The New Year is always a time for reflection and setting new goals. This year, for 2020, we are setting our sights on building on the momentum of years’ past and do even more to support Room to Read.
Room to Read is an international NGO that promotes literacy in the developing world. The organization’s multi-pronged approach includes opening up school libraries, providing teacher training, publishing in language children’s books, and running community-lead interventions designed to keep young women in school and out of child marriage.
Every year, we pick one Room to Read project country to support. We make it easy for our community of vendors and customers to join in these efforts through matching donation drives and other initiatives. Last year, we hit a major fundraising milestone, with a grand total of $200,000 being raised since 2013 for Room to Read’s projects in 16 countries around the world.
This year, we’ve decided to centre our efforts on raising enough to send 50 girls to school in Vietnam. At one time, Vietnam was considered one of the poorest countries in the world. Today, this country in South East Asia is in a period of growth and development, but with this growth comes a widening gap between children who can afford to attend school and children who can’t.
In 2020, we’re aiming to raise $20,000 towards school scholarships to allow 50 young Vietnamese women to make the most of their changing economy.
Our Inside Sales Engineer Merinda Widmer lead us in the decision to support Room to Read Vietnam because of the organization’s excellent track record in the country. In 2015, Room to Read successfully influenced advances in the country’s national education policy. Last year, Room to Read partnered with Vietnam’s Ministry of Education to launch a targeted program to build and stock school libraries in the country. Room to Read also continues to train local social mobilizers that support girls and young women in low-income areas through life skills training and other programs designed to keep them in school.
Merinda will go to Vietnam in 2021 to see our fundraising efforts in action. Stay tuned for more exciting updates on how you can join us in making sure that children around the world have the reading skills they need to succeed!
In February 2019, FortisBC announced the launch of a new prescriptive rebate offer with the aim of encouraging the adoption of high-efficiency steam boiler technologies in BC’s industrial and commercial sectors. It joins a host of other rebate programs that contribute to FortisBC’s overall objective of improving natural gas efficiency across the province.
We’re thrilled to announce that Raven Supply as FortisBC’s Conservation & Energy Management Commercial Partner delivered its first instant point of sale rebate to a customer using the new steam boiler rebate offer. FortisBC offers several prescriptive rebates that can be used towards the purchase of a new steam boiler or upgrades to existing systems meeting certain eligibility criteria.
The Commercial Partnership agreement allows Raven to assess customer eligibility during the sales process and deduct the rebate value straight off of our customer’s invoice, so customers can benefit from the savings immediately with zero uncertainty and minimal paperwork. This makes it very easy and approachable for end-users to take advantage of the program.
This customer chose to purchase a Fulton VMP-49.5 HP high-pressure steam boiler to replace their existing Fulton ICS-60 HP. This vertical tubeless boiler packs 49.5 horsepower into a heating surface area of less than 10 square meters, so the customer is not required to register the boiler plant or employ any Power Engineers under BC laws. This fact alone represents a huge cost-saving for most organizations, making the VMP-49.5 a tremendously popular boiler for process plants in British Columbia.
Because the Fulton VMP comes standard with parallel positioning controls, the customer’s invoice was instantly reduced by $9,000. In addition to the rebate savings, these features will save the customer thousands more in fuel costs due to higher operating efficiencies and reduced cycling losses. Jermin Hsieh, Conservation & Energy Management Program Manager at FortisBC provided feedback that Raven Supply provided excellent customer service by educating the customer on energy-efficient options and tying in point of sale rebates.
Looking to replace, upgrade, or make additions to your steam plant? Our engineers will work with you to determine the best solutions according to your needs while ensuring that you reap the maximum benefits of the FortisBC rebates. Contact us to get started!
Do you use natural gas to power your steam boiler systems as your only fuel during normal operations? Then we’re happy to be the bearer of some great news!
FortisBC is rolling out several prescriptive rebates that are applicable to the purchase of new steam boilers or upgrades to existing steam boilers meeting certain criteria. A policy in place since February 2019, The new steam boiler rebate structure makes it considerably easier for customers to take advantage of modern steam boiler technologies that can yield reduced operating costs, reduced maintenance requirements, lower carbon emissions, and improved reliability.
Raven Supply is proud to be a FortisBC Commercial Partner. We’re happy to assist you in determining which steam boiler rebates you might be able to obtain in your next steam boiler upgrade, replacement, addition, or new construction project. Call us today for a free consultation!
