A few stories we’re especially proud of this year.
CBC/Radio-Canada is an environmentally conscious organization. Over the last seven years, our annual reports have featured the commitment of our employees and organization to protecting the environment and doing our part for the community and world at large. The success of our environmental strategy thus far is heavily based on our dedicated employees envisioning new initiatives and their dedication to embracing the corporate commitment to be a socially responsible organization.
The spotlight this year features a few of the key initiatives that have played, and continue to play, a role in creating a greener tomorrow.
Bio-cell Remediation Technology at Mont Logan
Mont Logan, QC is a federal site surrounded by Parc nationale de-la-Gaspesie (provincial) and it was operated as a transmission site until 1978. Due to its location, there was no electricity and therefore diesel-powered generators were operated to provide power. During the decommissioning of the site, a historical fuel spill was discovered. Due to the remote location, bio-cell technology, an innovative approach for treating small quantities of soil contamination by petroleum hydrocarbons, was used to remediate the site. A bio-cell was constructed in the summer of 2014 to address these concerns.
Treatment through an active bio-cell (forced ventilation) is a widely used method for petroleum-impacted sites in remote locations. The technology is simple and is based on four principles:
- Bacteria – which are present naturally in soils – are able to degrade hydrocarbons.
- The bacterial population can be controlled by adding essential elements (such as nutrients and oxygen (forced ventilation)) to the soil.
- The natural hydrocarbons’ aerobic biodegradation rate will be greatly enhanced by controlling the conditions inside the bio-cell.
- The process is completely natural. Once the hydrocarbons biodegrade (into CO2 and H2O), the bacterial count diminishes and returns to its natural level.
The bio-cell installation was reviewed by Parks officials in conjunction with Transmission representatives to ensure all actions taken were acceptable.
Data Centre Cooling Infrastructure
The implementation of Data Centre cooling infrastructure in Halifax was officially launched and expanded into Moncton in 2014-2015. The intent of this project was to optimize the data centre design to ensure a resilient, reliable and efficient mechanical solution for the new Computer Equipment Room (CER).
As reported in 2013-2014, intelligent containment devices were installed in the Halifax Data Centre to actively evacuate the heat emitted from the equipment racks and duct the hot air directly to the computer room air handlers (CRAH). By monitoring the inlet temperature and humidity, exhaust air temperature, and air volume emitted from data centre equipment, we are able to control the cooling equipment by matching it with the IT demand and defined limits.The potential for hot spots and equipment failure is eliminated, ensuring optimal energy consumption and greater resiliency as all of the components of the cooling system have built-in redundancy.
An extrapolation of the data collected from this project between January and March 2015, when the system was officially launched, gives us a picture for the 2014-2015 year. The data indicates that we had a savings of $8,640, a value much lower than the $52,900 anticipated. This is attributed to the lower installed energy load in the CER, and the fact that the equipment was installed gradually over the year and not all at once. This value also indicates a savings of 100,000 kWh and 54 tons of CO2. Overall, the data reflects a 55% energy savings when compared to a traditional system. With all equipment currently installed in the CER, we can expect to continue to save in the order of $10-15K per year. As the energy load in the room increases, so will the savings.
The exact same project was launched on January 1, 2015 for the Moncton CER, with similar expected benefits and savings anticipated. This project is ongoing, and an update will be provided in 2015-2016.
CBC Toronto: Winner of Gold Designation
Fewer emissions. Less money spent on gas. Improved health and well-being. Green commuting makes a lot of sense – no matter where you work and live.
In January 2015, CBC Toronto was awarded a Gold designation by the City of Toronto Smart Commute program. A letter from Bruce McCuaig, President and CEO of Metrolinx, the Government of Ontario agency that manages the Smart Commute program, to CBC/Radio-Canada explains that the Gold status is awarded to organizations that have demonstrated their commitment to promoting and supporting sustainable travel options for their employees.
The following are some highlights from Toronto:
- Last year, more than 88% of employees chose to use more sustainable transport options to get to work. (As per a survey completed by Smart Commute.)
- Over 250 CBC cycling enthusiasts are members of the Toronto Bicycle User Group.
- A staff survey was conducted with Metrolinx to identify commuter patterns and behaviours, helping us to better promote smarter commuting options.
- As a workplace, we participated in various programs, including Clean Air Commute, Bike to Work Week and Car Free Day.
Electric Car Charging Stations
Electric vehicles generate significantly lower emissions than conventional vehicles. Strategically located infrastructure at Radio-Canada (Montreal) supplies electric energy to recharge these vehicles and make a positive impact on the environment.
This year saw the commissioning of electric car charging stations in our Montreal Radio-Canada facility. Available for staff only in the employee parking lot, two charging stations were installed with the ability to serve four vehicles at a time. With a maximum of four to five hours required to charge a vehicle, we anticipate that eight cars can be charged on a rotating basis over the course of an eight-hour shift. One of the goals of this program is to maximize the number of cars that can be charged by minimizing the cost.
Although the program has not officially launched, the charging stations were made available on March 30, 2015. The first employee was already using the station within six hours of its installation.
In the coming year we will provide a statistical analysis of the success of the program, including energy data and total savings in gasoline usage and greenhouse gases emitted into the environment.
Soft-plastics recycling and organic composting program introduced in Vancouver
After three years, the soft-plastics recycling and organic composting program in Vancouver saw an increase of 8% in our 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.
