Rikos Engineering Ltd. offers up energy conservation tactics to save condominium dollars!

Many in the market wishing to purchase a new vehicle today are thinking about saving green – saving the green in their wallets and saving the greenery on our earth. The majority of car advertisements aim to sell us on the benefits of saving money through fuel-efficiency and saving our environment through eco-friendly emissions. So, if more and more of us are willing to go green on our roads, why aren’t we willing to go green in our condos? There are incentives, after all.

Take the province’s SaveONEnergy program, for example. Spearheaded by the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), the program encourages building owners to reduce power consumption by installing energy-efficient fixtures and mechanical components. The initiative offers savings to those installing efficient light bulbs, motion-sensors, timers or dimmers for lighting, programmable thermostats for baseboard heaters and more. In a single home, these savings only result in minimal changes; however, across a 400-suite condo building, these savings make a large impression. The program offers great rewards to any building owner who makes a greater effort to reduce their ecological footprint. As electrical engineer Dr. Glenn Allen says, “Any choice we make to reduce energy consumption is a good one, no matter how small it may seem. But if building owners begin saving energy on a larger scale, even generating the building’s electricity themselves, they will save extraordinary amounts of money.”

Allen, a Toronto condo resident, should know. After obtaining his doctorate from Ryerson University, Allen embarked on an electric power transmission and distribution career spanning nearly three decades. His knowledge of Ontario’s power supply has made him an invaluable asset at Rikos Engineering Ltd., a Toronto-based engineering company that helps find cost effective solutions to energy problems in condo buildings.

According to the IESO, a typical Ontario resident will pay $178 on average for electricity each month in 2018, a 29% increase from the $138 residents pay today. “Ideally, building owners should look for a solution that is both environmentally responsible and cost-effective,” Allen said. “Many don’t realize how easily that theory can become a reality.”

 

Allen recommends high-rise condominium building owners consider generating most of their own electricity. While it may seem like a scary thought, Rikos has made it easier by offering reciprocating natural gas engine generators for installation in domestic high-rises. Gas engine generators emit almost no pollution, unlike the diesel generators that many condo buildings already rely upon for back-up power. And, if helping to save the planet isn’t incentive enough, a reciprocating gas engine generator has the potential to reduce electricity costs to less than three cents per kWh. These remote power generators are a relatively new endeavor for the company, but Rikos has been turning building owners green (and making others green with envy) for years through variable frequency drive (VFD) booster pumps. Where an ordinary recirculation pump is too big, too powerful and wasteful, variable frequency drive pumps, like those offered by Rikos, provide hot water on demand. When the demand for hot water in the high-rise is less, the pump shuts off – conserving energy and money.

In 2014, residents at 11 Brunel Ct. in Toronto saved 125,867 kWh and more than $15,000 per year when Rikos installed booster pumps in their 49-storey building. In addition to the installation, Rikos handled all of the paperwork and submitted the SaveONEnergy incentive application. Like those at 11 Brunel Ct., corporations can expect a return on their investment less than three years after installing booster pumps.

Unfortunately for condo owners, managers and residents, those big, overpowered recirculation pumps that were originally installed may have already taken their toll on hot water pipes. Many Toronto buildings see pinhole leaks forming within a decade of being built. But the best building owners don’t let those leaks drown out the need to go green. Instead of replacing an entire hot water system, savvy stakeholders have chosen to address the pinhole leak problem with epoxy pipe lining. The pipe lining, made available by Rikos in 2001, doesn’t require any destruction or re-piping.

“Pipe lining has always been a green solution,” said company founder Wolfgang Osada. “The amount of emissions during a project doesn’t even come close to pollution that occurs when buildings choose to re-pipe. And lined pipes are still 100% recyclable.”