Albertans are proud of their province and work hard to maintain its beauty and sustainability. Companies, institutions and individuals are pleased to take the initiative on eco-friendly projects, and large entities have the ability to make changes from an industry level that positively affect generations of future Albertans. Mammoet, Shell and the City of Edmonton are three such organizations that have not only taken this step, but have also become finalists and/or winners of Emerald Awards. The Alberta Emerald Foundation’s Emerald Awards recognize and celebrate outstanding environmental achievements in all sectors in Alberta.
Mammoet operates within the oil and gas, petrochemical, mining, power and civil/infrastructure market sectors providing engineered heavy lift and heavy haul services.
“Mammoet is committed to the responsible management of resources through a balanced people, planet and profit perspective,” says Klaas Rodenburg, quality advisor for Mammoet Canada Western Ltd. “To achieve this, we have created an initiative termed ‘Sustainovation’ that integrates the concepts of sustainability and innovation.
“In the case of reducing the footprint generated by our large equipment, we have invested in auxiliary power packs, a technology that allows the large diesel engines to be turned off when not in use while keeping the fluids warm and operators comfortable. This is very important in the harsh northern Alberta climate. Not only did this technology reduce our idling time and associated fuel costs significantly, but maintenance costs were also reduced by more than 20 per cent. Our light vehicle fleet is now equipped with GPS devices that track unnecessary idling and provide a report to each driver indicating their performance each month.”
Mammoet didn’t stop there.
“This year our Sustainovation team introduced Enviro-MatTM, a new cement-like product that replaces timber crane mats in supporting the weight of our largest cranes on soft soils. When the project is completed, Enviro-MatTM can be safely crushed back into the native soil without harming the environment. One of its many uses is temporary roads for installing wind turbines in remote locations, and we are exploring its use to stabilize contaminated soil.”
The company also opened a facility that operates with 50 percent less energy and 80 percent less water than comparable facilities.
“Like our equipment, our buildings have an environmental footprint that we continually try to reduce. The Edmonton facility (opened in 2008) includes, among other sustainable features, a geo-exchange field that helps heat and cool the building and reduces the amount of natural gas consumed. Lessons learned from this building were applied to our new building, which opened in 2015 in Fort McKay, featuring a high performance building envelope, LED lighting complete with sensors and a large cistern that captures rainwater from the roof, which is then used up to five times in our vehicle wash bay.”
Mammoet was a finalist in the 24th Emerald Awards’ large business category.
“Mammoet was extremely honoured to have been an Emerald Award finalist, recognizing the efforts of all of our employees in creating a culture of sustainability commitment,” says Rodenburg. “In leading by example, we hope to show Alberta companies that sustainability does not have to be an expensive add-on to their business, but rather an opportunity to grow profits by investing in people and continually improving environmental performance.”
Globally recognized as a leading energy company, Shell aims to meet the world’s growing demand for energy in ways that are economically, environmentally and socially responsible. Shell Canada Energy’s Quest Carbon Capture and Storage program earned a finalist nod in the 25th Emerald challenge: innovation category.
“Quest was built to capture more than one million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) each year from our Scotford upgrader – that’s equal to the emissions from about 250,000 cars!” informs Shell’s spokesperson, Cameron Yost. “The CO2 is then transported through a 65 kilometre pipeline, injected and safely stored more than two kilometres underground, below multiple layers of impermeable rock formations.
“Quest was built on behalf of the Athabasca Oil Sands Project joint-venture (Shell Canada Energy 60 per cent, Chevron Canada Limited 20 per cent and Marathon Oil Canada Corporation 20 per cent), and was made possible through strong support from the governments of Alberta and Canada, who provided C$865 million in funding.”
Yost is happy to note that, “Since starting up in late 2015, Quest has captured and stored more than one million tonnes of CO2, and has achieved this milestone ahead of schedule and at a reduced cost.”
“The success we are seeing in Quest demonstrates that Canadians are at the forefront of carbon capture and storage technology, showing the world that we can develop real solutions to address climate change,” Yost continues. “Not only is Quest currently capturing and safely storing over 1 million tonnes of CO2 per year, but its technology can also be applied to other industries around the world to significantly reduce their CO2 emissions. More than 50 delegations [from around the world] have come to visit Quest to learn about the project.
“From the outset, any intellectual property or data generated by Quest has been publicly available, in collaboration with the governments of Alberta and Canada, to help bring down future costs of CCS and encourage wider use of the technology around the world. This means that others can take the detailed engineering plans, valued at C$100 million, to help build future CCS facilities.
“Our success at Quest is a testament to the entrepreneurial spirit of Albertans, and it shows how working together can deliver incredible results.”
The Reuse Centre
The City of Edmonton’s Waste Services branch took first place in the 25th Emerald Award’s government institution category for the Reuse Centre facility and programs.
“We were thrilled!” said Connie Boyce, director of community relations with City of Edmonton’s Waste Services, about the win. “The Reuse Centre has grown so much since it was established in 2007, all through the hard work and dedication of our many volunteers, city staff and with support from residents of Edmonton.”
The Centre is supported by more than 300 volunteers and sees over 30,000 customers annually. The Centre also offers educational programs, workshops and grants for community organizations who want to host reuse fairs. The program in is in its 10th year.
“Edmonton is the only Alberta municipality to currently offer residents a permanent, year-round facility dedicated to supporting reuse of everyday small household items,” notes Aurea Siemens, waste reduction programs supervisor with City of Edmonton’s Waste Services. “The Reuse Centre is an excellent example of how community spirit, dedication and enthusiasm can transform a simple idea into a successful facility that benefits the Edmonton region and the environment.”
She continues, “The City of Edmonton has an ambitious goal to keep 90 per cent of household waste out of landfills. The Reuse Centre is responsible for diverting over 250 different kinds of reusable items, many of which cannot be recycled or accepted elsewhere. In 2016, the Centre received 308 tonnes of donations, 97 percent of which were diverted for reuse and recycling. Accepting these donations resulted in saving 5,769 km in travel from garbage trucks, and in diverting 295 tonnes of waste from landfills. Considering the light weight of many of the donated items (pens, CDs, ribbon, tissue paper and holiday decorations), it’s incredible to think how much material is needed to get one tonne’s worth, let alone the 308 tonnes the Centre received last year.”
We Can All Play a Part
From large multi-national corporations to grassroots movements, we all play a part in environmental sustainability. Alberta is one of the best places in the world to live, and when we work together to preserve its natural resources, it will remain a clean and sustainable home far into the foreseeable future.