Recently, the British Columbia Construction Roundtable hosted the ‘Electrify BC Roundtable’ in Vancouver. The event focused on the role of electrification in decarbonizing the built environment, as well as the electrification of buildings and energy infrastructure. Attendees were treated to informative presentations from Creative EnergyBC Hydro and the City of Vancouver. HH Angus co-sponsored the event with Creative Energy. What follows are a few key takeaways from the Roundtable, courtesy of our low carbon energy specialists who attended the event.

The Zero carbon step code takes effect in BC on May 1, 2023. Four new GHG emission levels are being introduced, similar to the BC Energy Step Code. The intent is to reduce the consumption of natural gas used by buildings by moving towards electrification.

Electrification of buildings and energy infrastructure is gaining momentum fast. BC Hydro is making significant investments in distribution infrastructure and working with the province and municipalities on policies to incentivize moving away from fossil fuel energy sources to low or zero-carbon sources.

Good progress is being made in the decarbonization of new construction, and policies are coming from the City of Vancouver to address decarbonization of existing buildings.

The roundtable was a great opportunity to get a big-picture sense of the industry and how various stakeholders are looking at decarbonization.  It’s obvious that a lot is happening in both the public and private sectors.  One of the concerns facing developers is the cost and availability of power.

The Roundtable’s main focus was on electrification of buildings, and the challenges in scaling up distribution:

  • Capacity is there at the system level but distribution at the local level, particularly in high growth areas, requires more focus and development
  • Funding schemes are being reconsidered to help reduce the burden on developments while still protecting ratepayers
  • Current generating capacity can accommodate growth until 2030
  • Some numbers with the BCH electrification plan – 3100 GWh added, 930000 tons of CO2 reduced, 1.6% rate reductions
  • BC Hydro is introducing a voluntary time of day tariff to incentivize reduction in peak loads
  • A lot of natural gas is still in use – approximately half of residential buildings and two-thirds of family homes are heated with natural gas

Creative Energy provided insights on their various projects, including reporting a reduction in carbon by ~40,000 tons of CO2 per year once electrification project is complete. Other Creative Energy projects include waste heat recovery, ocean heat exchange, geo-exchange and, for downtown, they are looking at high-lift heat pumps and steam-to-hot water heat exchangers

The City of Vancouver has the most aggressive targets and is implementing not just the ZEPB (Zero Emissions Plan for Buildings). One of its priorities is to focus on reducing the building loads (i.e. conservation) and finding cleaner energy sources, not just electricity but other district energy solutions (sewage heat recovery, Burnaby incinerator heat recovery for River District). The monitoring of emissions and energy consumption of existing buildings will become mandatory in the city via the Energy Star Portfolio Manager tool for tracking. It will target existing multi-family residential buildings after 2024, and existing commercial buildings larger than 1000 ft2 after 2026. 

For more information on HH Angus’ low carbon and net zero carbon solutions, please contact

Ian McRobie


Halley O’Byrne


Two of our energy specialists took part in last week’s IDEA (International District Energy Association) Campus Energy 2023 conference in Texas – Mike Hassaballa and Halley O’Byrne. The conference provided a forum for innovative approaches to solving energy and decarbonization needs at the district scale. Here are a few of their conference takeaways on campus district energy (DE) systems.

Heat pump technology

Several manufacturers are warming up to the idea of bringing  higher temperature heat pumps, traditionally used in industrial applications, to the commercial/institutional sector at reasonable costs.


Biomass from sustainable forestry operations could offer a good, cost-effective alternative to sectors currently using dirty fuel sources, such as oil heating. This can be effective in areas where natural gas and electricity are not available at low cost, such as in eastern Canada, and could potentially provide a useful forest management tool. Additionally, a properly-designed biomass energy-generation system, in conjunction with carbon sequestration and a well-managed fuel harvesting program, can result in a carbon-negative solution, with potential to recover costs via offsets.

U.S. Inflation Reduction Act

This act in the US offers a huge incentive for low carbon solutions. What was striking to us is the proposed hydrogen tax credit of 0.6 $/kg. For those looking at hydrogen economics, this is significant.

Low Carbon Financials

Many case studies and presentations at the conference stressed the fact that effective low carbon energy master planning requires extensive work on the business case - from cost to life cycle cost analysis and financial risk analysis. This process extends beyond the financial to include social aspects such as broadening awareness and stakeholder mobilization, and that professional facilitation is required to make the social aspect work.

