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Climate & Energy Solutions Webinars

Our Climate & Energy Solutions Webinars are open to all. We welcome your support for this and our other programs and activities through donations and memberships.

An email notification is sent out when registration opens. Once you've registered, put the date in your Calendar and plan for a brown bag lunch while you enjoy this chance for learning and discussion. Log in through your computer web browser to see and hear the presentations.

We welcome your suggestions for topics and speakers you would like to see as part of this program.

Upcoming Webinars

Currently no webinars planned. Please visit our BCSEA Events Page for trainings and education opportunities that happen in your region.


Past Webinars

November 2014

Renewable Fuels for Transport - Opportunities & Challenges to Growth 

*Please check back for the Youtube link and slides from this webinar*

Renewables in Canada’s transport fuel mix have grown significantly in the last decade, on the shoulders of EU and US leadership. Their position as a small but growing component of the fuel supply has brought with it the benefits of emission reductions and increased competition at the pump for consumers. The growth has not been without challenge, however, both from the traditional fossil fuel sector and from critiques on the sustainability biofuels, either some or all.  The technologies and feedstocks currently in commercial development are poised to drive the next phase in growth of second-generation biofuel use. This webinar will review the current status of renewable fuels for transport and address opportunities and challenges to their growth to 2020.

Fred Ghatala is a partner of Waterfall Group, a Vancouver-based consultancy on advanced biofuels and bioenergy.

From 2005 – 2011 he was with Canadian Bioenergy Corporation, which operated a nation-wide biofuel import and distribution business and developed first and second generation bioenergy projects, including a co-venture to construct Canada’s largest biodiesel facility (70MGY) in Alberta which commissioned in 2013.

He is currently the head of Canadian delegation to ISO 13065 ‘Sustainability Criteria for Bioenergy’, an international standard being developed for publication in 2015, and is the director for Carbon and Sustainability for the Western Canada Biodiesel Association. 

October 2014

Solar Sauce and Zero-Carbon Coffee - How BC's Food and Beverage Industry Can Save Money and Reduce Its Climate Impact

Climate Smart has identified $100 million in potential savings by 2020 for B.C. food & beverage businesses that reduce energy costs and carbon emissions.

A 5% annual reduction in carbon emissions from B.C.’s food and beverage sector would reduce the province’s greenhouse gas emissions by 250,000 tonnes.

To date, Climate Smart has trained over 775 businesses, resulting on average in annual carbon reductions of five per cent in participating businesses – businesses that are also growing, adding employees at an average rate of 2.7 per cent per year.

Watch the video on YouTube or see the presentation slides (PDF, 4.8 MB).

See Climate Smart's report Carbon Emissions in BC's Food and Beverage Industry (6.3MB PDF) for another look at this Webinar's topic.

Christine VanDerwill, Client Relations Manager, leads the business engagement team at Climate Smart Business, a Vancouver-based social enterprise. Climate Smart offers a comprehensive, group-based training program, certification and tools for small/medium enterprises (SMEs) to measure and profitably reduce their carbon emissions associated with energy, transport, and waste. Christine helps local government and corporate partners develop strategic campaigns to engage value chains, suppliers and stakeholders in carbon, (greenhouse gas) management and leverage market drivers to accelerate climate action.

Christine holds a MA in International Studies from Simon Fraser University (SFU) and served as a research assistant at SFU's Adaptation to Climate Change Team (ACT). In addition to an extensive background in business development, Christine brings international field experience to her work and was involved in the development of avoided deforestation projects in Southern Peru, coordinating carbon market activities with stakeholders, partner NGOs, and certification organizations.

Ana Lukyanova, Client Advisor and Data Analyst works directly with SMEs leading them through the process of quantifying their carbon footprint and developing emission reduction and cost cutting strategies. She is excited to help companies look at their operations through a new lens of carbon accounting and find opportunities they otherwise would not see. Prior to Climate Smart, Ana worked at the University of Alberta on a research project developing a computer model to help the City of Edmonton compost their waste more efficiently. Ana holds an M.Sc. in Environmental Engineering and Mathematical Biology from the University of Alberta.

September 2014

Geothermal Power - What is BC's Potential?

Our Earth stores an enormous source of renewable energy right beneath our feet: geothermal power.

Geothermal energy is delivering clean, base-load and low cost electricity in 25 countries as well as commercial heating in 70 countries.


  • is price competitive with other renewables
  • is the only renewable base-load option with higher capacity factors than other sources
  • provides a source of useful byproduct heat
  • is especially attractive for northern and remote communities
  • is found right across Canada, especially in the West and North
  • runs indefinitely with proper heat resource management

In Canada, the geothermal industry has yet to gain traction despite having world class resources. It has great promise... but what will it take to turn the promise into reality?

Watch the video on YouTube or see the presentation slides (PDF, 2.2 MB).

Presenter Alison Thompson has dedicated a substantial part of her career to investigating and demonstrating the technical and commercial viability of high enthalpy geothermal energy. Since 2007, she has been the Managing Director of the Canadian Geothermal Energy Association.

With over 15 years of experience in project management, business and technology development in the North American energy sector, Ms. Thompson has successfully sought changes in federal tax regulations that now include geothermal energy. She has also been influential in creating eligibility for geothermal projects and reports for provincial and federal government funding. She was the inaugural recipient of the Belle Mulligan Award for Leadership from the Canadian Investor Relations Institute, and is a frequent contributor to published geothermal papers.

She is Chair of Borealis GeoPower, and a board member of Deep Earth Energy Production; a past Officer of Alterra Power (formerly Magma Energy); and an external evaluator for the Canada Foundation for Innovation. Globally, she has a seat on the Executive Committee of IEA-GIA; is a board member of the IGA; and was Geothermal Energy Forum Chair at the 20th World Petroleum Congress. She has also served on the European Union’s Enhanced Geothermal Innovative Network for Europe’s (ENGINE) Stakeholders Committee.

Ms. Thompson holds Bachelor and Master of Chemical Engineering degrees from McGill University, a Professional Engineering designation from the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta, a U.S. Engineer Intern designation, and a Master of Business Administration degree from Queen’s University.

Justin Crewson possesses Bachelor degrees in history and political science from Wilfrid Laurier University. He has also obtained Masters degrees in Political Science and Public Policy from the University of Windsor and the University of Michigan respectively. In addition to these academic credentials, Mr. Crewson holds significant project management experience. He has worked in various capacities for both the McGill Institute for the Study of International Development (ISID), and the Canada School of Public Service. In both of these roles he was involved in managing special projects and initiatives. At the Canada School of Public Service he helped to direct a number of initiatives concerning public sector reform. At the McGill ISID, he was involved with managing projects involving affordable housing, and structuring the curriculum of the institute’s Executive Education Program. As well, he has also served as an advisor with the Essex County Criminal Diversion Program, and was involved in restructuring institutional policies with regards to the treatment of crimes involving new technologies. He is currently a policy advisor at the Canadian Geothermal Energy Association (CanGEA).

June 2014

Germany's Path Towards 100% Renewable Energy Regions

In recent years, Germany has experienced a boom in local energy initiatives aiming at 100% renewable energy. This webinar offers an overview of progress, and highlight the strategies that have worked, including successful political decision-making, networking, courageous entrepreneurship, and citizen-led organizing.

It showcases the best practices, and explain how Germany’s Renewable Energy Act and national climate protection program have enabled the 100% renewable energy regions to make progress.

Watch the video on YouTube or see the presentation slides (PDF, 2 MB).

Beate Fischer M.A. received her degree in business administration at the Professional Academy in Mannheim, and her degree in political sciences and economics at the universities of Heidelberg and Manchester. After her studies, she did research at the University of Heidelberg on the institutional challenges of sustainable land use in Germany.

Since 2010, she has worked for the Institut dezentrale Energietechnologien, in Kassel, Germany, consulting and networking for regions that are aiming at a 100% renewable energy supply. Her focus is financial and non-financial civic participation in renewable energy projects, sustainable lifestyles, and regional/municipal climate protection.

