Oliver, BC – A few building improvements at the Oliver Archives are helping the building to “go green.” Those projects are the installation of a number of solar panels on the Archives building roof and the replacement of the building’s furnace and air conditioner.
You may have noticed the solar last week as you drove along Fairview Road. The panels were installed February 1st by Argon Electrical and Solar Services, and they are going to do big things for the Oliver & District Heritage Society which operates the Archives.
“We are a non-profit society with a limited budget. This project will help us to reduce our energy costs over the next 25 years so that more of our resources can go towards serving the public,” said Julianna Weisgarber, Executive Director for the Heritage Society.
Following a similar move by the Oliver Food Bank, the Oliver & District Heritage Society decided to go solar in 2018 under the leadership of its Board of Directors headed by President Vance Potter and former Executive Director Manda Maggs. They had been approached by local solar advocates who evaluated the building and found it suitable based on orientation and surface area. The installation was made possible by a generous bequest gifted to the Heritage Society to be used for building improvements. The final determinant was the cost-savings. It is estimated that the panels will produce 90-95% of the building’s total electricity use in a year at a fixed cost of 9 cents/kilowatt-hour. With an expected return of nearly 7% in the first year, the panels should pay themselves off in approximately 12 years and last for another 13.
The new furnace and air conditioner are also having an impact on the building’s carbon footprint. The old HVAC system was almost 20 years old, and the Board had been planning to replace it for years. The new gas furnace is more energy efficient than the old model and will significantly reduce gas consumption and heating costs. The new air conditioner has more than doubled cooling efficiency, taking it from 6 to 14 percent. Guardian Plumbing and Heating completed the installation of both units over the last week.
The new systems will help ensure the preservation of the archival materials housed inside the building by providing more stable environmental conditions during warm and cold months and improved control over temperature and humidity changes, which can damage archival records.
Both upgrades offer the benefit of enhanced sustainability, both for the environment and for the Society. To the Heritage Society, it’s a win-win situation.