To be eligible for these steam boiler rebates, you must be a FortisBC customer using natural gas as your only fuel during normal operation. This includes dual-fuel burners used for emergency backup. For a complete list of criteria, visit the FortisBC website or call Raven for more information.
FortisBC offers rebates for steam boilers for four key technologies that can either be factory fitted on a new steam boiler or retrofitted onto an existing steam boiler as an upgrade:
Parallel positioning (often referred to as “linkage-less” control) is a precise, repeatable method of controlling the flow of fuel and air through a modulating burner. The fuel control valve and air damper are each moved by their own dedicated stepper motor actuators, each of which is electronically controlled by an air-fuel ratio controller.
On the other hand, a “linkage” burner uses a single servo motor to modulate both the fuel valve and air damper which are mechanically connected together by a series of adjustable jackshafts and linkage arms. The difference is similar to how modern electronic fuel injection systems compare to carburetors in automotive engines.
When air and fuel flow are parallel position systems, so when these elements are accurately controlled, a well-designed burner can be precisely tuned to minimize leftover oxygen in the exhaust throughout the full turndown range. This leftover oxygen in the exhaust is referred to as “excess air” and is inversely proportional to combustion efficiency. That means that lower excess air means lower fuel consumption.
There are many factors that can affect the net fuel savings realized by switching to parallel positioning controls. A typical estimate would be 5%, although savings of 15% or more are quite possible in certain circumstances. Linkage-less platforms like the Weishaupt W-FM and Siemens LMV are generally known to be safer, more reliable, and require less maintenance over time than conventional burner controls.
Steam Boiler Rebate Value -$16,000 – $18,000
Oxygen trim is an additional control feature that works in conjunction with parallel positioning. A sensor installed in the flue stack provides the burner controller with continuous closed-loop feedback of the O2 concentration in the flue gas, allowing it to automatically make fine adjustments to the air/fuel actuators as needed for optimal combustion. This makes the burner adaptive to changes in air temperature, atmospheric pressure, or other factors that may affect combustion. Net annual fuel savings of 1-2% are typical when this technology is correctly applied.
Total Dissolved Solids Blowdown Control
Steam Boiler Rebate Value – $4,000
In addition to bottom blowdowns, a commercial or industrial steam boiler needs regular surface blowdowns to be performed in order to flush out excess treatment chemicals, debris, and other impurities that may naturally collect at the water surface during operation. In practice, we associate the concentration of impurities with electrical conductivity, which is relatively easy to measure with current technology. A total dissolved solids (TDS) automatic blowdown system monitors the water conductivity and automatically performs blowdowns only when required. This ensures minimal water is wasted while maintaining good water chemistry, which contributes to both energy efficiency and equipment longevity.
Steam Boiler Rebate Value- $10,000 – 25,000
A stack economizer is a heat exchanger that extracts additional energy from a boiler’s flue gas and transfers it another medium which could be boiler feedwater, domestic water, or a hydronic heating loop. Economizers are typically found on larger boilers, usually mounted on top of the flue collector outlet. They offer the most energy savings in systems that consume a reasonably high percentage of cold make-up water, or where there is another consistent and substantial demand for water heating, such as a large domestic or process hot water load. Although economizers may add some complexity and space requirements to the system, they can produce significant energy savings when used in the right application.
Burner/Burner Control Retrofit (existing steam boiler upgrade)
Steam Boiler Rebate Value- Up to $49,000
Upgrading your existing steam boiler by upgrading the burner is a great way to increase fuel efficiency, improve reliability, improve overall boiler performance, and reduce maintenance/downtime expenses. Depending on the total project cost, FortisBC will offer up to $49,000 as an incentive for adding parallel positioning and oxygen trim to your existing boiler. In many cases, a burner retrofit can be completed within a few days, with minimal impact on the rest of your operations. Contact us to find out if your boiler is a good candidate for an upgrade!
Does the Fortis Steam rebate apply to your system? Click here for a Steam Boiler Rebate application and get your new steam boiler upgrades on their way today!
Surrey BC is a city in a period of growth. The third fastest-growing city in Canada, Surrey welcomes more than 1000 new residents every month. It’s affordable housing prices make it a desirable spot for young couples and recent immigrants to set up their home.
But not everyone is benefiting from this economic boom. In Surrey alone, an average of 600 people sleep on the streets every night, in doorways, makeshift shelters, tents, or dilapidated motor homes without heat or plumbing. This number soars to over 2,000 when you count the entire homeless population of the Greater Vancouver area.
