- Cooling systems, generators and heating systems
- Storage tank systems for petroleum products
- Energy consumption
- Water consumption
- Air emissions – Infrastructure
- Air emissions - Travel
- Non-hazardous waste
- Recovered electronic waste and hazardous waste
A key factor in determining our environmental footprint is the examination of our building portfolio. Reducing our ecological footprint allows us to reduce the human demand on the ecosystem.
Our strategy to reduce our building portfolio and, as a result, our ecological footprint, continued in 2014-2015. When compared to 2013-2014, our footprint temporarily increased by 5.1% to 4,190,000 square feet in 2014-2015 This increase is attributed to the fact that we are currently transitioning from older sites to newer ones. For example, our Halifax facility recently moved to a smaller site as part of our consolidation of two stations. The square footage of the older stations was included in our analysis, as we continue to transition between the facilities. The same scenario is applicable to our Gander and Grand Falls locations.
In general, as of March 31, 2015, CBC/Radio-Canada’s Real Estate portfolio includes 80 sites (22 owned and 58 leased) that house our production studios, transmission infrastructures and office spaces.
We continue to look for opportunities, such as the initiation of tenant agreements and the commencement of lease agreements, to decrease our building and ecological footprint.
The multi-year decommissioning project of Transmission sites was put on hold in 2014-2015 due to budgetary restrictions. At March 31, 2015, CBC/Radio-Canada’s Transmission Division included 200 owned active sites, and we reduced the number of owned inactive sites from 67 to 51.
Shutting down these sites means that we will responsibly dispose of the towers, antennas, transmitters and buildings that have occupied the land. As of March 31, 2015, decommissioning activities were completed at 360 transmission sites.
It is anticipated that further decommissioning of these sites will continue in 2015-2016.
Generators are used to power the broadcasting and transmission sites that bring our programming to Canadians across the country in emergency power failure situations.
In 2014-2015, CBC/Radio-Canada operated 164 generators, 16 fewer than the previous year. The total estimated capacity for our generators was 25,749 kW, an increase of 755 kW over last year. Despite the fact that systems were removed due to site decommissioning or property sales, the increase is attributed to the update of data collected in Transmission sites in Western Canada. Note: An increase in capacity does not mean an increase in usage, but rather signifies our ability to meet system demands, as required.
Our cooling and heating systems maintain our workplace at an acceptable temperature for both our employees and equipment (broadcasting and transmission-related).
The estimated total cooling capacity of our cooling systems decreased 0.8% to 9% in 2014-2015, due to the decommissioning and sale of sites such as Windsor, Halifax Radio, Gander, Matane and Grand Falls. In total, this year we operated 502 cooling systems, a reduction from 572 in the previous year, and 55 heating systems, down from 59 in 2013-2014. Minor changes were made to the cooling capacity of our buildings, including the replacement of two chillers in CBC Chicoutimi and the installation of new gas-fired boilers at CBC Toronto.
Used to store petroleum products, storage tanks are utilized to run our heating systems and backup generators in the event of a power failure. Instrumental to our core operations, these tanks allow us to keep our programming on the air in emergency situations.
As an owner and operator of aboveground and underground fuel storage tanks across Canada, CBC/Radio-Canada complies with the Storage Tank Systems for Petroleum Products and Allied Petroleum Products Regulations. A total of 41 storage tanks are subject to these regulations.
In our efforts to proactively prevent soil and groundwater contamination, we continue to upgrade and, where necessary, reduce the number of our storage tank systems across the country. In the last year, the Transmission Division decreased their total storage tank inventory from 172 to 160 tanks, a reduction of 20,677 litres in capacity. For Real Estate Services, the fiscal year 2013-2014 saw a total of 58 tanks in operation, a decrease of 7 tanks when compared to 2013-2014. This resulted in a decrease of 19,253 litres, for a total capacity in Real Estate Services of 204,052 litres. The total corporate results indicate an overall reduction in the number of tanks from 237 to 218, with a decrease of 7.2% in the overall total capacity.
CBC/Radio-Canada applies a risk-management approach to ensure compliance for identified product transfer areas. This approach was successfully evaluated during the delivery of fuel to our Radio-Canada building in Montreal in November 2014. With the purpose of evaluating compliance to our internal procedures, 20,000 litres of fuel were delivered to an underground fuel storage tank. The delivery was successful, with minor issues identified to continue to improve our process. No spills or leaks were reported, emergency response equipment was readily available and accessible, and all participants were active and engaged in the process. Similar activities are planned in other locations for 2015-2016.
Our energy consumption includes all the electricity, natural gas, oil and steam used to operate CBC/Radio-Canada production sites.
