Clean Energy For Red Deer’s Fleet

In the last 15 years, Red Deer’s population has grown by 46%. With that growth, there are more transit, waste management, bylaw enforcement, snow plowing, and miscellaneous city vehicles on Red Deer’s streets now than ever. While a growing population can have a positive impact on a city’s economy, it can also take a toll on its carbon emissions. In April 2014, the City of Red Deer conducted a study to find out how they could reduce the negative environmental impact of the city’s fleet of vehicles. In the study, they recognized the need for their fleet to be powered by an alternative energy source. Jenmar Concepts was an ideal partner to introduce a cleaner alternative energy to fuel the City’s fleet.

The Problem

Transit buses are some of the hardest working vehicles in Red Deer. They’re running more often and covering more ground than any other vehicle in the city. In Red Deer’s “Greening the Fleet Study”, transit vehicles were one of the top priorities in need of reform.

The plan was to convert all City buses to run on compressed natural gas. The problem—Red Deer didn’t have a CNG fueling station or the expertise to design one. On top of building a fueling station, the City of Red Deer needed to upgrade their maintenance facility to comply with CNG regulations.

Red Deer sent out a request for a Gap Analysis looking for an engineering firm to help them understand the financial commitment required to take the City from no CNG infrastructure to a full build-out.

The Plan

Jenmar won the bid for the Gap Analysis and began assessing Red Deer’s maintenance facilities and determining the upgrades needed to introduce CNG vehicles.

After delivering the assessment in 2016, Red Deer issued two further requests for proposals. The City needed an engineering firm to help them design a CNG fueling station and upgrade of their existing vehicle storage and maintenance facility. Given our extensive industry experience, Jenmar was the natural choice for both contracts.

Once the City of Red Deer awarded the bids, we wanted to proceed with the upgrades as quickly as possible. In order to do this, Jenmar assembled two project teams to work on the projects simultaneously.

The Process

Jenmar was able to use the Gap Analysis as a foundation for most of the work. Geoff Bowering, Jenmar’s VP of Business Development, explained that, “By applying the findings of the Gap Analysis, Jenmar developed detailed designs for both projects, then worked with the City to acquire necessary permits.” This strategy resulted in minimal downtime between the approval of designs and the acquisition of necessary permits. Jenmar’s extensive project experience ensured a smooth permitting process without incurring any design rework or schedule delays.

After the designs were approved and the permits acquired, the next step was to procure and engage construction contractors to build the fueling station and complete the facility upgrades. Having worked with a wide variety of contractors, Jenmar was uniquely qualified to help find the most suitable construction companies to complete the work.

After the respective construction companies were chosen, Jenmar provided ongoing project management, serving as the owner’s engineer and representative for both projects.

The Challenges

Regardless of the planning and preparation that goes into a project, there will always be unexpected complications and delays. One of the challenges was equipment procurement. Some of the equipment arrived at the job site in a deficient state and needed to be replaced or repaired before it was installed. CNG is a very safe fuel when handled properly. If any of the equipment is deficient, it could present a safety hazard to city workers down the road. Jenmar routinely inspected and verified all equipment delivered to the site and maintained close contact with equipment suppliers, ensuring that all deficient materials were replaced without delaying the project.

The biggest challenge was the weather conditions. During the colder winter months, the construction contractor was required to complete some vital concrete work. Significant heating and hoarding were required to avoid delays. To keep the project moving, Bowering explained that, “Jenmar ensured that responses to construction RFI’s were provided within 24 hours or less (in most cases only a few hours).” Jenmar made sure construction was never held up, even for a few hours, by engineering field reviews and requests for design changes.

On every job site, there are challenges. We made it a priority to address these challenges in a timely manner. Adam Gordon, a Project Coordinator/Designer with the City of Red Deer, said that one of the most attractive parts of working with Jenmar was, “The speed and care that Jenmar took in resolving any issues that showed up on site.”

The Result

The City of Red Deer’s goal was to create a value-driven CNG fueling site and an enhanced maintenance facility. Jenmar had the privilege of partnering with the City from assessment to design to build to completion. We used the partnership with the City as an opportunity to educate its representatives on how to maintain and preserve the CNG site. “Our experience with Jenmar has enhanced our business by allowing us to be more CNG savvy ourselves,” said Gordon, “We will be able to carry the CNG expertise we have gathered into the future.”

Not only did Jenmar help the City of Red Deer introduce a cleaner fuel source to its transit system, we also completed these projects in a favourable time frame and under budget. With resources left to spare, the City of Red Deer was able to proceed with some Phase 2 upgrades that had initially been planned for 5 years down the road. “We would not have been under budget if not for Jenmar,” said Gordon.

By responding quickly to challenges and exercising our expertise in the field, Jenmar helped make the City of Red Deer a little greener.