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Saanich says new biomass boilers coming to rec centre will cut GHG emissions by 90 per cent

Limited aquatic activities will reopen at Saanich's Commonwealth Place starting Aug. 4: (Saanich Commonwealth Place) Limited aquatic activities will reopen at Saanich's Commonwealth Place starting Aug. 4: (Saanich Commonwealth Place)

The District of Saanich is planning to install a new set of biomass boilers at Saanich Commonwealth Place (SCP) to help lower its emissions.

The municipality says the biomass boilers will replace the rec centre's current natural gas boilers and will reduce the facility's greenhouse gas emissions by 90 per cent.

Biomass energy is described as a renewable form of energy that converts biofuel – such as plant and animal waste, wood or wood residues, or agriculture crop residues – into heat or electricity, according to Saanich.

In this case, the biomass boilers at SCP will use woodfibre byproducts that are created in local milling operations.

Those byproducts will then be turned into "biomass pucks" by BioFlame Briquettes Ltd. in Chemainus, B.C.

"This major project is another important and positive step in our journey to reduce our corporate carbon footprint and meet our goal of becoming a 100 per cent renewable community," said Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes.

"The new heating system will use a locally sourced renewable biomass fuel which will reduce costs, increase efficiency and support our local economy and climate goals," he said.

The installation of the new biomass boilers is scheduled to begin in September and wrap up in fall 2023.

The municipality says that construction will generally take place between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., with the majority of exterior construction noise scheduled for Sept. 6 to Oct. 10.

The district adds that SCP will be closed from Sept. 5 to Oct. 10 due to general construction, such as maintenance, pool re-tiling, light upgrading and plumbing repairs.

The new biomass boilers are being funded through a $4-million federal gas tax fund that Saanich received in 2018. 

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