100 RE Regions in Germany, Europe and the World (in English and German)


This webinar was presented in partnership with CanREA - the Canadian Renewable Energy Alliance.

May 2014

Green Angels - Investing in a Sustainable Future

Say you are a green entrepreneur, and you have a great project that you believe can make a difference on the planet. How can a sustainable start-up like yours find the financing it needs to get going? What are angel funds, and how do they contribute? Can crowdfunding help? What are the main barriers to innovation and the financing of innovation? And what kind of businesses are they funding?

Watch the video on YouTube or see the presentation slides (PDF, 0.6 MB).

Michael Volker is a Vancouver-based entrepreneur who is active in the development of new high technology ventures. A professional engineer, he started his own company (Volker-Craig Ltd) in 1973. He sold it in 1981 and decided to work with entrepreneurs in building new companies.

Since then, he has been active in various early-stage businesses as a founder, investor, director and officer. He is presently the director of Simon Fraser University's Innovation Office and President and Chairman of Greenangel Energy Corp, a public company that invests in green technologies. He is also founder and President of the Western Universities Technology Innovation Fund - an angel fund for start-ups.

Mike co-founded the Vancouver Angel Network, VANTEC, and is also quite active with New Ventures BC - an annual business competition. He was chairman of the Vancouver Enterprise Forum for several years, and is very active on the B.C. high tech scene, serving on non-profit boards of New Ventures BC and the Canadian Listed Companies Association, and on several public and private company boards. He frequently writes and speaks on management and technology issues and is active as a member of various charitable and educational boards.

April 2014

The Future of Solar PV in BC

With solar prices falling and hydro prices rising, what is the current status of solar PV, and what is its future in British Columbia?

What does it cost to do an installation, and how much energy will it produce?

Watch the video on YouTube or see the presentation slides (PDF, 6 MB).

Dave Egles is the founder of HES-PV. His career has been exclusively in the field of photovoltaics. He has a Masters Degree from UBC and in 1988 he founded a company to commercialize PV across Canada. In 2012, he was awarded the Canadian Solar Industry Association’s Solar Pioneer Award, and in 2013 he won the Solar Distributor of the Year Award.

He has extensive experience managing teams of engineers and technicians to build and deliver major photovoltaic systems for clients such as Exhibition Place, The Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Powerstream, and various government agencies. He is Past-President of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Solar Industry Association, and served on BC’s 100,000 Solar Rooftops Task Force.

March 2014

Win-Win Transport Solutions

This presentation describes win-win transportation solutions that are cost-effective and technically feasible, and planning changes that improve transportation modes, apply more efficient pricing, and create accessible, multi-modal communities.

Since the changes provide many economic, social and environmental benefits, they can be justified regardless of the cost assigned to their greenhouse gas emissions.

If they are implemented to the degree that is economically justified, these win-win solutions can achieve a 30-50% reduction in our emissions while helping to address other problems such as traffic congestion, road accidents and inadequate mobility for non-drivers, while also supporting economic development.

Watch the video on YouTube or see the presentation slides (PDF, 5.0MB).

Todd Litman is founder and Executive Director of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, an independent research organization dedicated to developing innovative solutions to transport problems.

His work expands the range of impacts and options that are normally considered in transportation decision-making, improves evaluation methods, and makes specialized technical concepts accessible to a larger audience. His research is used worldwide in transportation planning and policy analysis.

February 2014

The Carbon Bubble - Unburnable Fossil Fuels

What is the limit to the cumulative emissions of carbon in the atmosphere, which we must limit if we are to remain below the dangerous 2 Celsius increase in global temperature?

Fossil fuel companies and oil producing nations have confirmed reserves, with firm plans to extract them, of enough fossil fuels to generate about 2,975 GT CO2e - five times more than can be burnt if we are to avoid 'disastrous' climate change. 

In 2012, these reserves were valued at US $4 trillion of share values and US $1.27 trillion in debt; a further US $650 Billion was spent on exploration for yet more reserves.

What will be the effects on the financial system if these are stranded assets? What are the financial risks of holding or buying them now ? How could these funds be re-allocated to safe renewable energy sources which will have more secure future returns ? And what are the consequences for coal, oil and natural gas expansion and exploration plans, and the governments and companies involved?

See Guy Dauncey's edited summary of Carbon Tracker's work in 2013.

Watch the video on YouTube or see the presentation slides (PDF, 3.6MB).

Presenter: Mark Campanale is Founding Director of The Carbon Tracker Initiative in London UK. He conceived and originated the ‘unburnable carbon’ thesis which was picked up by Bill McKibben in Rolling Stone Magazine and has since taken on huge global significance. He was editor of Unburnable Carbon, are markets carrying a carbon bubble?, and the 2013 Report Wasted Capital.

Mark is responsible for strategy, board matters and developing Carbon Tracker's capital markets framework analysis. Prior to forming Carbon Tracker, Mark had twenty years experience in sustainable financial markets. 

Mark is co-founder of some of the first responsible investment funds at Jupiter Asset Management, NPI, AMP Capital, and Henderson Global Investors. Mark served on the World Business Council for Sustainable Development working group on capital markets leading up to the 1992 Earth Summit; was a Member of the Steering Committee of UNEP Financial Sector Initiative (1999-2003), and continues to advise a number of investment funds. 

He was a founder firector of the UK Sustainable and Responsible Investment Forum (UKSIF), 1990-2006, is a member of the Advisory Council of SASB (Sustainable Accounting Standards Board) and ImpactBase.org and the UNEP-WRI working group on greenhouse gas emissions and the financial sector.

January 2014

Climate Action at the Local Level: Community Change-Makers in British Columbia

What are British Columbia's cities, towns and communities doing to tackle the climate crisis? There are some great initiatives and innovations happening on the ground.

It is estimated that local governments have control or influence over about 45 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions in British Columbia. With this in mind, and to help the B.C. Government meet its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 33 per cent from 2007 levels by 2020 (and 80 per cent by 2050), the provincial government and the Union of B.C. Municipalities established the Climate Action Charter in 2007.

180 of 190 local governments have signed the Charter and have committed to reporting on their corporate and community GHG reduction activities.  Among the highlights:

  • 144 local governments are measuring their corporate GHG emissions
  • 31 local governments are carbon neutral
  • 40 carbon reserve funds have been established to fund local GHG emission reduction projects

In this webinar, Rob Abbott, Executive Director of Carbon Neutral Government, Green Communities and Climate Action Outreach for the Province of British Columbia, highlights some of the community “change makers” who are taking real action to tackle the climate crisis, and underscore the key lessons learned that may influence positive action by communities and other organizations in other jurisdictions.

Watch the video on YouTube or see the presentation slides (PDF, 1.8MB).

Rob Abbott is the Executive Director of Carbon Neutral Government and Outreach with the Province of B.C.’s Climate Action Secretariat.

In his 20 years prior to coming to government, Rob has helped businesses all over the world discover wealth-creating opportunities through a deeper integration of sustainability with organizational and competitive strategy. Rob is passionate about the intersection of sustainability with strategy and innovation; the ways in which trust (self trust, relationship trust and organizational trust) must be created to enable the collaboration that will create communities that are low carbon, healthy, and resilient in the face of change; and meaningful engagement of the three types of innovators necessary to achieve broad systemic change: disruptive, bridging and receptive.

December 2013

The Rossland Energy Diet - What are the Secrets of Their Success?

Two years ago, the residents of Rossland, a small town in BC’s West Kootenays, used to use 40% more electricity than average household: they were the ‘fattest’ energy town in the province.

Then something extraordinary happened. FortisBC PowerSense launched a seven-month, high-impact program to change that status, and persuade people to invest in energy efficiency, using the best tools in the book to remove barriers and persuade people to change. 

Fully 22% of the homeowners (257) registered for an energy assessment and qualified for a rebate, and 34 businesses received complete lighting retrofits. Compared to the normal take-up rate, this is ground-breaking.

