A greener, more sustainable Haven

We operate with love, integrity and respect for humanity and our environment and we manage our resources responsibly and effectively. From The Haven’s mission statement.

We are now two years into an ongoing project to make The Haven more environmentally sustainable. Our primary areas of focus have been energy and water. Our goal is to substantially reduce The Haven’s energy use (by reducing our dependence on propane and saving electricity) and maximize the efficiency of our water collection, storage and use.

The first step was to replace our older energy and water-inefficient large appliances with state of the art new equipment. Early in 2012 the Haven invested in new high efficiency laundry machines, a new high efficiency commercial dishwasher and a tune-up of the major propane appliances. These projects have reduced our propane usage by over 11,625 litres per year,   reducing our Co2 gas emissions by 17,438 Kg of Co2. At the end of 2012 we installed a new furnace in the lodge, which operates at 96.1% efficiency, compared to 65% for the old furnace. This change should translate into further reducing our propane usage by 5,040 litres each year, reducing our carbon footprint by 4.8%. We are also in the process of replacing other, smaller equipment: washing machines, dryers, the ice machine, fridges and freezers.

Following an energy audit in 2011 carried out by LiveSmart BC, we replaced almost all of the lightbulbs on the property (just under 1000) with LED bulbs, which are much more energy efficient and contain much less mercury than CFLs. We also installed low flow shower heads and low flush toilets in the majority of the accommodation rooms and high traffic areas of The Haven. Thanks to the support of a generous donor, we were also able to install a reverse osmosis system, which allows us to increase the amount of potable water for The Haven.

Looking ahead to our 30th anniversary year in 2013, we are embarking on the next, more radical step, which involves looking for alternative energy sources and rethinking the way we source our water. There are now twelve 4’ by 8’ flat panel solar collectors on the roof of the Orca building. These panels provide solar water heating for the swimming pool and the Orca building, eliminating the propane heating for the swimming pool entirely. We believe this project will reduce our propane usage by another 13,000 litres for the pool building heating thereby reducing our carbon footprint by another 8.3% in 2013. We are hoping that stage two of the solar heating project, focused on the lodge, will happen in 2013.

Also in 2013 we are setting ourselves an ambitious target of becoming ‘well-free’ by the end of the year. Thanks to the vision of our founders, we have sufficient water storage capacity and a system for moving water around the property. At the beginning of 2013, with support from donors, we will be increasing our water collection to 70% of all our buildings. This will enable use to ultimately stop drawing water from our wells completely, and use rainwater collection as our sole source of potable and non potable water.

We are committed to continuing the work of increasing our environmental sustainability to become a model for other organizations on the Gulf Islands. Anyone interested in finding out more can contact the Haven’s Director of Operations (Kelvin Pitcher) or Executive Director (Rachel Davey) at 1 877 247 9238.

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