Iqaluit pool fuel use to drop dramatically

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The federal government committed Jan. 15 to fund the city’s plan to complete the greening of the Iqaluit Aquatic Centre – reducing heating fuel use by 80 per cent – and expand Qulliq Energy Corp’s district heating system.

“I can’t think of a better milestone for our first anniversary,” said Mayor Madeleine Redfern, noting the pool opened Jan. 26, 2017.

She said the move will save the city money while making it more environmentally responsible.

Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Carolyn Bennett announces a partnership between the Government of Canada, the City of Iqaluit and Qulliq Energy Corp. that will see the Iqaluit Aquatic Centre reduce its fuel consumption by 80 per cent thanks to federal funding.
Michele LeTourneau/NNSL photo

Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Carolyn Bennett made the announcement during a visit to Iqaluit, flanked by Redfern and Qulliq Energy Corporation vice president Jamie Flaherty. City councillors, Iqaluit-Manirajak MLA Adam Arreak Lightstone and Nunavut MP Hunter Tootoo were also present.

The commitment has no price tag yet. The dollar amount will be known after the request for proposals process. The Government of Canada provided $72,000 to Qulliq in 2016-2017 to complete the assessment and design work for the project.

By hooking up to Qulliq’s heat recovery system, which will capture excess heat from Iqaluit’s diesel generators and redistribute it to heat the facility for space and water heating, it is expected the facility’s fuel use will be reduced by 80 per cent. That translates to 157,724 litres less diesel consumed, and greenhouse gas reductions of more than 466 tonnes carbon dioxide annually, according to officials.

“What’s exciting just standing here is that this is such an amazing example for not only Canada but for the world. We know that heat recovery is an effective approach to reducing diesel consumption. And it’s clear that Northern communities are on the forefront of reducing our dependence on this energy source,” said Bennett.

“We know the North is on the receiving end of climate change and we know, as we listen, that Northerners have always wanted to be part of solutions.”

Bennett said the project is an example of the Inuit value of qanuqtuurniq, being innovative and resourceful.

“So this investment just pays off over and over again.”

So far, the Qikiqtani General Hospital, Nunavut Arctic College and the Nunavut Court of Justice are hooked up to QEC’s district heating system.

The project will also result in the facility achieving the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) silver green-building designation, an international rating system for excellence in green building.

Funding for the project will come from Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada’s Northern Responsible Energy Approach for Community Heat and Electricity (REACHE) program.

The announcement comes on the heels of Bennett’s announcement earlier this month of $1.7 million to the Government of Nunavut between 2017 and 2021 to implement three climate adaptation projects.

During a question and answer period after the announcement, Bennett could not say when an improved Nutrition North Program would be unveiled, but she said the program would see a complete renovation.

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Michele LeTourneau first arrived at NNSL's headquarters in Yellowknife in1998, with a BA honours in Theatre. For four years she documented the arts across the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Following a very short stint as a communications officer with the Government of the Northwest Territories, Michele spent a decade at a community-based environmental monitoring board in the mining industry, where she worked with Inuit, Chipewyan, Tlicho, Yellowknives Dene and Metis elders to help develop traditional knowledge and Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit contributions for monitoring and management plans. She rejoined NNSL and moved to Iqaluit in May 2014 to write for Nunavut News. Michele has received a dozen awards for her work with NNSL.