Doug Clovechok, MLA for Columbia River – Revelstoke, held his annual New Year’s luncheon on Wednesday, January 8, 2020, where he made a special announcement about his constituency office in Kimberley.
Clovechok explained how his team is leading the charge in local climate change efforts by announcing that his Kimberley office is officially net zero.
There to celebrate the announcement were Kimberley residents along with Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison and Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka.
The building at 350 Wallinger Ave, owned by Kimberley local Dan Carmichael, was built in 1928. Carmichael purchased the building a few years ago with the intention of completing renovations. Clovechok and Carmichael sought to make the building as energy efficient as possible, and are now proud to say there are zero emissions.
“When we won the election in 2017 we knew that we wanted a Kimberley office. It’s such a cool place and people really get things done here,” said Clovechok. “We looked for a building, and found that this particular one was available. Dan had a big vision for this space; an office space focused on being environmentally sound and practical. At the end of the day, after two and a half years, we’re very proud to say that this is the only constituency office in B.C., and probably in Canada, to be net zero.”
Carmichael also spoke to the room, explaining that the renovations have been a labour of love and he’s proud to be a landlord with these goals in mind.
“This building was built in 1928 and had many different purposes. It housed Wockley’s Meat, it was a barber shop, a tattoo parlour. When I started looking, I fell in love with the building. But I knew it needed a lot of work.
“When Doug and Rachel approached me, I didn’t think that he wanted the whole building, maybe just an office space, but it turned out to be the perfect fit. During the renovations, we recycled all of the materials. I also wanted to employ locals and I was very fortunate to work with so many amazing people in this community.”
He went on to say that he gutted the entire building, with the exception of keeping the outside walls, which are original. Everything from the insulation to the infrared heating panels and the solar power panels on the roof ensure that the building is completely energy efficient.
Carmichael explained that the infrared panels are made in Quebec, which is where he group up and where his mother is from.
“It’s because of Mom that this place is here. It’s very near and dear to my heart,” Carmichael said through tears.
He also owns a wood shop in the back of the building, and heats the shop via wood stove. He’s even gone as far as to install an electric vehicle charging station, and is on the waitlist for an electric vehicle.
The solar panels were installed by Kimberley company OTG Power Solutions.
Owner/Operator Ebon Smylie was at the luncheon as well and explained how the solar panels have helped the building reach net zero.
“There are 32, 370 watt panels on this building,” Smylie said. “The solar power generated will eliminate most of Dan’s bill, and any extra power can be sold back to BC Hydro. They’re super easy to install, and very user friendly. I’m stoked to have been a part of this project and that my company got to be the one to help with the first net zero building in B.C..”
Charmichael went on to say that the interface for the solar panels, though technical, tell the user how much power is being generated, as well as if there are any issues that need to be addressed.
“It takes one person to do something and other people start to catch on. Kimberley is a great town filled with great people and I’m lucky to be here,” Carmichael said.
Clovechok ended the discussion by saying it’s the responsibility of every individual to reduce their carbon footprint. He thanked everyone involved for their efforts, including Constituancy Assistant Rachel Loganberg who was an essential part of the entire process.
“This is really important to us and I think it’s worth noting,” said Clovechok. “And to other politicians: take up the sword. There is no denying climate change, but you can make a difference locally. We’re very proud of this and I can’t think of a better city to do this in. This is a young town, an entrepreneurial town, a get up and go town, and we’re very proud to be a part of it.”