Over the last three years, we have completed many different initiatives that resulted in an overall reduction in our energy consumption. From implementing LED lighting in our offices and studios, to upgrading cooling infrastructure, to decommissioning analogue television services and site sales, we have shown a steady decrease in our overall consumption year to year.
This reduction continued in fiscal year 2014-2015. Our overall performance showed a decrease of 11,183,868 equivalent kilowatt hours (ekWh), mainly attributed to a decrease in hydro consumption from decommissioning activities and the sale of buildings. This can be broken down further by our main sources of energy consumption. In our Real Estate facilities we had a decrease to 131,408,521 ekWh, a 7.3% reduction over last year. Total energy consumption in the Transmission Division for 2014-2015 also decreased from 61,964,555 to 61,115,114 ekWh. When combined, our overall performance shows a decrease of 5.5 per cent.
All of our energy-related activities are cross-referenced against a survey conducted by Natural Resources Canada (Survey of Commercial and Institutional Energy Use: Buildings 2009, Summary Report, 2013). In 2014-2015, the average energy index in our Broadcasting facilities is 30.5 ekWh per square foot, which is below the benchmark set by Natural Resources Canada.
Reducing our energy consumption is an ongoing priority, and we continue to examine ways to minimize our environmental impact.
CBC/Radio-Canada’s water consumption includes the water used for drinking, in washrooms, for air conditioning cooling towers, etc. In essence, it includes everything in our buildings that is connected to municipal or other water systems.
This year, the total estimated water consumption in our owned buildings increased by 6.6%, from 69.3 to 73.9 litres per square foot. This is mainly due to an increase in the variability of water consumption at our Montreal facility, where water usage by tenants for cooling purposes are being used in place of energy consumption.
CBC/Radio-Canada’s water consumption values are compared with industry-standard benchmarks established by the Real Property Association of Canada (Real Pac). Data collected indicates that, for the eighth year in a row, our normalized average water consumption is better than the industry standard.
We continue to work on minimizing increases in water consumption.
Air emissions include anything our infrastructure emits into the air, such as exhaust from our vehicle fleet, buildings’ heating systems, generators, etc.
Fiscal year 2014-2015 saw a decrease of 7.9% in total air emissions generated by Real Estate buildings and Transmission facilities. Our data indicates that this improvement is visible on a national scale, where there was a decrease in total air emissions in almost every province and territory. General improvements to our facilities, decommissioning of sites and weather are some of the activities that played a role in decreasing our levels.
Carbon dioxide emissions from our fleet vehicles are also evaluated. In 2014-2015, our emissions in metric tonnes decreased from 4,055 (2013-2014) to 3,438, a decrease of 15.22%.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are not only restricted to our infrastructure and fleet emissions. When our employees travel for business, the mode of transportation has an overall impact on the environment.
Aircraft, train and automobile emissions vary according to the engine in the transportation vehicle, size of the vehicle, number of passengers and distance of the journey travelled.
Historically, all data were obtained from corporate travel statements from our approved credit card vendor. When we compare our data in 2014-2015 to that from 2013-2014, our results indicate that carbon dioxide emissions data related to travel decreased. With a total of 4,052,734 kilograms (kg) of CO2 released, the data includes an analysis of short-, medium- and long-haul trips, as summarized in the following chart. These values were normalized against the number of CBC/Radio-Canada permanent full-time employees (7,700) at March 31, 2015, to reflect a total of 526.33 kg of CO2 emitted per employee, an decrease of 23% over the course of the last fiscal year (calculation based on 9,136 employees in 2013-2014).
Based on the nature of our operations, CBC/Radio-Canada recognizes that we cannot eliminate essential travel (e.g., news coverage, coverage of overseas news and events). However, we are diligent and regularly examine alternative approaches to capture the story.
By being aware of our emissions and exploring options on how to meet operational requirements, we are able to examine opportunities to reduce our overall impact on the environment and reduce non-essential travel.
Non-hazardous waste includes paper, plastic, metal, glass, and all the similar everyday products that are easily recycled without causing harm to human health and the environment. Our goal, where possible, is to divert non-hazardous waste from landfills, in other words to increase our diversion rate.
The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) reports top performance in diversion rates at 90%, a target we continue to strive to meet. Our national diversion rate for fiscal year 2014-2015 remained the same at (64%) as the previous year. Based on reports from our waste haulers, these values are calculated using weight estimates and the pick-up schedule. We continue to make ongoing efforts and continue to explore opportunities to increase our rates, as indicated in the specific examples below.
