In the Green Spotlight

Spotlighting environmental initiatives that we are especially proud of this year

Our commitment to the environment is clear. We are dedicated to identifying solutions to potential issues, such as electronic waste, but we are also focused on conservation efforts when it comes to energy and water usage. But our involvement does not end there. Every year our Environmental Performance Report features stories from the prior year, outlining the commitment of our employees and organization to protecting the environment and doing our part for the community and world at large. Our employees are key to the Corporation being an environmentally responsible organization.

This year, a few of the stories we are especially proud of feature key initiatives that have played, and continue to play, a significant role in how we manage our environmental strategy in a sustainable way.

Mont Logan


A joint venture between Health, Safety and Environment and Real Estate Services was initiated in late June 2015 with the introduction of eight bee colonies on the rooftops of the CBC Toronto and Radio-Canada Montreal buildings. Four hives were placed in each location, with a focus on doing our part for the environment and reducing the dramatic decline currently seen in the world’s bee population. Climate change, the use of pesticides, habitat loss and the introduction of new diseases have been contributing factors in this decline. Bee colonies on our properties allow for garden pollination throughout the urban centres, development of local honey and overall perennial greening.

The hives were installed with the help of key representatives in our organization (Athena Trastelis and Christina Boncheff of Health, Safety & Environment; Daniel Langevin of Real Estate Services; Azim Remani of Legal Services; Nata Maggio of Risk Management and Insurance; and David Oille of EnterpriseCommunications) and were maintained by a third-party beekeeper throughout the season.

The bee biodiversity program was hugely successful for CBC/Radio-Canada. Our employees were excited to participate in the program and were engaged in all activities related to the bee population issue at large, including the installation of a rooftop “bee cam” in Toronto and a competition to “name their queen bees.” The contest responses we received were clever, with a play on bee culture or CBC/Radio-Canada personalities, reflecting the imagination and creativity of our employees. Other activities included workshops to teach employees about the importance of bees in our environment, focusing on the inner workings of the hive and how honey is extracted. Building on the social responsibility aspect of the program, all honey generated by the bees was given to our employees for a donation, with 100% of the proceeds given to a local charity.

Based on the program’s success and our staff’s enthusiasm, the program will expand and continue into 2016-2017. Bee installations are proposed for our sites in Winnipeg, Vancouver and Ottawa in fiscal year 2016-2017.

Biodiversity programs within CBC/Radio-Canada are not just restricted to our bee program. Where site conditions are favourable, the Transmission Division has agreements with local farmers that allow grazing, haying and planting of crops such as grain and soybeans on areas adjacent to transmission towers. This practice is beneficial to both parties because farmers are able to either graze their animals or harvest crops locally, site plant growth is controlled and revenue is generated for the Corporation. Areas across the country where such agreements are in place include Middleton, NS; Windsor, ON; Chatham, ON; Wingham, ON; Kitchener, ON; Lethbridge, AB; and Red Deer, AB.

Data Centre in Halifax

Data Centre Cooling Infrastructure

The operation of Data Centre cooling infrastructure was successfully optimized in Halifax and Moncton in 2015-2016. Based on a design to ensure a resilient, reliable and efficient mechanical solution for the Computer Equipment Room (CER), the program resulted in industry-leading efficiencies and a focused move towards sustainable operations.

The introduction of intelligence containment devices into our data centres has enabled us to dramatically reduce the energy consumption for each site by maximizing the use of our free cooling chillers and maintaining proper room temperatures according to industry best practices. Using these devices, we are able to cool equipment according to demand, eliminate potential hot spots and equipment failure, and ensure greater resiliency within the system.

Continuously monitored via a critical dashboard for each site, our performance in 2015-2016 reflected an average energy savings of 80% at CBC Halifax and 85% at CBC Moncton when compared to industry standards and the traditional way data centres are cooled. More specifically, a full year of operation at our Halifax facility (April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016) demonstrated savings of 528,000 kWh and 360 tons of carbon dioxide. Similarly the Moncton building showed a reduction of 471,000 kWh and 325 tons of carbon dioxide since the program launched on June 1, 2015. With a total financial savings of $97,603, the reduction in energy consumption at both sites demonstrates a sustainable solution to addressing efficiency issues in CERs, as well as the benefits of optimizing cooling infrastructure.