By the end of the program, 12% of Rossland’s homeowners and 35 small businesses had invested $1.6 million in energy efficiency improvements. They reduced their annual consumption of natural gas by 2220 GJ, their electricity by 1,478,000 kilowatt hours, and their greenhouse gas emissions by 338 tonnes. 

How did they do it? What made Rossland’s program so successful? And could it be replicated elsewhere? Patricia Dehnel opens up her secret box, and reveal the wisdom within.

Watch the video on YouTube or see the presentation slides (PDF, 1.5MB).

More about the Fortis BC Community Energy Diet program.

Patricia Dehnel, MCIP, RPP, has worked in the field of Community Planning since 1994.  In 2013 she has enjoyed a 1 year secondment to FortisBC as Program Manager of the Kootenay Energy Diet, a residential PowerSense program to encourage and support homeowners to do energy efficient upgrades to their homes. Kootenay Energy Diet is the regional version of Rossland Energy Diet.  

Since 2009, she has been an Energy Planner with Community Energy Association (CEA), a non-profit organization supporting BC’s Local Governments in accelerating applications of energy efficiency and renewable energy in all aspects of community design, infrastructure and community engagement for sustainability.

Until 2007, Patricia was the City Planner in Nelson, BC. She has a Masters Degree in Community and Regional Planning from the University of British Columbia. She and her family enjoy travel and spending time with friends and family exploring faraway places.

Terry Miller is a Saskatchewan transplant who has been working and playing in the mountains around Rossland for over 30 years.


As Chair of the Rossland Sustainability Commission, he works with volunteer members of the Commission and its Task Forces on Energy, Economics, and Education to connect and engage the citizens of Rossland with the City's ambitious 30-year strategic sustainability plan.

In his workaday life, he is an Organization Development consultant, working with health authorities and with companies such as Microsoft and Mercer International to help them gain deeper insights into the belief systems and experiences in their own organizations, and with the United Nations Development Program, which he is helping to better understand how their programs are affecting people's quality of life.

Terry enjoys his work almost as much as he enjoys the idyllic pleasures of Rossland, where world-class skiing and biking are right out his back door.

November 2013

Building a Passive House - The Practical Low-Down


Passive House at night

A Passive House building uses 90% less energy than conventional construction, and larger Passive House projects are now being designed and built in North America, following Europe’s lead. Hear:

  • Why would a North American contractor build to the Passive House Standard?
  • What are the distinguishing construction features of a Passive House building?
  • Are they expensive to build?
  • And what are they like to live or work in? 

Our guest Rob Bernhardt provides answers to these questions and discusses multi-family passive house projects being designed.

Watch the video on YouTube or see the presentation slides (1.5MB PDF).

Much more information on the Bernhardt Passive website. See also last year's BCSEA Webinar on Passive Houses.

Rob Bernhardt is trained in passive house design and construction, and works with Bernhardt Contracting Ltd. in providing construction management, consulting and construction services. As a commercial general contractor with an interest in high performance buildings, Bernhardt Contracting Ltd. built the first building on Vancouver Island to the International Passive House Standard of energy efficiency.  Current passive house projects in the pre-construction phase include a six-unit rental building in Victoria, a show home in a 50 lot subdivision, and two larger multi family projects.

October 2013

British Columbia: A Climate for Change
LNG, Northern Gateway, CleanTech - What's their future for BC ?

In this BCSEA webinar presentation Andrew Weaver explores the potential opportunities and risks associated with BC's venture down the path towards becoming a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) exporter.

He also provides an assessment of the current Northern Gateway proposal in the context of British Columbia's submission to the Joint Review Panel.

He argues that we are at a critical juncture. While British Columbia used to be a leader in the development and implementation of innovative GHG reduction policies, if we are not careful we will end up lagging other jurisdictions who have seized upon the economic opportunity provided by the clean tech sector.

This webinar sponsored by Vancity, Canada's largest credit union

Watch the video on YouTube or see the presentation slides (1.4 MB PDF).

Andrew and Guy discussed changes to Global Warming Potential of methane discussed in the latest IPCC report. Look for the numbers in table 8.A.1 on page 8-88, or see a discussion in CleanTechnica.

Andrew suggested that as citizens we can provide input to BC Hydro's Integrated Resource Plan until October 18, 2013. See the BCSEA page on the IRP.

Dr. Andrew Weaver was elected as the Green Party of British Columbia MLA for Oak Bay Gordon Head in the May 2013 provincial election, He presently serves as the deputy leader of the Green Party or BC.

He received his B.Sc in Mathematics & Physics from the University of Victoria in 1983, a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Mathematics from Cambridge University in 1984, and a PhD in Applied Mathematics from the University of British Columbia in 1987.

He is a climate scientist and Lansdowne Professor in the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, University of Victoria. He was a Lead Author in the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th scientific assessments.

Dr. Weaver is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society, American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Meteorological Society.

Over the years he has received a number of awards including the E.W.R. NSERC Steacie Fellowship in 1997, the Killam Research Fellowship and a CIAR Young Explorers award in 2003, the CMOS President’s Prize in 2007, a Guggenheim fellowship in 2008 and the Royal Society of Canada  Miroslaw Romanowski Medal and the A.G. Huntsman Award for Excellence in Marine Science in 2011. In 2008 he was appointed to the Order of British Columbia.

His book Keeping our Cool: Canada in a Warming World was published by Viking Canada in September 2008. His second book Generation Us: The Challenge of Global Warming was published by Raven books in 2011.

September 2013

100% Renewables - Roadmaps for powering states, countries, and the world with wind, water and sunlight

Global warming, air pollution, and energy insecurity are three of the most significant problems facing the world today. Our guest Mark Jacobson from Stanford University discussed these problems, and technical and economic plans to solve them by powering 100% of the world, individual countries, and states for all purposes, including electricity, transportation, industry, and heating/cooling, with wind, water, and sunlight together with efficiency measures, within 20-40 years. He discussed specific plans for California and New York State.

Watch the video on YouTube or view the presentation slides (PDF, 1.4MB). [2013-09-19 note: We have edited out the Webinar glitches in an updated on YouTube.]

Relevant papers are at http://www.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/Articles/I/susenergy2030.html

Mark Z. Jacobson is Director of the Atmosphere/Energy Program and Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University. He is also a Senior Fellow of the Woods Institute for the Environment and Senior Fellow of the Precourt Institute for Energy.  He received a B.S. in Civil Engineering with distinction, an A.B.  in Economics with distinction, and an M.S. in Environmental Engineering from Stanford University, in 1988.  He received an M.S. in Atmospheric Sciences in 1991 and a PhD in Atmospheric Sciences in 1994 from UCLA. He has been on the faculty at Stanford since 1994. His work relates to the development and application of numerical models to understand better the effects of energy systems and vehicles on climate and air pollution and the analysis of renewable energy resources.


June 2013

Algae Biofuels: Could They Fuel the World ?

Could products made from algae be a solution to the world’s energy, food, economic and climate challenges? Algae have the power to put fuels in our vehicles, recycle CO2, provide nutrition for animals and people and create jobs for millions.

The interest around algae stems from the fact that they can produce between 2,000-5,000 gallons of fuel per acre, far more than any other renewable feedstock, and they can grow on marginal and non-crop land, so they don’t compete with valuable agricultural land. They can also grow in brackish, salty and polluted water, and they consume carbon dioxide as they grow, helping reduce the CO2 in the atmosphere.

Around the world, 10,000 researchers and engineers are working to develop ways to grow algae for biodiesel, green gasoline, aviation fuel, sustainable animal feeds and human health products.

But can the industry live up to the hype? Will we one day see airplanes, trucks and other vehicles being powered by algae, or will it remain a source of phantom hope? 

Watch the video on vimeo or see the presentation slides (PDF, 7 MB).

Presenter: Dr. John Benemann is co-founder & CEO of MicroBio Engineering, Inc, a wastewater and algal biofuels research-engineering company, and founding Director of the Algae Biomass Organization, a non-profit society that promotes the development of viable technologies and commercial markets for renewable and sustainable products derived from algae.