Soft plastic and organic compost program
One of the ongoing efforts to improve waste diversion through the operation of programs includes the recycling of soft plastic and organic composting in Vancouver. The program continues to thrive, after three years of operation, resulting in an increase of 8% in our Vancouver diversion rate. In 2014-2015, 16,900 kg of organic waste and 332 kg of soft plastic were diverted from landfills, for a total of 17,232 kg of waste. This represents an increase of 1,277 kg when compared to 2013-2014.
Confidential paper for disposal is securely collected and shredded by a third-party vendor. The processed materials are then transported to a paper mill for pulping. This destruction process helps reduce pollution and saves trees, water and energy resources while diverting waste from landfills.
In 2014-2015, 77.69 metric tonnes of paper was collected and treated using this method. This equates to 1,437 trees, 10,657,550 litres of water and 11,561.4 cubic feet of landfill space saved. This value is higher than last year, where we recovered 61.885 metric tonnes of paper.
Electronic waste, or e-waste, refers to electronic devices such as computers, televisions, radios and transmitters. Hazardous waste can include batteries, oil, paint from buildings and industrial solvents.
Recycling obsolete electronics is a significant component of our environmental strategy as e-waste continues to be one of our main waste streams generated. With programs implemented all across the country, reaching 98.5% of our employees, 2014-2015 saw the completion of e-waste shipments in Yellowknife, Ottawa, Vancouver, Regina, Windsor, Sudbury, Halifax, Toronto and Montreal.
In total, 175.55 metric tons of e-waste was diverted from landfills and responsibly recycled. These results are consistent with the amount of e-waste anticipated from year to year. For example, most applications or software used are contingent on a good Internet connection, rather than the age of the computer. As a result of these conscious decisions, there is a decreased need to replace older computers on a more frequent basis.
We continue to meet requirements established by recognized provincial stewardship programs in addition to our internal guidelines and standards, which are under regular review. The review includes the evaluation of existing providers and the inclusion of new ones who meet internal requirements.
Battery recycling programs are available in 27 of our locations, reaching approximately 89% of employees. In 2014-2015, a total of 9,854 kg of batteries were recycled through the program, up from 3,481 kg in 2013–2014.
Other Hazardous Waste
Small quantities of asbestos were collected and securely disposed of from our Sackville, New Brunswick site.
With a move toward file-based TV and a reduction in the need for videotape, our Library and Archives department responsibly shredded and recycled 10,630 lbs of duplicate or blank videotapes from mid-February to March 31, 2015. Involving a physical review of database records and viewing of tapes, the project will continue in 2015-2016.
Environmental incidents at CBC/Radio-Canada range from halocarbon releases to hazardous materials spills. Halocarbons are synthetic chemicals used in refrigerants, fire-extinguishing agents and solvents, fumigants, and foam-blowing agents. Classified as greenhouse gases, halocarbons contribute to global warming and the depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer.
From April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015, a total of 29 environmental incidents was reported, down from 35 for the previous fiscal period. This decrease is likely due to the high preventative-maintenance standards set for our equipment. CBC/Radio-Canada has implemented processes that ensure regulatory requirements are met. The majority of the 29 incidents reported were identified during routine preventative maintenance or leak-testing of the systems.
Our results in 2014-2015 were as follows:
- 20 incidents were classified level 1, which can be controlled on site, have little to no environmental impact and do not develop into an emergency situation.
- 9 incidents were assessed as level 2, which must be handled using external resources and could require reporting to governmental authorities and/or trigger internal escalation procedures.
- 0 incidents were classified level 3, which require reporting to governmental authorities and could trigger emergency operating procedures.
In 2014-2015, 28 of the 29 incidents reported were due to spills or discharges caused by the Corporation. The remaining one was attributed to a third-party release on the Corporation’s property. The majority (20) were halocarbon releases ranging from 0.3 kg to 116 kg. The incident that exceeded 100 kg (at 116 kg) was attributed to a leak in a solenoid loading control valve, which was later replaced, leak-tested and recharged, and returned to regular service. The release was reported to Environment Canada within the required reporting period.
Fiscal year 2014-2015 saw two types of government inspections: physical inspections or telephone contact. In total, six government inspections were conducted (three in the Transmission Division and three in Real Estate Services), with an additional four instances of telephone contact to verify and/or confirm key information.
Of the three Transmission visits, the first two were site visits and training opportunities for new enforcement officers. All three inspections included an examination of our fuel storage tanks, halocarbon and PCB programs.
Two of the government inspections at our Real Estate facilities involved the review of the halocarbon and fuel storage tank systems. The third visit was initiated following a halocarbon release of more than 100 kg.
In all circumstances, all requests were met, the enforcement officers reviewed the programs and were satisfied with their findings. No warning letters or notices were issued and no non-compliance issues were identified.