Forecasts for Halifax and Moncton project an additional savings of 1,150,000 kWh and 783 tons of carbon dioxide equaling $115,140 in total for 2016-2017. We will continue to look for opportunities to further optimize data centre cooling infrastructures at other facilities.

Environmental Management System

Bio-cell Remediation Technology at Mont Logan

Mont Logan, QC is a federal site surrounded by Parc nationale de-la-Gaspesie. Operated as a transmission site until 1978, power was provided through diesel-powered generators. During the decommissioning of the site, a historical fuel spill was discovered. Due to the remoteness of the location, bio-cell technology, an innovative approach for treating small quantities of soil contamination by petroleum hydrocarbons, was used to remediate the site.

As indicated in last year’s report, treatment through an active bio-cell (forced ventilation) is a widely used method for treating petroleum-impacted sites in remote locations. The technology is simple and is based on the principle that by controlling the conditions of a bio-cell, bacteria present naturally in soils can organically degrade hydrocarbons.

Following the construction of the bio-cell in the summer of 2014, soil and water sampling was conducted in the spring and fall of 2015 to assess the progress of the remediation process.

Dennis Graham, Manager of Health, Safety and Environment with the Transmission Division reported that “the results indicate that the concentrations for the analyzed parameters in the groundwater monitoring wells are generally undetected or well below the applicable Quebec criteria. As well, the hydrocarbon concentrations measured in July and September 2015 show a marked decrease since the bio-cell was originally installed. All in all, the sampling data illustrated that the bio-cell continues to function as intended.”

Analysis of additional soil samples from the bio-cell is planned for 2016-2017 to demonstrate a reliable trend in the decrease of hydrocarbon concentrations. This will also allow us to project the amount of time required to reduce concentrations to acceptable limits.

Electric car charging station

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 sustainable impact on the environment.

In 2014-2015 we reported the commissioning and new installation of two electric car charging stations in our Montreal Radio-Canada facility. Partially or entirely powered by electricity, electric vehicles (EVs) build on hybrid technology and offer reductions in fuel consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. By providing charging stations in the workplace, we encourage green commuting options and reduce emissions from transportation, making it easier for people to adopt EVs and charge their cars everywhere they go. We are doing our part to identify solutions that help our employees shift away from fossil fuels.

Officially launched on March 31, 2015, the results indicate that from April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016, from just over 650 charge ups, we were able to:

  • conserve 5.902 MWh of energy
  • save 2,803.73 litres of gasoline.

In addition, we were able to prevent 2,478 kg of GHG from being emitted into the environment. This is equivalent to the GHG emissions from an average passenger vehicle being driven 9,558 km (source).

Reports from employees indicate that the program has been successfully received and the stations are almost always in use. Servicing four vehicles at a time, charging stations are currently available for staff only in the Montreal employee parking lot. According to Daniel Langevin (Manager, Health, Safety and Environment, Real Estate Services) and Mario Gionet (Corporate Fleet Senior Manager), “we hope that the program will expand in two ways in the coming years: 1) the installation of more EV charging stations in other locations; and 2) the introduction and use of electric vehicles in the CBC/Radio-Canada fleet.”

Green fleet

Greening our Fleet

Greening our fleet involves the continuous review of opportunities whereby sustainable practices are evaluated and implemented. This is an ongoing priority for the Corporation that has a positive impact both environmentally and economically. Building on initiatives from prior years, our efforts this year demonstrated a dramatic decline in our greenhouse gas emissions.

Over the past two years, we saw a 41.7% decrease in our overall carbon emissions related to our fleet. Attributed to measures such as reducing the number of fleet vehicles or swapping out units for hybrids or more fuel-efficient cars, the largest factor contributing to this decrease in 2015-2016 involved the sale of our Mobile Division.