Environmental Management System (EMS)
The ongoing development of our electronic Environmental Management System (EMS) in 2014-2015 was instrumental in the continuous improvement of our environmental program.
Last year we reported the implementation of a new EMS to automate work systems and improve our task management. Fiscal year 2014-2015 saw the growth of the EMS into a full-fledged system that was used actively by various groups in the Corporation, particularly Real Estate Services and the Transmission Division.
With particular focus on compliance-based reporting and inspections, all functionalities have now been rolled out and key environmental data, including incident reports, environmental aspects and applicable legislation, have been migrated into the system. Training has been provided to all users, and user guides and tip sheets have been developed.
In the next year, we will continue to evolve the functionalities of the EMS as we evaluate and continuously grow and enhance our environmental strategy.
Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) Telephones
Internet Protocol (IP) phones look just like normal phones, with a handset, cradle and buttons. But instead of having the standard phone connectors, IP phones connect directly to your router and have all the hardware and software necessary to handle the IP call.
Fiscal year 2014-2015 saw the implementation of a new project whereby obsolete, end-of-life digital desktop phones in most CBC locations were replaced with new IP phones. Modelled on a new Internet Protocol - Session Initiation Protocol (IP-SIP) architecture, this change unifies and extends our current communications methods to our new Google environment on any desktop, laptop or wireless mobile device.
The new IP-SIP technology simplifies the network architecture, improves its manageability and reduces the overall corporate telecommunications services’ costs for years to come.
Since the initiation of the project, we have deployed 4,317 phones in Toronto, Montreal, Charlottetown, Regina, Halifax, Windsor, Edmonton and Moncton. With an environmental focus in mind, we estimate we will be replacing between 7,000 and 9,000 end-of-life units over the course of the next two years.
In keeping with the CBC's corporate commitment to protect the environment, we have shipped over 3,351 old, digital phones to several approved organizations to be recycled and/or refurbished. This amounts to over 8,000 pounds of phones (circuit boards, plastic, wiring, etc.) that were diverted from landfills.
Greening our Fleet
Despite budgetary restrictions, we continue to take steps in our ongoing efforts to green our fleet. Our efforts include the replacement of hybrid vehicles with other hybrids and the move from six- to four-cylinder vehicles.
The size of our fleet has been on a steady decline in the last few years, mainly attributed to the manner in which we are using our vehicles. In general, improvements in technology, consolidation of TV and radio services and the optimization of resources contributed to an overall reduction in our fleet size, which subsequently resulted in a 15% decrease in our carbon dioxide emissions.
Despite the reduction in size, we continue to promote environmental initiatives related to our fleet. A hybrid vehicle in Prince Edward Island was replaced with another hybrid and we swapped eight 6-cylinder vehicles for ones with 4 cylinders. In addition, we are currently in negotiations to expand the selection of cars available for purchase in our vehicle selector. This will offer us the opportunity to consider fully electric vehicles, as well as additional hybrids, for purchase Similar replacements have been completed within the Transmission Division where, in 2014-2015, a total of 10 vehicles were replaced with more fuel-efficient engines. More information will be provided in the 2015-2016 report.
Training continues to play a large role in our greening efforts. Driver training offered to employees included a review of the tips, techniques and behaviours to help reduce emissions on the road and improve fuel efficiency. A multi-year program, the training offered in 2014-2015 will continue into the next fiscal year.
Decommissioning of Analogue Transmission Services
The multi-year project to dispose of transmission assets (towers, antennas, transmitters, buildings) continued in 2014-2015. With the focus on removing assets from leased sites and disposing of surplus inactive sites, this project is associated with the shutdown of analogue television services on July 31, 2012.
Due to budget restrictions, much of the work anticipated for 2014-2015 has been deferred to 2015-2016. However, 16 sites have been sold, resulting in a total of 22,547.73 metric tonnes of e-waste and 108,577.32 kg of scrap metal being diverted from landfills and recycled. Decommissioning is still required at an additional 139 sites.
Expansion of the Boomerang Box program continued in 2014-2015 to CBC Vancouver.A reusable shipping solution intended to replace the traditional one-time use cardboard box, 1,963 boomerang boxes were shipped between the Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver offices between January 2014 and March 2015. With a total of 1,488 boxes returned to Office Max, our return rate was 75.8%, which is consistent with last year’s report. Unfortunately, discussions with Office Max indicate the program will be changing in the upcoming year. Some vendors have already gradually stopped the program as it is no longer being offered. More information will be provided in the 2015-2016 report.
LED Lighting upgrades continue
Our efforts to upgrade and replace lighting focused on our English Services field news-gathering activities with the replacement of low-to-mid-powered HMI lights and mid-powered HMI lights with LEDs.
A hydrargyrum medium-arc iodide (or HMI) light is a metal-halide gas discharge medium arc-length lamp utilized in the entertainment industry to reduce glare on mobile or remote shoots. Producers of large amounts of energy, these devices emit ultraviolet (UV) radiation that when used improperly can present a significant health and safety issue.
Fiscal year 2014-2015 saw the replacement of all the mid-powered HMIs (ranging from 500 to 575 watts) in our English Services departments with powerful all-weather LED fixtures. With a longer life expectancy and a reduction in the associated operational costs, the LED replacement represents an energy savings of up to 90%. Best of all, there is no UV or IR emitted from an LED.
The project will continue in 2015-2016 with the replacement of the low-to-mid-powered HMIs and the expansion of the program into French Services.