He has a B.Sc. in Chemistry and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of California Berkeley, and he spent three years as postdoctoral fellow at the Dept. of Chemistry at UC San Diego; he then rejoined U.C. Berkeley in the Department of Civil Engineering, where he supervised Ph.D. thesis students in Civil Engineering, Biophysics and Plant Physiology.

In 1980, he started a small microalgae biotechnology company, and for the past 20+ years he has been a part time researcher at the University of California Berkeley, at the University of Hawaii, and a full-time consultant. His current research interests are microalgae products, aquaculture, wastewater treatment, photosynthesis, municipal solid wastes management, biofuels and all aspects of greenhouse gas abatement. He is the author of numerous publications and reports and belongs to a number of professional and trade organizations. 

Note: For a BC perspective, see this 2009 paper by other authors: Microalgae Technologies and Processes for Biofuels / Bioenergy Production in British Columbia

April 2013

Climate Smart: Low Carbon from Small Business

Small Businesses As Catalysts for a Low-Carbon Economy

Join Climate Smart’s co-founder and president Elizabeth Sheehan, as she shares highlights from their work with small and mid-sized businesses.

Recently, the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS) commissioned Climate Smart to conduct a study into the costs/benefits of small-to-mid sized businesses 'going green' and reducing the greenhouse gases they emit. Climate Smart looked at over 500 BC businesses and produced 11 in-depth case studies on organizations in the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island. The results have surprised even PICS. See the Report 

View the video on YouTube or the presentation slides here (PDF, 6 MB).

Elizabeth Sheehan initiated and led the development of Climate Smart for Ecotrust Canada. She brings more than 20 years’ experience in community economic development and small business programming in North America and abroad with a focus on climate change action, community reinvestment and business development strategies. Elizabeth holds degrees from the University of California, Berkeley (BSc), and Cornell University (MRP, Economic Development)

March 2013

Electric Cars: How will we pass the tipping point?

John Stonier provided his insightful and first-hand knowledge of electric cars:

  • What are the key metrics to evaluate electric cars – for the environment; for the consumer’s pocket book; and for our economy?  
  • Will the electric car really take hold this time, and how is the automotive industry responding to electric cars?
  • What are the future trends to look for and how will the electric car affect the future?
  • Finally, a look at local EV developments and a review of the current Province of BC EV initiatives of rebates, building code requirements and building charging infrastructure?
  • Which organizations are leading the way, and how can you get involved?

View the video on YouTube

John Stonier, CA is an entrepreneur and business consultant who has provided financial leadership to a wide spectrum of high tech Canadian companies over the last 25 years including notable companies in telecom networks, internet and renewable energy.  Following his passion for a sustainable economy he has acted in a range of advisory and leadership roles with the Vancouver Electric Vehicle Association, BC Sustainable Energy Association, Vancouver Renewable Energy Cooperative, and Solar BC.  John is also a member of the Vancouver Clean-tech CFO Group.

Through his consulting company, Signature Renewables Inc., John provides consulting CFO, business strategy and corporate governance services to emerging businesses breaking new ground in progressive areas ranging from web based internet services to quick service restaurants. His specific area of interest is sustainable industries such as electric vehicles and renewable energy. 

About eight years ago, a newly purchased gas-electric hybrid piqued his curiosity in full electric cars and it’s been John's passion ever since.  He is the spokesperson and former director of the Vancouver Electric Vehicle Association (VEVA) and has given scores of public presentations and media interviews on the topic of electric cars.  He is a caretaker of VEVA’s 1912 Detroit Electric car, a BC original, and through VEVA he has been active in shaping local public policy surrounding charging infrastructure.  In 2012 he completed a five year project to convert a 1999 Porsche Boxster to 100% electric drive with regenerative braking.

March 2013

Cargo-Bikes: Ting-a-Ling!

Cargo-bikes are the future! The European Cycle Logistics project has found that in urban areas, half of all light goods could be moved by bike, producing zero air pollution and many more smiles in our noisy, congested urban areas. Join us to learn what today’s cargo-bikes look like, what they can achieve, and why they are beginning to carve a slice in the urban goods transportation market.

View the video on YouTube or vimeo or the presentation slides here (PDF, 1.2 MB).

Our guest presenter Julian Ferguson is Communications Officer with the European Cyclists’ Federation, in Brussels. He comes from Australia, and has a degree in International Relations. He rides a Surly Long Haul Trucker, a mean beast of a touring bicycle, and an old Dutch-style bicycle when he’s feeling like a slow sexy ride to work.

Thanks to our participants who suggested some websites during this Webinar for more information:

January 2013

Biomass Heating - This Ain't your Grandpa's Old Wood Stove

This webinar looks at how woody biomass can be used effectively and sustainably to reduce fossil fuel consumption for commercial, institutional, municipal and micro grid district heating deployments.

It discusses basic fundamentals of biomass heating based on European principles and "off the shelf" technology. It reviews biomass supply/source, capital costs, economics, best practises for design, energy costing, review of current projects in BC (the Good, the Bad and the Ugly) such as Dockside Green, UBC, Lillooet, Burns Lake, Granisle and others.

This Webinar was presented with the generous assistance of Vancity, Canada's largest Credit Union.

Watch the webinar on YouTube or Vimeo or view the presentation slides here (PDF, 5 MB).

Presenter: David Dubois, Project Coordinator, Wood Waste to Rural Heat

David has a number of years of experience developing a biomass heating sector in British Columbia working as the project coordinator for the Wood Waste to Rural Heat project (previously the Green Heat Initiative) of Community Futures East Kootenay. In that role he conducted nearly 20 technical feasibility analyses and economic analyses of biomass heating and district energy systems for a variety of First Nations, local governments, schools, health care facilities and businesses. The systems ranged from single buildings to the entire heat demand for a 300 person remote First Nation Community.

David is currently working with UBC and the Community Energy Association researching how biomass from Wildfire Mitigation can be used as fuel system for district heating. He organized, led and presented in over half a dozen bioenergy conferences and sessions including presentations at the 2012 Chemical Engineering conference, the 2012 Canadian Bioenergy Association Conference. David has also worked as an advisor and consultant on a variety of aspects of projects including initial project identification, evaluation and finally deployment.

David brings a diverse background of skills ranging including technical, finance, and marketing. Prior to work in the biomass heating sector he worked in the commercial finance industry as an auditor evaluating credit risk and collateral condition for GE Commercial Distribution Finance. He also worked doing research designing biomass filtration devices for use in the agriculture, pulp and paper, and oil and gas sector. David attended the University of Alberta in Edmonton and received a degree in Chemical Engineering.

November 2012

Transforming BCs Homes - 10 Innovative Energy Efficiency Programs

Residential energy efficiency is one area where BC is getting it right. Investing in the energy efficiency of our buildings creates green collar jobs, generates tax revenues, and reduces energy costs for families and businesses, as well as reducing our energy use and tackling climate change.

Despite the good work to date, there remains huge potential for growth in residential energy efficiency programming. This webinar provides a summary of ten innovative BC energy efficiency initiatives for existing homes and the steps that are needed to make residential energy efficiency a cornerstone of the new clean energy economy.

Watch the webinar on Vimeo or view the presentation slides here (PDF, 1.8MB).

Presenter: Peter Sundberg, Executive Director of City Green Solutions.

City Green Solutions is an enterprising non-profit organization with a mission to excite, inspire and lead British Columbians in finding innovative home and building energy efficiency solutions. City Green has been providing energy efficiency services for more than thirteen years, completing over 21,000 energy assessments on new and existing homes, businesses, institutional buildings and multi-unit residential buildings. City Green works with industry stakeholders including local governments and utilities to deliver a wide range of energy and water efficiency and conservation services and programs, including building energy assessments and diagnostic services, research and evaluation services, energy and water conservation outreach and education and training.

October 2012

UBC – A living laboratory for sustainability

The University of British Columbia has a long history of addressing sustainability, both in its campus operations and in its teaching and research. For most of that history, these efforts were largely pursued in parallel, with operations personnel rarely considering how UBC research or teaching might inform their decisions on energy, buildings, transportation and the like, and academic faculty rarely considering the ways in which their efforts might positively impact campus operations. This all changed in 2010. This presentation will share the the vision and policies and that led to the setting of aggressive climate action targets and the creation of the UBC Sustainability Initiative, charged with deeply integrating the University's academic and operational sustainability under two themes: ‘the campus as a living laboratory’ and ’the university as an agent of change.’

