Murray Hoffman (left) and Ray Hornby work on the energy saving project at Scout Island Nature Centre.

Murray Hoffman (left) and Ray Hornby work on the energy saving project at Scout Island Nature Centre.

Scout Island saving energy every day

Thanks to the generosity of our community, a new climate control system was installed in the Nature House last winter.

Thanks to the generosity of our community, a new climate control system was installed in the Nature House last winter.  Now that both winter chill and summer heat have put the system through its paces, we are happy to report that it’s living up to our hopes.

The first step was to upgrade to a 200 amp power supply.  BC Hydro had been planning to bury the power supply lines anyway, for aesthetic reasons and to prevent bird deaths, so the timing worked well.

They were so careful to minimize the impact on vegetation that they didn’t have to remove a single tree!

They then seeded the disturbed area alongside the causeway, and re-vegetation has taken hold well.

The City of Williams Lake took responsibility for removing the oil tank that supplied the old furnace.

Horizon Climate Controls then installed a new 25 kw electric furnace and four-ton air-source heat pump (Energy Star rated).

They explained that the heat pump uses chemical refrigerants to extract heat from outdoor air, rather using fuel to create heat.

During warm summer days it will function in reverse and move warm air out of the building to provide cooling.

(According to BC Hydro’s website “An Air Source Heat Pump functions by taking the heat from the outside air and moving it indoors.

Even at low temperatures [down to -7C] there is enough ambient heat in the outside air to allow the heat pump to efficiently perform this transfer.”)

We do need the supplemental electric heat in the coldest weather, but for most of the year we can enjoy moderate temperatures without burning fossil fuels.

Ducting and wiring upgrades and a programmable thermostat put the finishing touches on these long-dreamed-of improvements to our heating system.

But it wouldn’t make sense to stop there.

No matter how good the climate control equipment is, a poorly-insulated building can’t hold in heat or keep its interior cool.

So we had Prato Spray Foam Insulation  remove the original pink batts, which had collected significant dust and developed numerous gaps, then spray in ecologically advanced insulation to create an R45 barrier.

Now, all the humans working in and visiting this facility are more comfortable.  We’ve also noticed that the aquatic tanks are not overheating as they used to –— another energy reduction, as they are mechanically cooled.

The generous support of our members and the City of Williams Lake was instrumental in making these improvements possible.

Community businesses came through resoundingly too, despite the tough economy we’re experiencing.

Williams Lake and District Credit Union, West Fraser Truckers, Pinnacle Pellet, Heartland Toyota, and Mount Polley Mining Corp, we’re very grateful that you have chosen to help us once again.

The W. Garfield Weston Foundation matched all our other funding, so we are very fortunate to have their friendship and support.

With winter coming on, the directors decided it’s high time the caretaker’s house had a new roof.

Fred McMechan and his merry band of volunteers, Ray Hornby, Murray Hoffman and Rodger Hamilton, have been up and down the ladders, and an elegant new metal roof is ready for whatever the skies can throw at it.