This interview is part of the FCM–ICLEI series, PCP’s Local Climate Change Heroes, which features PCP program members.
As the Manager of Asset and Energy Management for the City of Saint John, Samir Yammine has developed, implemented and managed over 100 environmental and asset management initiatives for new and existing city infrastructure. As of 2016, these initiatives have resulted in annual energy savings of over $2.3 million and a reduction of 9,000 tonnes in annual greenhouse gas emissions. These initiatives have won the City of Saint John many national and regional awards such as a Premier’s Award for Energy Efficiency and the FCM Sustainable Communities Award in the Energy category.
Question: What are some of your achievements with the City of Saint John?
Answer: Our Municipal Energy Efficiency Program (MEEP) started in the late 1990s. We started implementing energy efficiency programs on our municipal buildings, street lights, wastewater treatment plants, and water pump stations. We have conducted over 100 sustainable, environmental and asset management initiatives. MEEP measures total energy consumption using real-time buildings energy systems, which allow us to monitor building performance and report any inefficiencies promptly. We also have an energy management tracking system to track energy savings, which we report to city council and stakeholders.
We have implemented many energy-saving initiatives, such as building retrofits, waste heat recovery projects, and improvements to our building envelopes. Now we are working with developers to produce renewable energy by recovering heat from sewage and industrial waste, and to install solar photovoltaics (PV).
Question: What inspires your work in the sustainability field?
Answer: I am an electrical engineer with a master’s degree in applied science. I enjoy learning through consultation and coordination with other people. I am helping Saint John become both economically and environmentally sustainable, and I am excited to see our accomplishments at the end of each project. We are creating jobs, saving money and improving the overall resiliency of our community by investing in infrastructure and improving energy efficiency. It is a win-win situation. I’ve been working on the Municipal Energy Efficiency Program for 15 years. Working with others and seeing the positive results keeps me moving forward.
Question: What does the future hold for climate change in Saint John?
Answer: As of today, we have completed our PCP corporate and community emission inventories and greenhouse gas action plans and are working on achieving our corporate and community GHG reduction targets of 30 per cent and 9 per cent below 2015 levels, respectively, by 2030.
We want to encourage the use of local energy sources such as biomass, to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels while also contributing to the local economy. For example, we want the new buildings constructed in the downtown area to be connected through geothermal heating and cooling by 2022. We are also looking to extract energy from industrial waste as another source of renewable energy. We are currently applying for funding, which together will help reduce community energy and GHG emissions by 12 per cent once completed.
We are also working with QUEST and ACAP Saint John (a community-based non-profit that is part of the Atlantic Coastal Action Program) to reduce the vulnerability of City’s infrastructure to the impact of flooding, heavy rains and other extreme weather.
Samir can tell you about his experience in:
- Climate mitigation in asset management
- Communicating effectively with stakeholders and securing funding
- Incorporating innovative technology in energy-efficiency programs
Manager of Asset and Energy Management
City of Saint John, NB
Photo credit: City of Saint John