Watch the webinar on Vimeo or view the presentation slides here (1.9 MB PDF).

Presenter: Orion Henderson, Director of Operational Sustainability at the University of British Columbia. In this role, he directs the activities of the Campus Sustainability Office (CSO).

The Office is responsible for facilitating the identification and implementation of sustainability initiatives in the planning, development and operation of the campus lands and facilities, for engaging the community in sustainability initiatives and creating incentives for sustainable behaviours among staff faculty and students.

Orion develops strategic plans for the CSO and is responsible for directing the development, planning, managing, monitoring and evaluation of CSO programs. Orion received his BEng in Chemical Engineering from CIT, Ireland and his MSc in Environmental Technology from Imperial College, England.

September 2012

Passive Houses in Canada and Around the World

Guido Wimmers discusses the experience of Passive House in Canada and shows the fundamental components of Passive House design, with examples and potential contradictions in the current building industry and policy.

The Passive House approach to construction is a highly ambitious response to global climate change and energy security issues.

Heating & cooling energy represents 75–85% of the total lifecycle environmental impact of a building in Canada, so our singular priority for achieving sustainable buildings must be a dramatic reduction in their energy use. The Passive House approach is the world’s most ambitious, verified and practical way of meeting this goal.

The Passive House Standard gives designers, planners and builders the tools and knowledge to produce buildings which can truly be called sustainable, and which can be affordable to all.

Passive House, the world’s most stringent energy efficiency standard, is currently becoming a “global movement” with over 40,000 units build in more than 30 different countries and almost every climate zone from the arctic to the tropics.

Here in Canada Passive House is gaining momentum, but Canadians also have to overcome hurdles as in many other countries. The availability of high performance components such as high performance window or highly efficient HRVs is as much an issue as to achieve thermal bridge free design or appropriate air tightness. Furthermore also municipalities and insurers have to deal with a new building approach and a new level of performance.

View the presentation slides here (2.4 MB PDF).

View a video of the presentation on YouTube or vimeo.

Presenter: Prior to moving to Canada in 2007, Dr. Wimmers worked as a consultant designing and building Passive Houses in Austria, Germany and Italy. Since being in Canada, Guido has been invited to share his expertise with students at UBC, SFU and BCIT and has given numerous seminars and talks about the next leap in building technology at forums including the GLOBE convention, the CAGBC summit and Canadian Wood Council fairs.

Guido is one of the initiators of Canada’s first Passive House in Whistler and has worked on Passive House projects all across Canada. He is also co-author of the Passive Design Tool Kit of the City of Vancouver and a founding director of the Canadian Passive House Institute

CanPHI offers courses and support in sustainable and integrated design in the form of Passive House, energy efficiency, thermal comfort, healthy living and wellbeing in the creation of the next generation of high performance buildings which perform at a very high level, thermally, acoustically, environmentally and economically. Please visit www.passivehouse.ca

August 2012

Charging Up - Infrastructure for electric vehicles in BC

Electric vehicles have arrived, and BC is plugging in. Will they play a role in your sustainable future? Find out what’s happening in BC to support electric vehicles, and learn about the Community Charging Infrastructure Fund that’s catalyzing a network of charging stations across the province.

Watch the Webinar on Vimeo or review her presentation slides (8 MB).

More info at: Plug in BC and http://www.fraserbasin.bc.ca/programs/community_charging_infrastructure.html

Charlotte Argue, B.Sc., CSP. is the Transportation Analyst, Climate Change and Air Quality for the Fraser Basin Council, a not-for-profit organization with a mandate for sustainability. In this role, she works with fleet managers to support improvements in environmental and economic performance.

For the past three years, Charlotte has been involved in a provincially-led electric vehicle working group, and led the Plug In BC electric vehicle Fleet Buyers Group, helping to place first-release electric vehicles in BC fleets. She is currently administering the Community Charging Infrastructure Fund, a provincial incentive program for electric vehicle charging stations. Charlotte has a background in climate change and energy-related issues, and is a Certified Sustainability Professional.

July 2012

Our Changing Ecological Footprint

For most of the 20th century, resources were cheap and easily available, so many countries became dependent on large amounts of fossil fuels, biological resources, minerals and fresh water they don't have.

As our global demand increases it is meeting a supply crunch, and it now takes more effort to harvest resources and water. Farming is becoming more fuel dependent, and basics such as food and fibers are becoming costlier.

These resource dynamics are becoming critical, and economic planners who ignore them may put their country’s economy at peril.

The Global Footprint Network (www.footprintnetwork.org) documents these changing trends and has assessed their economic impact for 200 countries around the world, and their trading partners.

These bio-physical assessments of countries’ resource performance, coupled with economic analysis, show structural challenges for many countries, and suggest opportunities for overcoming them.

Mathis Wackernagel, Ph. D. is co-creator of the Ecological Footprint and President of Global Footprint Network, an international sustainability think-tank which focuses on bringing about a sustainable human economy in which all can live well within the means of one planet.

Watch the webinar on Vimeo. See Mathis' annotated presentation slides here.

Mathis has worked on sustainability on six continents and lectured at more than a hundred universities. He previously served as the director of the Sustainability Program at Redefining Progress in Oakland, California, and ran the Centro de Estudios para la Sustentabilidad at Anáhuac University in Xalapa, Mexico.

He has authored or contributed to over 50 peer-reviewed papers, numerous reports and various books on sustainability that focus on embracing limits and developing metrics for sustainability.

After earning a degree in mechanical engineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, he completed his Ph.D. in community and regional planning at UBC, where he created the Ecological Footprint concept with his doctoral dissertation for Professor William Rees of UBC.

Mathis’ many awards include the prestigious 2012 Blue Planet Prize sponsored by Asahi Foundation, which he shared with his mentor Bill Rees, and the 2012 Kenneth E. Boulding Memorial Award of the International Society for Ecological Economics.

June 2012

Expanding Energy Efficiency for BC Hydro: Lessons from Industry Leaders

What would it cost for BC Hydro to join North American industry leaders and save 2% of forecast electricity sales annually with an expanded investment in energy efficiency (Demand Side Management) ? See how much leading utilities elsewhere have spent and how much energy they have saved.

John Plunkett of Green Energy Economics Group in Bristol, Vermont describes several program recommendations that would increase BC Hydro’s cost-effective efficiency savings. This presentation summarizes highlights of the evidence that would have been presented to the recently cancelled BC Utilities Commission hearings into BC Hydro’s new Integrated Resource Plan (IRP).

John has worked throughout North America and in China on behalf of energy service providers, citizen and environmental non-government organizations, state consumer advocates, utility regulators, and government agencies, and has testified as an expert witness before regulators in twelve US states and three Canadian provinces, presenting evidence on energy efficiency to the BCUC on five occasions.

Watch the webinar on YouTube or Vimeo or review his presentation slides.

May 2012

Alberta to China: What's the energy return ?

How much energy does it take to extract and ship a barrel of oil from the Athabasca to China ? Is it worth it ?

When the oil from the tar sands is scooped out of the ground, processed, piped across BC, and loaded onto a ship to China, how much energy is used up in doing so, and how does it compare to the energy in the oil?

Join Chris Peter (P. Eng, LEED AP, O&M) of C.J. Peter Associates Engineering in Prince George to lead us through his calculation of the Energy Return on Energy Invested (EROI) on oil extracted from the tar sands in northern Alberta and shipped to China through the Northern Gateway pipeline.

Mathematically, EROI is the ratio of the amount of usable energy acquired from a particular resource to the energy expended to acquire that energy.

In this case, the energy calculations include

  • the natural gas used to melt the bitumen underground (steam assisted gravity drainage),
  • the addition of hydrogen at the refineries,
  • the energy needed to pump the bitumen to the coast,
  • the energy needed to ship it to China,
  • the energy needed to ship diluent liquids from Australia to Alberta so that the bitumen can be pumped in the pipeline.