Next Gen District Energy Technology

Some institutions are starting to look into next generation  solutions for transitioning to more sustainable heating and cooling infrastructure,  such as small modular reactors (SMRs) and micro-nuclear power plants (think shipping container size and capacity as low as 1MW), as well as Deep Geothermal. However, there is alack of awareness that needs to be addressed and work to be done on building up basic knowledge of what these technologies are, their costs, and relevance to North American markets. Though these solutions are technically feasible, safe, and potentially economical, establishing appropriate regulatory frameworks and garnering sufficient public awareness do pose a challenge to their implementation.

Existing Infrastructure

There were also affirmations of more developed pathways to electrification, such as efficiency improvements for existing plants and optimization strategies to incrementally decarbonize. These approaches all take into account local needs, regulatory conditions, resource availability, incentive programs and other constraints and tools that help define the appropriate combination of solutions for particular sites.

Across the technologies and project examples, there were some common themes. Establishing current baseline performance to set appropriate targets and benchmarks, proper master planning and feasibility analysis, stakeholder engagement (including garnering public acceptance), alignment of values and interests, and diligence in creating any project are all needed to achieve successful outcomes, regardless of the technology involved.

For more information on HH Angus’ low carbon/net zero carbon solutions, please contact


Mike Hassaballa, P.Eng.


Halley O’Byrne, P.Eng.

Screen capture of the French website

Aujourd'hui, nous lançons notre site Web en français pour fournir des informations concises et pertinentes pour soutenir notre présence croissante au Québec au cours des 11 dernières années. Nous vous invitons à visiter le site en utilisant le lien ci-dessous.

Today we're launching our French website to provide concise and relevant information to support our growing presence in Quebec over the last 11 years. We invite you to visit the site using the link below.

Internet of things low poly smart city 3D wire mesh.

The world continues to embrace the Internet of Things (IoT), and emerging technologies are taking on a growing importance within built environments.

A confluence of innovation in big data processing, ultra-low power wireless networks, embedded sensor technology, and energy management has accelerated the emergence of smart buildings. As these become widespread, we have witnessed a reciprocal, or better yet, exponential growth in the planning activities to successfully introduce the sophisticated automation and enhanced user experiences they promise. In particular, hospitals, commercial offices, entertainment, retail, airports and education facilities all have clients who will be directly impacted by these advances in technology. This paper highlights the opportunities to provide a proactive change management plan for a redevelopment or capital project.

A redevelopment project provides an opportunity to introduce a large range of new technologies; however, the ‘big bang’ approach that is associated with the opening of a new facility can hinder the adoption. The role of technology should be understood from a functional perspective long before the walls and bricks are in place, so that proper infrastructure exists to support the smart building.

Any successful Digital Strategy and Transformation Project must consider aligning a change management approach to engage users to be prepared for opening day. The vast amounts of change can overwhelm staff when they move into a new building with new technologies, from new floor layouts and different staffing models, to the introduction of more mobile technology, more paperless systems, and automation of tasks that staff previously performed manually. It is imperative to address the capacity for change well in advance of the Opening Day.

The principles of Change Management and what is unique about a redevelopment project

Change really occurs when it is done at scale – throughout the organization - across all levels and stakeholder groups. There are several industry-recognized principles listed below for adopting change in large organizations. However, given the degree of complexity, number of stakeholders and length of project, there are unique factors that need to be considered with redevelopment.

The Principles

Change is Rolled Out

Redevelopment Project Considerations

Redevelopment projects have many external stakeholders as well as internal stakeholders; employees and project delivery teams have creative authority that can turn into resistance

Change Starts at the Top

The redevelopment project cycle covers many years and the leaders may change; executives are often insulated from the reality of day-to-day operations by layers of the organization

Change is Engineered

A change management program can be planned, coordinated and monitored; however, it is not like a construction project in that it involves breaking new ground and cannot be predetermined fully in advance

With So Many Stakeholders, What Matters Most?

With the variety of stakeholders involved in a capital project, such as end-users, executive team, information technology department, facilities/operations teams, government oversight and taxpayers, there are differing and opposing drivers for each of these groups, which include expected benefits, cost containment and scope definition. There is a need for a framework to define a course of action and for leadership to remain committed to it. Finding the common goals between all the stakeholders will be critical to the long-term success.

