RDC’s Alternative Energy Initiative recognized nationally as a leader in sustainability
Red Deer College’s commitment to environmental stewardship has been recognized on the national stage with two honours.
The College is proud to be recognized by Clean50 for its use of sustainable technologies to provide learning and research opportunities for students, faculty and industry partners, as well as to reduce its energy consumption. In addition, RDC’s Alternative Energy Lab has received LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver certification from Canada Green Building Council.
Clean50 Top Project for 2021
RDC’s Alternative Energy Initiative has been named one of Canada’s Clean50 Top Project Award (https://clean50.com) winners and this project has been declared a Clean50 Top Project for 2021.
Clean50 celebrates innovation among organizations who contribute to a sustainable low-carbon Canadian economy to expedite collaboration and constructive change.
“RDC takes great pride in receiving this national recognition as a leader in sustainable technology, through the reduction of the College’s overall carbon footprint,” says Dr. Peter Nunoda, RDC President. “The Alternative Energy Lab, which is part of the College’s larger Alternative Energy Initiative, is a hub for alternate energy education and research, in addition to providing RDC’s faculty and students with opportunities to collaborate with, and support, central Alberta businesses.”
RDC’s Alternative Energy Initiative provides a framework to guide the College’s development as an alternative energy technology leader, reducing operational utility demands and costs.
The project submitted by RDC to Clean50 highlighted initiatives such as the College’s installation of more than 4,200 solar panels, which is the largest array among Canadian post-secondary schools, as well as a combined heat and power unit, replacement of exterior lighting with new energy efficient LEDs, and the Alternative Energy Lab, which is a vital teaching and learning space.
“RDC’s alternative energy projects play a significant role in reducing the institution’s carbon footprint which positively impact RDC’s operations and the environment. Electricity production at the College from alternative energy sources equates to powering 1,300 homes or removing 1,100 cars off the road each year,” says Jason Mudry, RDC’s Director of Campus Management.
“These projects also help RDC drastically reduce its utility costs by up to $750 thousand annually. These savings provide funds for use in other educational and operational initiatives.”
RDC’s Alternative Energy Initiative has vastly trimmed RDC’s use of external sources of electricity. At times, the College is able to sell power to surrounding communities in central Alberta as the largest independent electrical producer in Red Deer.
LEED Silver Certification for RDC’s Alternative Energy Lab
The College’s Alternative Energy Lab is among the newest learning spaces on RDC’s main campus, opening in 2019. This nationally-recognized LEED Silver certification highlights the College’s efforts to ensure the Lab embodies sustainability in its design, construction and ongoing operation.
“RDC’s Alternative Energy Lab offers tremendous value to a variety of stakeholders, including to more than one thousand students annually in a wide range of programs,” says Kylie Thomas, RDC Vice President Academic & Research. “The Lab enhances the entire immersive alternative energy educational experience for our students by offering an engaging platform to learn about these systems and apply their knowledge and skills to real-world situations. These incredible opportunities help prepare our learners for a variety of promising careers in the growing sector of alternative energy.”
Canada Green Building Council recognized RDC’s Alternative Energy Lab with LEED Silver certification for reasons including:
- the facility was built with a high-performance building envelope that has about fifty per cent more insulation value than a typical building
- an extensive photovoltaic array attached to the building that produces a significant amount of electricity for use in the Lab and other locations of main campus
- the Lab uses high-efficiency building mechanical systems to reduce energy consumption
RDC is also LEED certified with its Four Centres and Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre. RDC’s new Residence was also designed with sustainability in mind, as it is constructed with renewable structural materials and a high-performance building envelope.
Taking wildfire operations to new heights
Drone and helicopter testing being performed by Alberta Wildfire personnel. Photo Credit: Alberta Wildfire
Budget 2024 enables Alberta to make use of leading-edge technologies to prevent and respond to wildfires.
As Alberta heads into wildfire season, many areas of the province are experiencing heightened wildfire risk. Alberta’s government continues to prioritize new technologies and tactics that will enhance front-line response and suppression efforts.
Budget 2024 will invest an additional $151 million over the next three years for wildfire preparedness, prevention, response and mitigation. This additional funding will enhance wildland firefighting capacity with increased wildfire resources such as personnel, aircraft, drones, artificial intelligence (AI) and night-vision technology.
“Alberta’s government is well prepared for the 2024 wildfire season. We have emerging technologies that will enable us to better protect forests and communities while continuing to prioritize proactive measures that build wildfire resilience throughout the province.”
Aerial operations are integral to firefighting efforts and increased funding will enable the province to add two additional long-term helicopter contracts, two new air tanker contracts and additional drones for aerial wildfire surveillance. Budget 2024 will also support the renewal of 130 helicopter contracts by April 1.
“We live in a time where we have access to incredible technologies and last year, we recognized some great successes from various firefighting technology pilot programs. I can say with confidence that the additional night-vision equipped helicopters and drones will make a big difference in our wildfire mitigation and response efforts this year.”
Alberta Wildfire will continue to explore, research and test new developments in wildfire prevention, mitigation, smoke detection and suppression to assess how innovative technologies can support a rapid response and help extinguish wildfires. Wildfire management best practices are always evolving, and Alberta’s government is working to stay ahead of the curve.
