Since its creation in 2004, the Kamloops BCSEA Chapter has had astonishing success in promoting renewable energy solutions and gathering like-minded passionate individuals devoted to sustainable lifestyles. By facilitating a variety of engaging initiatives and events, the chapter has played a key role in elevating the community’s awareness of tangible solutions away from fossil fuels. From promoting innovative sustainable technologies to organizing art exhibitions showcasing community member success stories, the Kamloops Chapter has been a true sustainability ambassador over the years.
An initiative which emerged just recently from the Chapter is the Everyday Sustainable Energy Superheroes Exhibition led by James Gordon and his team. The opening reception occurred January 14th at the Kamloops Art Gallery. The exhibit features a variety of 2D and 3D art pieces representing the creativity and innovation with which people and businesses express their passion for sustainable energy. Aside from the physical submissions, a total of 11 interviews were filmed and edited; these feature inspiring stories from local sustainability ambassadors (watch them here). The exhibit will be open until March 25th and is free to all.
The Kamloops BCSEA Chapter is a community partner to the Solar Compass initiative at Thompson Rivers University (TRU). If all goes well, this pioneer project may be the first solar roadway to be installed in Canada. Solar Earth Technologies, the company supplying the solar panels, has been striving to make the most efficient and safe product by upgrading materials and fostering critical thinking and innovation. The panels will undergo rigorous product testing by Interket soon. Given that the panels are such a brand-new product, the TRU project team has been working with Solar Earth Technologies to make recommendations for product testing requirements. The hope is that installation can occur this spring. What an exciting day that will be!
There are two upcoming events that the Chapter is currently working on. The first is an expert panel on geothermal and air source heat pumps which will be open to the public. The panel will include local company representatives illustrating the advantages of heat pumps over conventional furnaces and boilers. The experts will also address ways in which homeowners can improve the insulation and overall efficiency of their houses.
The second event is set for this spring and will focus on solar cookers. Solar cookers are devices that capitalize on the energy from direct sunlight to cook foods without involving any use of conventional cooking fuels. There will be a morning workshop in which participants will build different types of solar cookers, and the afternoon will feature a demo on the actual cooking; visitors will also have a chance to try the freshly cooked foods!
The Chapter’s project lineup has benefited from having events and initiatives organized by teams separate from the Chapter’s steering committee. Each project has a leader who gathers a team of passionate and involved volunteers, thus introducing creativity and ideas from a wide group of people. This structure has allowed for the Chapter to experience an increased capacity to organize and host several events overlapping in time. Most importantly, the adjustments ensure that community and volunteer members have opportunities and avenues to contribute to the BCSEA efforts. We certainly look forward to more inspiring events and initiatives from this devoted Chapter.
Marco Sanelli is a 4th year student in the Natural Resource Conservation major in the Faculty of Forestry at UBC.
If you're interested in joining your local chapter and making change in your community, consider joining the BCSEA as a member!