Composed of six heavy duty commercial tractors and one mini-van, the Mobile Division was a significant contributor to our carbon dioxide emissions. On average, each mobile unit travelled approximately 60,000 km per year compared to 11,000 km for the average CBC/Radio-Canada car. The mid-year sale of these units means that our emissions will likely continue to show a decrease in the upcoming fiscal year.

Fiscal year 2015-2016 also saw the introduction of six new vehicles to the Transmission Division fleet. Operating costs are trending lower thanks in part to the introduction of these vehicles, which have more fuel-efficient engines, but also due to the addition of lighter duty vehicles. Fewer kilometres are being driven and there has been a decline in overall fuel costs. Plans for 2016-2017 include the replacement of older vehicles; a move that will further positively impact our program.

As indicated in last year's report, we completed negotiations to expand the selection of cars available for purchase in our vehicle selector. We are now able to include fully electric vehicles, as well as additional hybrids, for purchase. Electric vehicles, like hybrids, present several advantages: they use less fuel, save money and lower carbon emissions. In fact, they are an excellent option for reporting in urban settings where there are frequent starts and stops, allowing for the car battery to recharge. The program will continue into 2016-2017, where we anticipate the trial and purchase of these units, as well as the potential installation of additional charging stations to maintain the fleet.

Promoting sustainable practices while operating our fleet is a key concept taught to employees as part of our eco-friendly drivers training. Featuring a review of tips, techniques and behaviours to help reduce emissions while operating CBC/Radio-Canada vehicles, the completion rate for training in 2015-2016 was over 88%. The program is beneficial not just for the Corporation but also for employees on a personal level, as the learnings can be applied in any setting. The training will be completed in 2016-2017, with one final round of training planned.

All of these measures combined ‒ reducing our fleet, technological opportunities and training ‒ are contributing to decreasing our carbon footprint.

IP phone close-up

LED Lighting

The installation of LED fixtures at CBC/Radio-Canada is not a new initiative. Beginning with the first in the world all-LED-lit studio in 2007-2008 at the Beijing Olympics, and working through the upgrade of all our main studios and some office spaces, energy-saving LED activities continue within the Corporation.

Fiscal year 2015-2016 saw the implementation of two main projects involving LEDs. French Services in Moncton and Montreal participated in an initiative to upgrade and replace field news-gathering lighting, while the Transmission Division introduced LED strobe lights on several of their towers.

A hydrargyrum medium-arc iodide (or HMI) light is a metal-halide gas discharge medium arc-length lamp used 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.

HMI lights were replaced with LEDs in two locations in the Montreal facility: Studio 42, the largest studio in the building, and the newsroom. The anticipated operational savings of this project is $232,705.45 per year in the Studio. In the newsroom, we expect a savings of $94,710.20 per year.

This program was also successfully implemented at our new station in Moncton. With a return on investment of 10 years, the replacement of HMIs to LEDs resulted in a $9,277.58 operational savings per year.

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 infrared (IR) emitted from an LED.

The second project implemented in 2015-2016 was the introduction of high intensity LED strobe lighting systems on our towers by our Transmission Division. Operating with similar energy requirements as xenon strobe lights, LEDs are advantageous as they require less maintenance and last approximately two times longer than conventional incandescent lights. These units were added in the following locations: Charlottetown, PEI; Halifax, NS; Kitchener, ON; Wiarton, ON; Wingham, ON; and Yarmouth, NS. In addition, LED strobe lights were installed in Springstein, MB, for the first time ever on an AM tower.

As tower lights come up for replacement, LED lighting will be considered for implementation. The Transmission Division has several projects planned for 2016-2017.

Led Lighting Upgrades continue

Sustainable Studio Refresh in CBC Charlottetown and CBC Fredericton

Employee engagement is a key component of sustainability. Production teams in Toronto, Charlottetown and Fredericton worked together to apply sustainable environmental principles to refresh two studio sets.