In a redevelopment project, the ideas and inspiration for change often come from parties outside the end-user stakeholder groups, such as the design team, the information technology department, facilities engineers, or other support services. Ideally, these ideas are then sponsored by the executive leadership with input from users; however, this is not always the case. It often happens that use cases for the functionality of technology are brainstormed by someone “higher up” or by the IT department, and then rushed straight into design. There is no wrong party to support idea generation; however, the important component is to ensure that end-users have been engaged and have faith that the new technologies will create a better environment. One method of engaging these users is to visualize the changes, and to write and approve the use cases for their workflows. This approach uses Lean thinking and iterative cycles to build consensus. It is critical that time be set aside to ensure that these use cases are considered by end users and validated.

It is important to note that not all parties will see the changes as necessary, especially if they don’t belong to the organization or share the same vision. To address this, create a cross-functional project team, map out the impacted stakeholders and address their unique needs. You will likely appreciate that some people are not able to easily adapt to new technologies. Doing so requires both willingness and capability; mindsets get in the way of actually making use of the technology. Therefore, it helps to have champions and support available. There will also be employees in the organization who are very keen to embrace change that results in a more automated and sophisticated building. Support these individuals in advance of the redevelopment projects by leading change on a smaller scale; for example, by introducing new mobile technologies or smart boards in meeting rooms.

Engineer standing in front of a presentation screen and pointing to it while explaining details to the audience.

Change Starts at Every Level


Long before shovels are in the ground, the organization’s leaders are visioning what the new facility will look like and how it will operate. However, project cycles of up to 10 years can be a significant deterrent for senior leaders seeing their vision through to completion. On one hand, they may perceive what seems to be ample time to prepare for the coming changes; on the other hand, they may also feel that getting ready for a change so far in the future is futile. Therefore, it is important that employees continue to see an impact and be involved in keeping up the momentum.

Communication and setting the stage for the ultimate change may be the most critical factor in successful deployments. This requires an engineered approach to obtaining buy-in. To ensure the cultural ‘soil’ is ready before planting the seeds of change, develop a bi-directional communications plan that allows questions to be addressed. The objective is to prepare employees to understand the benefits of the change, as well as the necessity of the change, and for them to be emotionally ready to execute the change. This requires a two-way dialogue to give staff sufficient time to provide feedback. Employees who fully support the change can be invited to co-develop a plan to describe the benefits and address concerns with sufficient support and training.



As a final consideration, recognize that silos in your organization may create barriers to disseminating your plans. I have often seen change initiatives fall apart when different groups that are equally impacted refuse to take ownership for action. They wait for the other department to come up with a plan and take the lead, while their own group sits back and provides “constructive criticism”. This reveals a culture that is resistant to change. It is important as a leader to break down these barriers. Bring employee groups together to understand the shared objectives and then identify what barriers may get in the way. It may be that both departments are experiencing the strain of increased workload from a large volume of change. However, facilitating change doesn’t need to be difficult or onerous. Following Lean principles, create small batches of work, and plan to stretch these batches out over time.

6 Steps to Successful Technology Change Management

As a strong leader, you can set the stage for successful technology change by adopting these six Change Management steps:

  1. Identify the common goals between all stakeholder parties
  2. Engage end users in depicting the use cases for technology
  3. Communicate the benefits of these use cases
  4. Recognize change champions and providing them with support and training
  5. Test technologies in advance by using pilot studies
  6. Bring together stakeholders to voice their concerns

A change management program needs to be adapted to its unique situational factors. Multiple stakeholders - from financiers, end users, IT, facilities, architects and engineers - can make implementation of your plan more challenging, but by following the steps above, you can ease the process.

If you have questions or would like to learn more about change management, we are happy to start a conversation to see how we could help.

Megan Angus

Megan Angus, RN, Lean, EDAC
Division Director, Angus Connect

Shot of a group of programmers working together on a computer code at night

5G and Pilot Projects to Optimize New Infrastructures

By Akira Jones, BIM Leader, HH Angus & Associates Limited

By now, most of us in the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) sector have read about, lamented and experienced our industry’s general conservativeness and inability to affect change quickly, particularly with respect to developing and emerging technology. However, we are starting to see now that this is changing. Large-scale 3D printing, generative design, virtual/augmented/mixed reality, artificial intelligence, design process automation through software and a push towards a common data environment for design and construction information represent some of the many ways AEC is embracing the digital era.

