Nova Scotia

Canadian Forces to invest at least $100M in green infrastructure

The Canadian military is taking steps to improve its energy efficiency and limit greenhouse gas emissions, by hiring contractors to replace infrastructure, and paying them based on the savings they generate.

Program will have zero impact on taxpayer costs, officials say

Program will have zero impact on taxpayers, officials say 2:35

CFB Greenwood in Nova Scotia is getting greener.

The military base is among seven slated to receive tens of millions of dollars worth of energy efficiency upgrades over the next decade.

And the program won't cost taxpayers a cent.

Companies will compete to provide the infrastructure improvements. The selected company (or companies) will finance the upgrades themselves, and will be paid using money saved on heating and electricity bills.

"These projects improve DND infrastructure at no cost to the taxpayer," the Department of National Defence said in a statement to CBC News. 

The DND has issued separate tenders for work at CFB Greenwood and six other Canadian Forces bases and wings across the country:

  • Trenton (Ontario).
  • Alert (Nunavut).
  • Cold Lake (Alberta). 
  • Esquimalt (British Columbia).
  • Shilo (Manitoba).
  • Petawawa (Ontario).

Each contract is valued between $13 million and $15 million. In total, the DND expects the investments to total $100 million to $175 million.

17% drop in emissions 

In 2010, the federal government committed to reduce national greenhouse gas emissions to 17 per cent below levels measured in 2005. As part of that promise, the DND has so far reduced its emissions to 8.7 per cent below 2005 levels. 

Helicopter pilots walk across the tarmac at Nova Scotia's CFB Greenwood, one of seven military bases slated to receive part of $100 million worth of energy efficiency upgrades over the next decade. (Brett Ruskin/CBC)

CFB Greenwood is among the top performers, with current emissions levels at 21 per cent below 2005 levels.

"I was pretty excited about it," Col. Patrick Thauberger said about when he heard of the infrastructure program.

"This is a great way to make the work environment a little better for people. And with no up front cost to us," he said.

Thauberger said these investments will also reduce maintenance costs.

"It's far fewer times that we will have people going up on scaffolding or ladders to change light bulbs," he said.

An aircraft hangar at CFB Greenwood that has received lighting upgrades. (Brett Ruskin/CBC)

Defence review looms

This cost-conscious program coincides with the ongoing nationwide defence spending review.

The government is assessing its military needs to decide how future funding should be allocated. That review is expected to conclude this year, with the results unveiled in 2017.

The energy efficiency contracts are now open for bids on the government's website.

Later this year, DND officials will select contractors, determine the exact scope of each project and approve the efficiency upgrades.
Col. Patrick Thauberger is Wing Commander of 14 Wing Greenwood, where greenhouse gas emissions have been reduced below national targets. (Brett Ruskin/CBC)

About the Author

Brett Ruskin

Reporter/Videojournalist

Brett Ruskin is a reporter and videojournalist covering everything from local breaking news to national issues. He's based in Halifax.

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