oriented urban design, and by appropriate sustainable transportation initiatives.

1.4 The BC Energy Council is due to submit its report in November 1994, and is expected to give energy efficiency and demand-side management a prominent role. By demonstrating how a new urban settlement can be a model of energy efficiency, it is hoped that other new communities and subdivisions in B.C. will be able to implement similar programs, and thereby assisting in achieving the province's overall energy goals.

1.5 Once approved, Bamberton's village neighbourhoods will be built at the rate of 250-300 houses a year over a 17-20 year period, starting in 1996. Urban density in the neighbourhoods will be 7-8 units per acre; higher in the town centre. 60% of the dwellings will be single family dwellings (some may be row-houses); 40% will be apartments, town-houses, and clustered housing. There is provision for 12.8 hectares of neighbourhood and town centre commercial space, and 26.6 hectares of commercial/industrial space in the Environmental Technologies Park, giving 46,000 sq metres of commercial space overall.

2.0 Key Energy Features : Demand Management

2.1 All houses will be built to the new April 1994 R2000 building standard (or the equivalent level of energy efficiency), through which homes will require 60% less energy for heating and hot water than standard BC homes. This requirement will be written into the Design Guidelines under the Registered Building Scheme, enforced by covenant, and by the Bamberton Design Review Committee.

2.2 A joint venture partnership with BC Hydro is being considered through which Bamberton would be designated a Powersmart Community (see below), in order to encourage overall energy efficiency, and to take advantage of new developments in technology.

2.3 An E-Star rating program, modelled on the Green Builder Program in Austin, Texas, has been written to encourage builders to achieve a higher level of energy, embodied energy and resource efficiency throughout the home. (E = Energy, Environment, Efficiency). Individual elements of the home (basement, flooring, sides, roofing, windows etc) will be assessed on a self-scoring basis, with homes being granted one, two, three or four-star status, depending on the materials used.

2.4 Mandated water efficiency standards (6 litre toilets, efficient appliances) will reduce the amount of hot water required in individual homes.

2.5 A Bamberton Utility Corporation has been established, and may play a role in Bamberton's energy servicing, including demand-side management and educational programs to encourage efficiency.

2.6 It is anticipated that houses will only require a 60 or 70 amp service to meet their needs.

3.0 Key Energy Features : Supply

3.1 The basic source of energy will be electricity, generated hydroelectrically by BC Hydro. When coupled with demand-side management, this is considered an environmentally sustainable source of power.

3.2 The prospects for cogeneration (district heating) are of interest, using centrally-heated water piped under the streets to homeowners for home-heating, if it can be shown to be financially viable.

3.3 The prospects for a ground-source heat recovery system for the town centre or sections of the town are also of interest, if it can be shown to be financially viable.

3.4 The prospects for wind generation are low, as the site is sheltered from most prevailing winds.

3.5 While the site is east-facing, both passive and active solar energy systems will be encouraged.

3.6 Wood-burning stoves will be permitted as long as they are EPA approved for performance.

3.7 The prospects for gas as a source of heat-energy are under discussion.

4.0 Bamberton as a Power Smart Community

4.1 BC Hydro has expressed an interest in working with the South Island Development Corporation, and in designating Bamberton as a Power Smart Community, whereby a partnership would be established with the intention of maximizing the opportunity for Bamberton to become a showcase of energy-efficient living.

4.2 South Island is interested in the opportunities for utilizing variable rate structures to create consumer incentives for efficiency and to encourage peak-shaving (reduced energy use at the time of peak demand).

4.3 South Island is also interested in the opportunities to use PowerStat electrical consumption metering equipment to give useful user-feedback to consumers, to encourage efficiency. The PowerStat has been installed in the Saskatchewan Advanced House, and provides a digital read-out on the amount of electricity being used at the moment, by the day, by the month, and the price being paid per kilowatt hour.

4.4. Other possible joint-venture services :

• Providing information on and/or the distribution and sale of energy efficient appliances to homeowners and businesses at Bamberton, aiming at a target level of 7,500 KwH/per house per year for a 2,000 sq ft house, equivalent to the Green Home in Waterloo, Ontario.

• Providing a similar service with regard to high performance windows.

• Providing education and information on energy efficient opportunities, and new technologies.

• Providing a sales service for pre-wiring for home automation and intelligent house design, to encourage energy-saving through peak-shaving and power transfer between appliances, and to facilitate the subsequent development of intelligent houses at Bamberton.

• Providing guidelines and advice on appropriate methods of wiring to minimize the risks of electro-magnetic pollution, which is an item of concern to some consumers.

Prepared for JD Tait/South Island Development Corporation by

Guy Dauncey & Associates, & Rabnett Makaroff Planning Consultants Ltd

April 4th 1994