Is the EROI worth the risk of piping the oil across BC and then shipping it in tankers through BC's rough ocean waters ?

The information is in three forms:

  1. A set of presentation slides from our Webinar (PDF, 1.0 MB)
  2. A written analysis submitted to the National Energy Board Northern Gateway pipeline hearing (PDF, 150 KB)
  3. Oral testimony at the January 18 hearing in Prince George, starting at paragraph 7228 (PDF, 390 KB)

All of the research and preparation both for their intervention on the Joint Review Panel Hearings and for the BCSEA webinar were done at our Chris' and Norm's expense, out of a deeply held conviction that this is a matter of critical national importance

We have posted a recording of the Webinar here: http://vimeo.com/bcsea/gatewayeroi

Chris Peter’s area of expertise lies in energy efficient design for cold climates. He has been actively involved in building systems energy modelling since development of the early software programs in the 1980’s.

Since 1994, Chris has been principal of C.J. Peter Associates Engineering, a mechanical engineering firm in Prince George, B.C.specializing in design and modelling of energy efficient mechanical systems and facilities throughout northern B.C.

Norm Jacob studied Systems Design Engineering at the University of Waterloo (1973-79). He participated in the some of the first building energy modelling of commercial office buildings for Olympia & York in New York, London, Toronto and Calgary (1988-82).

Norm completed a B.Sc. in Natural Resources Management (1999) in forestry at the University of Northern BC and M.Sc. in Natural Resources and Environmental Studies (2003). His M.Sc.thesis in silviculture was on height to diameter ratio for which it was important to develop thresholds - thus he appreciates E. Mearnes specification of a threshold of 8:1 below which knowledge of EROI is crucial. Norm worked in various areas of forest science research (2003-2009) before returning to energy conservation.

Norm is grateful to have stumbled across the simple concept of EROI as a tool for assessing the non-sustainability of so many of our pipe dreams. He is 58 years old and helps raise three children in Prince George.

April 2012

Sustainable Aviation: Is it Possible?

Aviation has been considered by many in the climate movement to be incompatible with a livable climate for future generations.

Based on an Thomas' in-depth research, this presentation explores the possibility that aviation at the scale predicted by mid-century is compatible with effective climate mitigation. It includes consideration of the climate change impacts of aviation, progress and limitations of current engines and airplanes, better engines and aircraft, potential for operational efficiencies, relative forcings from CO2 vs. contrails, airships, fuel switching to hydrogen or batteries, biomass supplies, and the Fischer-Tropf process.

Click here (2.6 MB PDF) to download the slides of the presentation, including a lengthy bibliography. Due to a technical error, the talk itself was not recorded, but we do have an audio recording of the questions at the end here (2.8 MB MP3 format) or here (4.8 MB Windows WMA format) .

Thomas Cheney is currently working towards a Master's degree in Environmental Studies at the University of Northern British Columbia in Prince George, BC. His research is examining the potential of wood-based biofuels to displace fossil fuels used in district heating systems during high demand periods. He has a Bachelors of Arts in Environmental Studies with a Minor in Economics. A life-long interest in transportation in combination with a concern related to environment and climate change in particular has made him interested in potential mitigation strategies for the aviation sector.

WindVision 2025: Prospects for Wind Energy in British Columbia

BC lags the rest of Canada and other countries in developing its wind energy resource despite BC's extensive and cost-competitive wind energy resources. But there will be a lot more wind energy in BC’s future.


The province is now facing the largest industrial boom in a half-century, and will need a lot more power. The cost of wind energy is coming down due to technology improvements, while the government is seeking low cost new electricity. British Columbians continue to call for the lowest possible impacts from energy use in terms of air pollutants, greenhouse gas emissions, and impacts on lands and water.

Wind energy can integrate with our existing hydro and transmission resources to create a new hybrid electricity system even better suited to the needs of British Columbians than the one we have in place today.

See CanWEA's wind plan at: http://www.canwea.ca/windvision_bc_e.php


We have posted a recording of the Webinar here: http://vimeo.com/bcsea/windvision-2025

Nicholas Heap spent five years working on air quality and greenhouse gas issues for Metro Vancouver, developed some of BC’s first Community Energy Plans for B.C. municipalities and First Nations at the Pembina Institute, and served as the David Suzuki Foundation’s Climate and Energy Policy Analyst for five years. As BC Regional Director of the Canadian Wind Energy Association in Vancouver, Nick advocates the responsible and sustainable development of wind energy in BC. He oversaw the development of the BC WindVision, is reviewing the development of BC Hydro’s new Integrated Resource Plan, and is an active voice on BC energy policy. Nick has an M.A. in Community Planning from UBC


February 2012

Transportation without Oil: 23 Steps to a Sustainable Energy Future


Can we travel and trade without oil? Oil is a non-renewable resource that causes climate change, war and fiscal debt, as well as pollution, habitat destruction and political corruption.

Join award-winning author Guy Dauncey as he explores transportation without oil, in this free lunchtime webinar.

From cycling and electric vehicles to wind-powered ships and biofuels – could we meet all our transportation needs without oil?

Guy Dauncey is the author of nine books, including the award-winning The Climate Challenge: 101 Solutions to Global Warming (2009). He is Executive Director of the BC Sustainable Energy Association.

We have posted a recording of the Webinar here: http://vimeo.com/transport-without-oil

The presentation goes awfully fast, with 148 slides in 35 minutes, so you can review them here: Transport Without Oil.

In the presentation, Guy recommends the Victoria Transport Policy Institute which has an enormous amount of reference material on transportation.

January 2012

Global Warming Impacts of Natural Gas Fracking

Extracting natural gas from shale could do more to aggravate global warming than mining coal, according to a Cornell study published in the May issue of Climatic Change Letters (105:5).

While natural gas has been touted as a clean-burning fuel that produces less carbon dioxide than coal, but ecologist Robert Howarth from Cornell University warns that we should be more concerned about methane leaking into the atmosphere during hydraulic fracturing.

Natural gas is mostly methane (Ch5), which is a much more potent greenhouse gas, especially in the short term, than carbon dioxide (CO2). Robert Howarth from Cornell presented a BCSEA Webinar on this topic.

More on the topic here: http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/April11/GasDrillingDirtier.html

We have posted a recording of the Webinar here: http://vimeo.com/bcsea/howarth-fracking  [Note: We recommend you start watching at 1:40 to skip a small problem we had with the Webinar software.] 

In the Webinar, Dr. Howarth mentions a paper in publication. A pre-publication draft is available as 'Venting and Leaking of Methane from Shale Gas Development:Response to Cathles et al.'

Presenter: Dr. Robert Howarth chairs the International SCOPE Biofuels Project, is Past President of the Coastal & Estuarine Research Federation, directs the Agricultural Ecosystems Program at Cornell University, and represents the State of New York on the science and technical advisory committee of the Chesapeake Bay Program. He is also the Founding Editor of the journal "Biogeochemistry" and served as its Editor-in-Chief from 1983 to 2004. Rob was also honored as one of Time Magazine's 'People Who Mattered' in 2011.

See Dr. Howarth's Home Page at Cornell: http://www.eeb.cornell.edu/howarth/

December 2010

Eco-Sense: A Modern Story of Sustainability

This webinar was not just a story of the house, presently referred to as the "The World's Greenest Modern House"; it is about the story of how Ann and Gord Baird got there, how they harnessed the power of sustainable technologies with justice and reverence, the work they are doing on policy and code, the research, and their lifestyle. You'll find this a fascinating and Inspiring glimpse of a future we now know can exist.

See the PDF of this splendid presentation below. CAUTION: it is 8Mbs in size!

November 2010

Vancouver Greenest City 2020

The City of Vancouver plans to become the world’s Greenest City by 2020. The City is about to launch a second phase of their community engagement process to prioritize the Greenest City draft actions and build capacity for their success going forward to implementation. As part of this process, webinar participants will have an opportunity to ask questions and offer comments on the draft Greenest City actions.