The nature of design consulting is also changing. Multi-disciplinary design firms are transforming into software developers, moving their way into the SaaS market. General contractors employ teams of software developers. Companies from non-engineering sectors are rapidly entering into the AEC market. Professional services companies and technology start-ups are developing platforms for optimizing building infrastructure through Edge Devices and creating operational/digital twins. Much like the rest of the world, AEC is converging towards digital processes and the borders between different sectors are becoming less defined.

Edge Devices and Digital Twins will have a massive impact on how we design, build and operate building infrastructure, particularly as we continue our push towards a more sustainable built environment through low or zero carbon, net zero and more. We are already seeing a big uptake of smart buildings technologies and the global smart building market is expected to reach almost 62 billons USD by 2024.

Understanding Internet of Things, or IoT technology, in particular, and the current and future benefits to the built environment and how people interact with it will be instrumental in HH Angus’ ability to design spaces that perform better, create better and longer lasting value, and reduce the impact on the environment. It’s certainly easier to design and build new buildings with smart technology but what really interests us is the opportunity in the massive stock of existing infrastructure that can significantly benefit from these technologies. In fact, they provide an opportunity to evolve the ways in which we deliver our work and our relationships with the end-users, from the building owners and operators to occupants.

As designers, we often lose touch with the infrastructure we design, perhaps coming back years later to find something unrecognizable from its original state. At the opposite end, engineers also come into buildings later in their lifecycles, often without proper as-built documentation and have to scrape together any available information about how or why the building operates the way it does. Not an ideal situation, which can typically add time and expense to most projects.

Gathering operational, environmental and presence data can provide a bridge between the building, its occupants, and the engineers to create the potential for gaining useful insight into a building’s real-world operations and occupant behavior.

To this end, HH Angus had the desire to gain a deeper understanding of the relationship between smart buildings technologies and improving building performance. We launched our Smart Spaces initiative in 2019. Through this, we are exploring these new technologies through our own initiatives as well as research partnerships with academic institutions and tech start-ups and established providers. With Smart Spaces, we are exploring the use of IoT edge devices to gather environmental and occupancy data in commercial and institutional buildings.

As our pilot project had begun pre-COVID, we, like many firms, had to quickly adjust our plans. With everyone working from home, our office was empty, and we were trying to figure out what data we could collect since there was no one in the building. Like any challenge, this presented an opportunity. Where our previous approach had been to install a set of sensors that gathered a wide array of data with plans to see what insights we could glean, we were presented with a situation that provided us an immediately relevant use case. We thought about ways that the sensors could be used to aid our eventual re-entry into our own office. We shifted the balance of sensors to include more presence sensors to aid in people flow throughout our office. The sensors were placed in common and high traffic areas, giving employees aid in maintaining the ability to socially distance while in the office while also giving insight into usage patterns of these common spaces. The collected data is integrated and aggregated into an intuitive dashboard and transferred to the cloud/other edge devices via the 4G network such that we can view the basic analytics.

This pivot has helped us gain insight into the challenges faced by many of our commercial and institutional clients.

With the first stage of our pilot implemented, we look to expand our research to the 5G network. We were fortunate enough to be awarded access to the 5G ENCQOR test-bed located in the MaRS Discovery District (in downtown Toronto) which gives us the opportunity to explore use cases that can benefit from the low latency performance of 5G technology. We are currently engaged with our clients to determine real-world use cases for existing buildings to research on the testbed, paving the way for purpose-built data platforms.

As with any new (or new to us), technology there are no giant leaps in innovation, only deliberate and incremental steps forward. Where the challenge lies is not in using these technologies, but in determining how these new technologies can help our clients and our employees adapt and succeed in an ever-changing world. As consulting engineers, we can (and should) take a little step out of the traditional AEC approach and adopt some of the best practices (and mindset) of tech start-ups – mainly being inherently curious; focus on possibilities as opposed to the way its always been done; and be willing to quickly prototype, learn, and modify to get a minimum viable product into the real world.

HH Angus is an employee-owned, independent consulting firm of engineers, technical specialists and project managers with offices in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. Our core services include mechanical and electrical engineering, lighting design, vertical transportation, energy, sustainable design, information communications audiovisual technology (ICAT) and security design and digital strategy consulting. Together, we create innovative solutions for our clients’ most complex challenges to expand what is possible for a better future.

Reprinted from CanBIM Innovation Spotlight Publication 2021

Akira Jones, P.Eng., LEED AP, Principal
BIM Leader

Akira Jones, P.Eng., LEED AP, Principal
BIM Leader