Current Green Initiatives
With the help of the provincial government and industry partners, Providence has taken the lead in creating a Green Campus through:
Biomass District Heat-System
Two years of behind-the-scenes work on a biomass heating project at Providence paid off in Spring 2011 with the inauguration of a distributed biomass-heating system for Providence. This biomass project started out as a student project in a business class. The system was designed and installed by Blue Flame, a Manitoba firm. Biomass heating currently heats the Hanna Centre, Bergen Hall and Eichorst Hall.
Biomass heating reduced our greenhouse gas heating emissions by more than two-thirds.
This project was supported by local businesses, including:
- B.B. Wiebe & Sons Building Movers
- DeFehr Furniture
- Valley Agro Services
- Norstar Industries
- Meridian Manufacturing Group
It received funding from:
- The provincial government’s Community-Led Emissions Reduction (CLER) program, funded through the RM of De Salaberry
- Manitoba Hydro’s Natural Gas Optimization Program
Geothermal Heating & Cooling System
Geothermal heating and cooling was installed in the Student Life Centre and reduced the campus carbon footprint by 20%.
Under the banner Dead Weight Electronics, each year business students volunteer their time to ensure that eWaste is properly and safely recycled. They invite students, staff, faculty and the community to participate by bringing old and unused electronics to Providence to be recycled. The students then bring all the eWaste to a facility that can properly recycle and reuse these products.
Involvement in 50by30 and the Biomass Economy Network
50by30 is a community of environmentalists striving to increase Manitoba’s renewable energy use to 50% by 2030.
Future Green Initiatives
As of June 2013, the Biomass Brokerage is live online. For the biomass industry to grow in Manitoba, buyers and sellers (and everyone else interested in biomass) need a fast, simple, and convenient way to connect. Biomass Brokerage is that connection, it will:
- Speed up the adoption of biomass as a viable energy source because producers would have a simple, reliable way to reach customers, and potential consumers would know they had a reliable supply.
- Significantly improve the chances of the industry moving from its current development stage into commercialization.
- Drive economic development, particularly in rural Manitoba.
- Help Manitoba fulfill its intention to be a leader in biomass energy.
Although the Biomass Brokerage is initially focused on Manitoba, once it’s up and running, the intention is to expand the reach as quickly as is feasible. The best way to use biomass is to ship it as little distance as possible, but that’s no reason that a brokerage can’t have a very broad reach.
La Connexion Rural (Rural Transit)
The Providence Buller Centre and Providence business students have looked into the feasibility of a shuttle-bus system that would serve the communities along the Highway 59 South corridor – Providence, Otterburne, St. Malo, St-Pierre-Jolys, and Île-des-Chênes. Students met and gathered information from seniors' support groups and economic development people in the municipality of De Salaberry. La Connexion Rural would combine transportation to seniors with a shuttle system for Providence. This transit system would be open to the public and wheelchair accessible.
Green Initiatives still in the 'idea' stage
- finding an alternative to the municipal landfill for the organic waste from Providence’s commercial kitchen
- finding markets for biochar
- seeing if biomass ash can be sold
- seeing if we can find a way to energy-retrofit a cluster of churches
Many of these initiatives were sparked by the Providence Buller Centre and Providence Business students.
Part of the role of the Providence Buller Centre is to help develop the green business sector. They do it for three reasons:
- Growth of the green economic sector—especially alternative energy production—has the potential to provide significant economic benefits to rural Manitoba.
- Living out the obligation to care for the world God created.
- Because it’s fun.