For future wildfire seasons, the government is exploring options to potentially expand the province’s air tanker fleet and pilot more emerging firefighting technologies.
- Night-vision goggles amplify light 60,000 times and allow helicopter pilots to work overnight and conduct activities like bucketing operations.
- Wildfire suppression efforts are more likely to be successful at night, as temperatures are usually lower, humidity is typically higher and wildfires are less active.
- Alberta has been successfully using an AI wildfire occurrence prediction system since 2022 to identify areas where wildfires are likely to occur.
- Budget 2024 also includes hiring 100 new firefighters, which will result in five additional 20-person crews.
Alberta Budget 2024 – Employment
Budget 2024: Maintaining Alberta’s economic advantage
Budget 2024 is a responsible plan that maintains Alberta’s competitive advantage so businesses and industry can continue to innovate, thrive and create jobs.
Budget 2024 puts Alberta on a path of continued economic growth through funding that supports creating jobs, attracting investment and developing a skilled and diversified workforce. Strategic investments will empower job creators and innovators to invest, grow and flourish in Alberta’s diversifying economy.
“Budget 2024 reaffirms our commitment to diversify, attract new investment and provide more jobs that keep Alberta’s engine humming. Strategic investments that support the growth of Alberta cities and promote apprenticeship programming and emission reduction technology will help create more opportunities to build an even stronger Alberta.”
Alberta remains a key driver of Canada’s economic prosperity, accounting for 22 per cent of all jobs created in the country last year, despite having just 12 per cent of the population. Compared with other provinces, Alberta has the highest weekly earnings and the lowest taxes, offering many incentives to newcomers seeking a great place to call home.
To further build on these advantages, Budget 2024 introduces the Alberta is Calling attraction bonus, a $5,000 refundable tax credit aimed at attracting out-of-province workers in the skilled trades. A total of $10 million will be provided to workers.
“The Alberta is Calling attraction bonus will support our government’s commitment to build a skilled and resilient labour force that helps businesses and the economy thrive. We will continue to foster the conditions for growth to ensure Alberta remains the best place to live, work, invest, do business and raise a family.”
Budget 2024 supports the sustainable growth of Alberta’s cities and communities. In addition to $724 million in municipal infrastructure funding through the Local Government Fiscal Framework in 2024-25, Budget 2024 launches the new Local Growth and Sustainability Grant, an application-based program that provides $60 million over three years to enable municipalities to fund infrastructure that supports economic development and addresses unique and emergent needs in their communities.
“We’re pleased to see so many people choosing to move to Alberta to experience the advantages this province has to offer, thanks in part to the strong communities we are supporting through predictable, sustainable funding. We also recognize the pressure this growth can put on local communities. The Local Growth and Sustainability Grant is part of our responsible plan to support a vibrant province and help communities respond to growth opportunities and acute sustainability challenges.”
As Alberta’s economy continues to grow, so does the need to sustain a vibrant and robust workforce to meet the needs of Alberta employers. Budget 2024 addresses current and future potential labour shortages by expanding skills and knowledge in key areas.
More than $100 million in new funding for apprenticeship programs will add 3,200 seats to help meet growing demand at Alberta’s post-secondary institutions. Another $361 million from the Budget 2024 Capital Plan will build and upgrade research and learning facilities in some of the province’s world-class post-secondary institutions. Investments include $63 million to renovate and expand the W.J. Elliott agricultural mechanics building at Olds College and $55 million to increase STEM programming capacity at the University of Calgary.
“Supporting growth in Alberta’s economy means ensuring no region is left behind. Our funding commitments to STEM programming at the University of Calgary and agriculture at Olds will create new opportunities for students in our rural economy and those studying in our largest urban centre.”
The Alberta Petrochemicals Incentive Program (APIP) is helping turn the province into a top global producer of petrochemicals. The APIP provides grants to cover 12 per cent of eligible capital costs for Alberta-based petrochemicals projects. In 2023-24, three projects are expected to receive APIP grant payments totalling $116 million, helping to diversify Alberta’s economy and create jobs.
“Royalties collected from oil and gas fund the things Albertans rely on, like health, education and social services. Budget 2024 supports the government’s mission to strengthen investor confidence and support job creation in communities all while lowering emissions through the use of new technologies.”
Budget 2024 highlights
- $597 million over three years from the province’s TIER (Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction) fund to support a suite of programs that reduce emissions, support clean technology development, enhance climate resiliency and create jobs for Albertans.
- $1.5 billion for child-care services, an increase of $200 million, enabling more Albertans with young children to participate in the workforce.
- $32 million to build three new water intakes in the Designated Industrial Zone in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland, which will support long-term private investment opportunities in the area.
- Almost $30 million over three years for the Aboriginal Business Investment Fund, an increase of nearly $8 million, to help fund business startup and expansion costs in Indigenous communities.
Budget 2024 is a responsible plan to strengthen health care and education, build safe and supportive communities, manage the province’s resources wisely and promote job creation to continue to build Alberta’s competitive advantage.
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