About BC Ferries

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Sustainable Operations

Green Marine logoGreen Marine Program

Green Marine is a globally recognized, industry sustainability initiative for ship operators, ports, terminals, the seaway and shipyards. It is a voluntary program that aims to reduce the environmental footprint of marine operations by promoting a culture of continuous improvement and exceeding regulatory compliance. BC Ferries is proud to be a member since 2014 and was certified by an external verifier in May 2015.

Reducing Air Emissions

Since 2007, BC Ferries’ vessels have been burning diesel fuel with ultra-low sulfur content (less than 15ppm). Additionally, when supply is available, our vessels burn B-5, injection-blended 5% biofuel. The Baynes Sound Connector, the new cable-ferry from Buckley Bay to Denman Island, requires less horsepower than a conventional ferry, thus producing fewer air emissions. Low friction coatings are applied on the vessels’ hulls, reducing hull drag and resulting in a reduction of fuel consumption by up to 3%. Where and when available, our vessels use ship to shore electrical power while docked in the evenings or during refits to reduce fuel use and associated air emissions. Since 2004, BC Ferries has reduced fuel consumption in eight older vessels with the use of electronic speed pilots and has been promoting anti-idling of vehicles at the terminals and on board the vessels.

Reducing the Impact of our Fleet

Artist's rendering of new Intermediate Class FerryBC Ferries currently has three new Salish Class Ferries (SCF) under construction. The new vessels will service the Southern Gulf Islands, Comox and Powell River routes. These vessels will run as dual fuel, capable of using natural gas or diesel fuel. Natural gas is a greener and cleaner fuel source with very favourable environmental gains compared to diesel fuel. Natural gas adoption is anticipated to cut carbon emissions by 15-25%, SOx (Sulphur Oxides) by over 85% and NOx (Nitrogen Oxides) by 50%, which translates to cleaner exhaust emissions compared to diesel fuel. The Spirit Class vessels, which operate between Vancouver and Victoria, will also be undergoing a mid-life upgrade to convert them to run on both natural gas and diesel fuel.

Water Conservation On Board Vessels and at Terminals

BC Ferries is making efforts to reduce water consumption through the use of low flow toilets, waterless urinals and the replacement of flush valves (cutting water consumption from 13L per flush to 6L) where appropriate. A pilot program using a rain water collection barrel for flower box irrigation is currently underway at Little River Terminal in Comox.

Energy Management Program

BC Ferries has been a Power Smart Partner with BC Hydro since 2008 and for the past eight years, has worked with a dedicated Energy Manager. Since becoming a Power Smart Partner, energy management projects completed resulted in approximately 1.83 gigawatt hours (GWh) of annual energy savings, equivalent to the energy consumption of 166 average homes. In 2014, BC Ferries received a Power Smart Excellence Award from BC Hydro for being a Power Smart Leader and implementing energy improvements throughout the organization. Energy saving projects includes lighting retrofits, IT server virtualization, heating and ventilation improvements, and ongoing energy studies.

Waste Management

Currently, we recycle beverage containers, plastics, cardboard, newsprint, wood, metals, tin cans, used cooking oil, spent fluorescent tubes, batteries and aerosol cans, not just on board vessels, but at terminals and other building facilities as well. We also send the foam from worn seat cushions to a business that repurposes it as carpet underlay. We have an asset disposal program that offers unwanted items for auction, rather than disposing them to the landfill.

The composting program has been expanded in areas where facilities exist; currently this is Nanaimo Regional District, Capital Regional District and Metro Vancouver. Items we compost include: organics, coffee sleeves, napkins, Captain kids bag, carry out tray, cold cereal boxes, fry boats and cups, hamburger wrappers, milk containers, paper plates, pirate boats, pizza trays, stir sticks, take away bags and boxes, teabags without staple, and toothpicks.

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