Imagining a Net-Zero Island

There is no longer any doubt that we are in a climate emergency, and the single most important thing we can do as a community is to reduce or eliminate our reliance on fossil fuels for our basic needs.  Thankfully, what once may have sounded impossible is now starting to look inevitable – a complete transition from hydrocarbons to electrons.  The sooner take the leap, the better.

At the Galiano Conservancy, we’ve already made the switch.  The Millard Learning Centre has 21.6 kW of solar capacity and is carbon neutral – meaning that over the course of a year, all of the energy we use (with the exception of our work truck) is derived from renewable sources that do not emit greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane.


Renewable energy at the Millard Learning Centre

Join The Revolution

Use Less Energy

Minimizing energy use, installing heat pumps, and investing in energy efficiency is the first and most important step.

Electrify Everything

Vehicles, power tools, heat sources – it’s now possible and essential to electrify everything.

Go Solar

Once everything runs on electricity, the final step is to generate that electricity yourself – with the sun!  Wind and micro-hydro may also be options.

Renewable Energy

At the Millard Learning Centre

Solar Powered

The Gulf Islands are poised to be a solar powerhouse, and the price and efficiency of the technology keeps improving – there has never been a better time to invest in solar energy for your home.

In 2019, as part of a bulk buy organized by the Salish Sea Renewable Energy Coop and with financial help from the CRD and a generous donor, we installed a 48 module, 15.8 kW ground-mounted, grid-tied solar array that provides for the electrical needs of the Program Centre, including a drilled well and two electric car charging stations. Oriented to maximize summertime production, our grid-tie system overproduces during the longer days of the year, feeding the surplus electricity into the grid and making our meter spin backwards. During shorter, winter days, we draw from the grid to make up any deficit in solar production.

We have several other solar arrays on the property, bringing the total to over 21.6 kW.

Energy Efficient

Besides producing our own solar energy, the key to becoming net zero is energy efficiency. The new Program Centre has 8-inch walls, an extremely well-insulated foundation built to new efficiency standards that minimize the use of concrete (the technical term is ICF – insulated concrete forms), and R65 ceiling insulation. Both the Program Centre and the Classroom facility are equipped with on-demand electric hot water heaters and modern air-to-air heat pumps – no inefficient baseboard heaters anywhere

Renewable Energy in Action

Our Education Team creates opportunities for K-12 students to learn about renewable energy technology, their own sustainable energy consumption habits and how energy relates to ecosystem health and climate change. The STEM-focused ‘Renewable Energy in Action’ program will get participants’ brains ticking as they experiment to generate their own micro-solar, water & wind power!

Electric vehicles are off to the races at the Millard Learning Centre

EV Chargers and Bike Station

Located conveniently halfway between the south and north ends of Galiano Island, the Millard Learning Centre offers free or by-donation electric vehicle charging and a bike tool station for adjustments.

Current infrastructure includes:

  • Two level-2 EV chargers
  • Bike stand with pump, tools, and a water fountain