With guidance from CBC Toronto, CBC Charlottetown and CBC Fredericton were tasked with "refreshing" their studio sets in 2015-2016. Involving key representatives from Redesign, Set Installation and Lighting, the sets were stripped back to their bare walls, minor set modifications were completed in each and they were repainted. New graphics were added to the sets, existing monitors were taken off their stands and mounted to the walls, and new desks were built for each location. No waste was generated throughout this entire process. Despite the complete makeover, not one item was sent to landfill.

The set transformation is evident in the images of CBC Charlottetown. This example illustrates that our employees and their engagement with sustainable practices is the most important piece in promoting a sustainable environmental program within the Corporation.

Analogue Transmission Services

Decommissioning of Analogue Transmission Services

Fiscal year 2015-2016 saw the completion of the decommissioning project of our analogue transmission services. This multi-year project focused on removing assets (towers, antennas, transmitters, buildings) from leased sites and disposing of surplus inactive sites using sustainable environmental practices.

Beginning on July 31, 2012 with the shutdown of analogue television sources, the Transmission Division finalized a multi-year, multi-site project resulting in a total of 51 sites sold and an additional 99 sites decommissioned. Although deferred at times due to budget restrictions, the work resulted in 90.17 metric tonnes of e-waste and 699,867 kg of scrap metal being diverted from landfills and recycled.

The program has now concluded, and it serves as a successful and sustainable model that followed environmental principles.

Analogue Transmission Services

Moving House Sustainably

Building on our infrastructure strategy, fiscal year 2015-2016 saw a reduction of total space holdings, including at our Moncton and Sudbury buildings. Using environmentally sustainable principles, we identified new opportunities and introduced methodology to divert equipment and other materials from landfill.

Representatives from our Production Solutions (Media Technology & Infrastructure Services) and Real Estate Services departments initiated a pilot at our Moncton site in preparation for the sale of the Moncton building in late 2015. This trial provided an opportunity to identify ways to reuse unneeded, but functional, equipment, and prevented any equipment from going to landfill. Working with a third-party supplier, over 60 skids of equipment, or approximately 50,000 to 60,000 lbs of gear identified as having no value for CBC/Radio-Canada purposes, was sold to an external broker. All proceeds were reinvested into the Corporation and not one item was sent to landfill.

Using similar principles, a project was completed in Sudbury following the quick sale of our building. All items identified for disposal were reviewed by Management from other CBC/Radio-Canada locations to identify opportunities where the surplus equipment could be reused. Only after this review was completed were items identified as having no value to the Corporation and disposed of using our e-waste process. As with Moncton, no equipment was sent to landfill.

As we continue to reduce our real estate footprint, we will continue to identify sustainable solutions to reduce waste and divert materials from landfill.

Data Centre Cooling

Balancing out GHG Emissions Through Carpet Replacement

Offsetting carbon emissions by investing in renewable energy or participating in activities to reduce deforestation are some ways to fight global warming. Another way is to work with suppliers who practice these strategies by balancing and zeroing out all associated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by examining the life cycle of their products.

This strategy was applied to the replacement of worn carpet in select buildings across the country. With the help of a supplier who works to zero out GHG emissions by investing in verified emission reduction projects, such as renewable energy, and by purchasing certified carbon offset credits, CBC/Radio-Canada has replaced 13,652 square yards of carpet since the program’s inception in early 2015. This is equivalent to:

  • 148,369 kg of GHG emissions offset

  • 63,089 litres of gasoline not consumed

  • 28 passenger cars not driven for 1 year

  • 20 households worth of electricity use avoided for one year

Every phase of an item's lifecycle, from the harvest of raw materials to its manufacture, shipping and end-of-life recycling contributes to global warming. Through the purchase of sustainable carpet and materials, our Procurement and Real Estate Services teams are working together to keep the planet cool and reduce our contribution to global warming.

Environmental Management System

CBC Toronto: Gold for a Second Year

Green commuting is a sustainable option resulting in fewer emissions, less money spent on gas and, most importantly, improved health and well-being.

For the second year in a row, in January 2016 CBC Toronto was awarded a Gold designation by the City of Toronto Smart Commute program. This designation is awarded to outstanding workplaces that support sustainable travel options for their employees on an ongoing basis through regular communication and participation in programs such as bicycle workshops.

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