See the PowerPoint presentations below. And visit www.vimeo.com/bcsea to see the recording of this webinar.

October 2010

Energy Efficiency in Residential and Commercial Buildings

Energy conservation is the first essential step in reducing energy demand and limiting our environmental impact. Commercial and residential buildings are responsible for about 40% of our energy use and more than a third of our greenhouse gas emissions. Improving the energy performance of buildings is a cost-effective way of fighting climate change, improving energy security, and stimulating local job creation.

The presentations from this Energy Solutions Webinar are posted here:

The recording of this webinar will be available soon.

September 2010

BC’s Proposed Feed-In Tariff: Could It Be Better?

Around the world, the Feed-In Tariff (FIT) has proven itself to be the best way of stimulating the production of new green energy. Here in BC, the situation is slightly different since the existing big dams and BC Hydro’s Clean Power Calls will soon mean that BC’s electricity is close to being 100% renewable.

The provincial government has released a consultation paper on the proposed Feed-In Tariff, and public input is invited by September 30th. Many questions arise. Will it work for ocean energy? Will it stimulate BC’s geothermal sector? Why have solar and wind energy been left out?

The presentations from this Energy Solutions Webinar are posted here:

The recording of this webinar will be available soon.

August 2010

Seven Ideas to Tackle Climate Change

The collapse of the Copenhagen climate conference, climate deniers convincing people that global warming is a hoax; and because of their success, no U.S. legislation to tackle climate change, and probable failure of upcoming UN climate talks in Cancun, it can all be very dispiriting.


New ideas are needed, not for the solutions, but for the way we tackle the problem. In this one-hour webinar, Guy Dauncey presents Seven Ideas to address this critical matter.


The recording of this webinar is now available for viewing on Vimeo.

Guy's presentation is also available here in PDF format:

July 2010

PACE Bonds - An Innovative Approach to Energy Efficiency Financing

Following Guy Dauncey's short introduction to the work of the BC Sustainable Energy Association, we learned about San Francisco's country-leading PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy financing)Program. Johann Partin, Director of Climate Protection Initiatives in the Office of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, brought us up to date with the barriers thrown up very recently by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Finance Agency.


Dave Ramslie, Manager of the City of Vancouver's Sustainable Development Program, shared that jurisdiction's plans to advance its efforts to be the "Greenest City in the World" with PACE financing (among other tactics). He previewed how this form of financing could work in Vancouver, perhaps as soon as spring 2011.

A recording of this webinar is available for viewing on Vimeo.

The presentations are also available here in PDF format:

May 2010

The Proposed Site C Dam

In this webinar, Ken Forest of the Peace Valley Environment Association presented the PVEA's case for the preservation of the Peace Valley. Tom Hackney and Guy Dauncey of the BC Sustainable Energy Association presented their analysis of BC Hydro’s power generation plans, and explored whether, for the same investment, wind energy might not supply more power with less environmental cost.

You can see these presentations in PDF format here:

April 2010

Going Green: The Birth of a New Civilization with Guy Dauncey

Since the 15th century humanity has achieved some incredible successes, including the birth of science, the establishment of democracy, and huge reductions in poverty. The 21st century now demands that we turn our attention to the environmental crisis, and harmonize our lives with Nature. What does this mean for our buildings, transport, and local economies? And given the urgency of the climate crisis, how can we accelerate our transition to this new green economy? In this webinar, Guy Dauncey shared his thoughts about the big picture, and specific ways in which local communities can work to reduce their emissions by 10%.

This session was prepared for Sustainable Hudson Valley, a New York state non-profit that connects people with knowledge and each other to scale up sustainable energy, infrastructure, and economic solutions.

You may view PDF versions of an overview of Sustainable Hudson Valley and Guy's "Going Green" presentation (N.B. Guy's file is 12MBs in size).

January 2010

Electric Vehicles with Felix Kramer

There's a very fast-moving world out there, with many automakers planning to bring electric or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles to market by 2012. What are provinces, states and cities doing to get ready - and is it enough?

Our special guest this month was Felix Kramer, the Californian entrepreneur and lifelong environmentalist who founded CalCars.org, which pioneered, popularized and led the charge for Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles. Their work resulted in a $10 billion commitment to PHEVs by President Obama.

Felix reviewed emerging trends, opportunities and challenges for PHEVs in California, British Columbia and around the world. See a PDF version of his presentation here.

December 2009

Climate Leadership & Economic Prosperity

The David Suzuki Foundation and the Pembina Institute recently published the first Canadian study to examine the regional impacts of a strong climate policy on employment and the economy.

They found that with strong federal and provincial policies, Canada can meet the 2020 emissions reduction target designed to keep the global temperature from rising by more than 2°C and still have a strong growing economy, a quality of life higher than Canadians enjoy today, and continued steady job creation. Despite this positive message, the report received some very polarized and negative media attention.

This BCSEA Climate & Energy Solutions Webinar featured Matt Horne and Josha MacNab from the Pembina Institute presenting the report's findings, with a specific focus on BC. See their presentation here.

November 2009

District Energy & Strategies for Carbon Neutral Cities

In Sweden, 80,000 people in the Stockholm suburb of Hammarsby are being heated by District Energy - so what is happening in North America - and here in British Columbia?

November's BCSEA Climate and Energy Solutions Webinar was on District Energy - the pioneering method of providing heat to the buildings in a city neighbourhood by channelling waste heat from a nearby industry, sewage plant, or ice rink.

Our presenter was Tom Osdoba, Managing Director of the Center for Sustainable Business Practices at the University of Oregon College of Business. He gave an illustrated presentation on the emerging thinking about scale and new opportunities for capturing waste heat, and other novel sources of heat.

See the PDF of Tom's presentation here.



September 2009

Solar Hot Water: A Revolution for the Planet

Solar hot water is a very easy way for people to save money and reduce their carbon footprint. You may have seen a solar thermal panel on someone's home - but have you seen what's happening in Europe, where solar thermal space heating is beginning to take off? There are plans afoot that by 2030, 50% of Europe's space heating needs will be met by stored solar thermal energy.

In this webinar, SolarBC’s Nitya Harris and BCSEA’s Guy Dauncey will review what's happening, explain how solar thermal systems work, and tell you how you can benefit from the SolarBC program of grants and incentives to install a solar thermal system on your own roof.

July 2009

Leading Cycling Cities: Lessons from Victoria

Cycling is Victoria’s fastest growing mode of transportation, and not by chance. Expanding bicycle infrastructures coupled with effective promotion of commuter cycling have grown participation dramatically. During this month's webinar, our expert guests explained what Victoria has done to innovate and get new ideas about retrofitting for bicycle-friendliness.

See the event listing for more details.

June 2009

The Future of Transmission for Renewable Energy in BC

Where should BC’s future transmission lines be built? Two important planning processes - the Western Renewable Energy Zones initiative (WREZ) and the BC Utilities Commission's Inquiry into British Columbia's Long-Term Transmission Infrastructure - are underway to address this, both of which will have a significant influence on key government policy, including electricity exports and environmental protection. This month's webinar presented information on these two critical initiatives.

See the event listing for more details.

April 2009

The Climate Emergency

The climate crisis is becoming more urgent with every new scientific report, leading to an emerging consensus among many that developed nations such as Canada must seek to become 100% climate-friendly by 2030, with zero emissions. How could British Columbia achieve this? What new policies and initiatives would we need? This teleworkshop presented one person's view of the ten most important initiatives that BC could take to achieve this goal.

See the event listing for more details.

March 2009

Green Landlords: Tackling the Rental Housing Energy Inefficiency Conundrum

People living in rental accommodation in BC have to put up with some of the province's most inefficient buildings and high energy bills. The problem is well known, but solving it has defeated governments all across North America because of the notorious "split incentive" and a long list of other barriers. In this workshop Jamie Abbot, Director of the BCSEA's Green Landlords project, described the nine interconnected components that could create a permanent solution to the problem.

See the event listing for more details.

