With UBC Okanagan's FortisBC rebate cheque for 2012 are, from left, university program manager Lorne Antle, university director of sustainability operations Leanne Bilodeau, FortisBC director of customer service Mark Warren, UBC Okanagan associate
vice-president Michael Shakespeare and FortisBC energy solutions manager Shelley Thomson.
The campus' energy-saving technology and practices range from high-efficiency pumps, motors and lights, ventilation controls, mega insulation and occupancy light sensors to exhaust heat reclaimation,
superior window and door glazing,
commercial gas water heaters and the
latest in gas boilers and condensing boilers.
The breakdown was $150,000 in electricity rebates and $50,000 in gas rebates.
The 6.3-million kilowatt hours of electricity the university has saved represents about $375,000 in annual energy savings, which is enough electricity to power about 400 homes for a year.
While the school with all its new buildings has the opportunity to install the latest and greatest in energy-saving devices and is big enough to pile up the rebates, FortisBC hopes the story inspires regular homeowners too.
Average joes can earn rebates - and save money on all future power bills - by installing high-efficiency furnaces, bumping up the insulation or installing new doors and windows.
Speaking of saving energy, Orifino Winery in Cawston has two huge solar thermal collector panels on the roof
harvesting enough of the sun's rays to provide all of the building's hot water heating and electricity.
The big thermal collectors, which cost $10,000 each, are an alternative to the many smaller solar panels people usually think of.
Winery owners John and Virginia Weber received partial project funding from the B.C. Ministry of Energy and Mines for the innovation.
Even before the Webers opened the
winery in 2005, they were energy conscious.
They built Canada's only strawbale
winery then as a way to be energy efficient and wine friendly.
As the name suggests, the walls are made of bales of straw that provide incredible
insulation and are then covered with regular materials on the exterior and interior so that you'd never know the straw is in there.
The natural cooling in the winter and heat retention in the winter isn't only good at keeping energy needs down, but is great for keeping temperatures steady in the wine barrel and storage rooms.
Pro Eco Energy of Summerland did Orifino's solar panel planning and installation.
With the rental vacancy rate in Kelowna up to four per cent, apartment rents in the city are holding steady.
The Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation's latest report shows the vacancy rate in October was four per cent, up from three per cent in the same month last year.
With more places in apartment buildings available to rent and competition from people renting out condominiums, single-family homes, carriage homes and basement suites, rents haven't gone up much since last year.
The average rent on a one-bedroom unit is $750 a month, up from $736 last year.
The rent for a two bedroom is $927, up slightly from $922.
As the economy improves next year, the vacancy rate is expected to tighten and rents will edge up at the rate of inflation.
The four per cent vacancy is a change from boomtime 2007 when there were virtually no places to rent in Kelowna.
Kelowna's rate is comparable to those in Abbotsford, St. Catharines, Ontario and London, Ontario; lower than the 9.7 per cent in St. John's, Newfoundland and 7.3 per cent in Windsor, Ontario, but higher than the tight markets of Regina at one per cent, Thunder Bay, Ontario with 1.1 per cent and Calgary at 1.3.
For her work with the Easter Seals campaign and his commitment to community sports, Kelowna's Annette Lipkovits and Dino Gini have been named the Central Okanagan Realtors Care Award winners by the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board.
Lipkovits, who works at Century 21 Assurance, tends to organize all that fundraisers at her office, especially the challenge to drum up money to send disabled kids to the Easter Seals Camp near Winfield.
Lipkovits has also travelled to Nepal with her daughter and husband to volunteer with The Umbrella Foundation, which helps displaced kids get an education.
Gini has now won the Realtors Care Award two times in five years.
He puts in 15-20 hours a week coaching (most notably the Immaculata High School senior girls basketball team to a third provincial championship) and also raises money for the Adopt an Athlete program.
Lisa Payne now lives in Newfoundland, but she gained inspiration to write her self-help book 'What If They Knew? Secrets of an Impressive Woman' after an extended vacation in Peachland.
The 235-page book (Balboa Press, $18) has numerous chapters of women telling their stories with titles like 'I am Fat,' 'I am Insecure,' 'I am Sexy' and 'I am Confident.'
The contradictory stories show how complicated women are and that all have moments of doubt and darkness, but also all have moments of empowerment and light.
The contrasts are meant to encourage women to shed the destructive and limiting thoughts and embrace their power and bright future.
Payne spent time re-grouping in Peachland after a divorce and job loss and then moved to Newfoundland where she writes and is a life coach and inspirational speaker.
Steve MacNaull is a business reporter and columnist with the Okanagan Saturday. He can be reached at steve.macnaull.ok.bc.ca, or by calling 250-470-0767.