SEM Helps YVR Navigate the COVID-19 Pandemic

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Occupying more than 3,300 acres and servicing more than 26.4 million passengers in 2019, YVR is one of Canada’s largest and busiest airports. For more than two decades, YVR’s management has partnered with BC Hydro to employ SEM principles to reduce the airport’s energy use and carbon footprint even as the airport grew increasingly busy year after year. YVR achieved carbon neutrality in 2020 and committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2030. Led by a BC Hydro-funded Energy Manager, the YVR Energy Optimization team implements the airport’s SEM plan to target, deliver and monitor energy-saving opportunities including capital projects, operational improvements and behavior-change initiatives. 

Despite a finely tuned plan based on the latest SEM principles and techniques, everything changed when the COVID-19 pandemic struck. In 2020, YVR’s passenger total dropped to 7.3 million passengers—a 72% reduction that rendered obsolete all of the energy models and projections that had informed their detailed SEM plan. To understand the pandemic’s impact on their energy plan and their progress toward aggressive energy efficiency and sustainability goals, YVR’s Energy Manager turned to BC Hydro and consultant, Prism Engineering, to help YVR adapt their modeling and baseline to account for these seismic operational changes. 


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