December 2008

Neighbourhood Electric Vehicles

Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEV) are also referred to as Low Speed Vehicles (LSV) and as Neighborhood Zero Emissions Vehicles (Neighborhood ZEV). Designed to achieve a maximum speed of 40 km/h and travel a range of up to 60 kilometers, the NEV allows you to commute and transport goods emitting zero emissions.

See the event listing for more details.

November 2008

Using Wastewater for Heating, Cooling, and Greenhouse Gas Reduction

Enlightened cities are recognizing the obvious and subtle relationships between water, energy, food and climate change. They are reducing their operational costs and environmental impacts by recovering value from wastewater. This workshop showed how cities are doing this, and discussed the greenhouse gas implications of these recovery practices.

See the event listing for more details.

October 2008

Local Government: Front Lines of the Climate War

"Local Governments: Front Lines of the Climate War" focused on the upcoming municipal elections in BC and the many tools available to mayors and councils to effect climate and energy solutions within their cities and regions.

See the event listing for more details.

September 2008

BC Climate Action Team Report

On August 6, 2008, the Climate Action Team (CAT) issued its final report with 31 recommendations to assist BC in achieving its legislated emissions reduction targets of 33% by 2020. There is a link to the CAT report, and to the full BC Climate Action Plan, at www.livesmartbc.ca.

On Tuesday September 30, BC Sustainable Energy Association members and special guests called in to learn about the CAT's work, their report and its 31 recommendations.

Our speakers:

  • Naomi Devine, CAT member, University of Victoria Common Energy founder and BCSEA board member. Download a PDF of her presentation here.
  • Nicholas Heap, Climate and Energy Policy Analyst with the David Suzuki Foundation
  • Guy Dauncey, BC Sustainable Energy Association President

This timely session was planned to help organizations and individuals meet the deadline for public comment on this report.

July 2008

Worlds on Fire: BC's Red Wood Fueling our Energy Desires

This month, BCSEA's Energy Solutions Teleworkshop brought a discussion of bioenergy & carbon budgeting: specifically, the issues raised by burning dead trees and wood waste for electricity and industrial heat. We were fortunate to have two expert guests sharing their information on the opportunities, risks and uncertainties this situation has given rise to:

  • Caren Dymond, a government scientist specializing in Forest Carbon Budget Modeling. Second author on Werner Kurz's recent article in Nature, reporting that many of BC's forests are currently a net source, rather than a sink, of carbon dioxide, severely affecting BC’s carbon balance for the next 20 years. Download a PDF of Caren Dymond's presentation here.
  • Dave Neads is a conservation and land use planning consultant and activist in the Cariboo-Chilcotin. He is vice-chair of the Cariboo-Chilcotin Beetle Action Coalition, co-coordinating a conservation campaign in response to the MPB Epidemic and also a member of the Premier's Mountain Pine Beetle Provincial Task Force. Download a PDF of Dave Neads' presentation here.

June 2008

Biofuels: The Good, the Bad and the Sustainable

Initially heralded as a way to cut fossil fuel use and carbon emissions, biofuels are now condemned for threatening the destruction of native forests and vilified for provoking a world-wide food crisis. What is the skinny on these fats and oils from vegetable and animal sources?

With guests:

  • Patrick Mazza, Research Director and founding member of Seattle-based Climate Solutions. Download a PDF of his presentation here.
  • Kees Schaddelee, Biofuels Coordinator for Columbia Fuels Inc. Download a PDF of his presentation here.
  • Don Goodeve of the Island Biodiesel Coop.

May 2008

Pricing Carbon: BC's New Carbon Tax

Introduced in the legislature on April 28, Bill 37 put BC in the forefront of jurisdictions putting a price on carbon fuels. We heard how this tax shift is intended to change behaviour to reduce emissions that cause global warming. With guests:

  • Nic Rivers, a principal of M.K. Jaccard and Associates, is an engineer and resource manager and co-author (with Jeffrey Simpson and Mark Jaccard) of Hot Air: Meeting Canada's Climate Change Challenge. Download a PDF of his presentation here.
  • Glen Armstrong, director of BC's Ministry of Finance Tax Policy Branch, Glen led the drafting of the Bill 37. Downloads a PDF of his presentation here.
  • Paul Flanagan, manager of income and other business taxes with the BC Tax Policy Branch.

April 2008

Deep Heat: Enhanced Geothermal

With guests:

  • Dr. Jeff Tester, Professor of Chemical Engineering at M.I.T.'s Laboratory for Energy and the Environment.
  • Craig Aspinall of Western GeoPower Corporation.

March 2008

Municipal Climate Solutions

Our guest was Guy Dauncey, President of the BC Sustainable Energy Association, and author of the forthcoming book The Great Climate Challenge: 101 Solutions for a Post-Carbon World. As part of his recent research, Guy had been studying the world’s best municipal practices, and had organized them into 12 distinct sectors. He gave a web-based presentation, and then invited questions and discussion.

February 2008

The Future of Urban Transportation

After decades of taking energy for granted, we can no longer do so. Any discussion of energy must now acknowledge that supplies of fossil fuels are finite, and burning those fuels has unacceptable consequences for the world's climate. These are issues that will require changes, on an unprecedented scale, to how we produce and consume energy.

Transportation engineer and planner Stuart Ramsey explored these issues in an urban context, with a particular focus on transportation. He concluded with some strategies for dramatically reducing our oil consumption. These can be implemented quickly, at low cost, and with profound effects.

December 2007

Greening the BC Building Code

The Building and Safety Policy Branch (BSPB) was seeking public input on the following three proposals for changes to the BC Building Code. Public input was welcome until December 21, 2007. We had a government representative and a building expert to discuss the changes and the process by which we could influence future revisions.

November 2007

Wind Energy in BC

With guests:

  • Juergen Puetter, Founder and CEO of Aeolis Wind Power Corp
  • Michael Margolick, Vice President, Power and Transmission Planning, of NaiKun Wind Development Inc.

Aeolis has investigative sites in BC and Alberta, including Vancouver Island and the Peace Region. Their Bear Mountain project recently received its environmental assessment certificate for the construction and operation of a 120-megawatt wind project near Dawson Creek in the Peace River Regional District.

NaiKun proposes to construct and operate a wind energy project off BC's northwest coast. The large-scale offshore wind farm "will provide a cost-effective, clean, domestic energy source to serve the growing electricity market in British Columbia."

October 2007

Microhydro Power in BC

Attendees learned more about the technology, the development and permitting process, and the environmental issues involved. We had three guests for the workshop:

  • Steve Davis, president of the Independent Power Producers Association of BC (IPPBC)
  • Bill Irwin, director of Land and Resource Management of the Plutonic Power Corporation
  • Tanis Douglas, ecologist and restoration specialist with the Watershed Watch Salmon Society, and author of Run-of-River Hydropower in BC: A Citizen’s Guide to Understanding Approvals, Impacts, and Sustainability of Independent Power Projects
  • September 2007 - Solar Hot Water: How Can We Accelerate the Growth of Solar Hot Water in BC?

Featured guests:

  • Nitya Harris, Project Leader of SolarBC, BCSEA’s solar project, and Project Lead for the BC 100,000 Solar Roofs Project
  • Jeff Knapp, Solar Program Officer, NRCan, spoke about other solar hot water programs in Canada

June 2007

Tidal and Wave Power in BC

This was a chance to learn more about what’s happening globally, and what the prospects are for ocean power here in British Columbia. Our guests were

  • Chris Campbell of the Ocean Renewable Energy Group here in BC.
  • Des McGinnes of Ocean Power Delivery in Scotland.

May 2007

Plug-in Hybrid EVs and Vehicle-to-Grid Power from Electric Vehicles

With guests:

April 2007

The New BC Energy Plan

With Bruce Sampson, VP Sustainability, BC Hydro. Bruce Sampson was closely involved with the drafting sections of the Energy Plan relating to electricity and sustainable energy. He guided us through the new Plan, followed by time for questions and discussion. The Energy Plan can be found online at www.energyplan.gov.bc.ca