Surrey is also the home of Raven Supply. Our head office is located near the rapidly growing Newton area. Our staff live nearby and know the businesses and community first hand. We also try to do what they can to give back to the city when we can.
Inside Sales Engineer Merinda Widmer kept this in mind when she chose NightShift Street Ministries as the recipient of her Raven Giving Fund donation.
“I chose NightShift as my non-profit organization because of the amazing things they’re doing for Surrey’s homeless population,” she explains. “At a time when more than 7,000 people in our province are homeless, their services are more crucial than ever.”
During a 2018 survey of the homeless population in BC, 58% of individuals surveyed reported that they live with two or more medical conditions, while 44% reported one medical condition and 33% reported a physical disability. When it came to mental illness, the numbers were also sobering, with 40% of respondents battling mental health conditions as well as spending cold nights on the street.
“It’s always surprised me how many misconceptions people have about the homeless community,” Merinda says, adding that she believes that no one is to fault for ending up without a roof over their head.
“This organization does fantastic things to help our local homeless population,” she continues. “In 2017, NightShift provided 36,500 hot meals, 3,500 warm blankets, 810 safe nights of sleep for women, and 105 evenings of the car bus. All this and more without any government funding.”
Merinda’s Raven Giving Fund contribution of $250.00 will go towards helping NightShift continue this valuable work. Every year, the Raven Giving Fund gives each of our employees $250.00 to donate to a charity or non-profit organization of their choice. Thanks Merinda for being a great community member and an outstanding member of the Raven team!
To find out more about NightShift, please click here.
Grandparents play a much more substantial role in children’s lives than simply providing free childcare, according to some recent studies. A 2018 study claims that children who have regular interactions with grandparents have less behavioural problems, and one from 2014 suggests that kids who have regular interactions with a grandparents are less likely to suffer from depression as adults.
But in Metro Vancouver, where many young families are far from home and extended relatives, children are often raised with once a week Skype calls as their only contact to grandparents overseas. That’s where the Volunteer Grandparents come in. Volunteer Grandparents is a non-profit organization that connects seniors with some spare time to children in our community who don’t have grandparents nearby.
Linna Luu knows how important grandparents are in a family from personal experience.
“My grandparents have made a great impact on my life,” explains Linna. These days, Linna is a Project Engineer at Raven Supply. When it came time for her to make a donation to the organization of her choice through the Raven Giving Fund, Linna wanted to help other kids have the same beneficial experiences that helped her become successful.
“I’m positive these Volunteer Grandparents will make a significant difference in the lives of many children,” Linna explains. She knows that like any relationship, the one between child and grandparents is a win-win on both sides. “I think that seniors often get left behind in our society, and this non-profit provides a way for these seniors to share their knowledge and experience with a younger generation while staying connected with their community,” she adds.
Volunteer Grandparents runs several programs. The Family Match program matches the volunteer with a family with kids aged 3 to 14 looking for the senior to take part in their family community. The School Grandparents Program connects seniors with elementary students, and the Ambassador program gives seniors the chance to volunteer at summer events.
But like everything she does, Linna had a very specific plan for her $250.00 Raven Giving Fund donation, and made the decision to direct her support to the Volunteer Grandparents’ Florio Bursary Program “I specifically chose to support the Florio bursary because of the process required to be eligible for this bursary – the Volunteer Grandparents must provide a written explanation on why the grandchild they recommend should receive financial assistance to help fund an activity such as piano lessons or ski lessons,” she explains.
“This process not only provides a screening process for applicants, but also shows the children that their Volunteer Grandparents think of them and care for them as much as a biological grandparent would.”
Thank you Linna for all your hard work, and for doing what you can to make sure more children have the support they need to achieve their own successes.
Raven Supply works with consultants and contractors from all across BC and the Yukon. Phone calls and emails are nice, but when we get the chance, we love to travel to meet these partners in person and get to know the city they call home, too.
So when Merinda Widmer and Linna Luu got the opportunity to take a short trip to Whitehorse in the Yukon Territories in June, they jumped at the chance.
Merinda and Linna, two of our engineers, were especially excited to check in on a few of our boiler projects in person, as well as find out more about this community that Raven Supply works in.
“We got to see the three Bryans we have at Whitehorse General Hospital,” says Linna. “We also dropped by Yukon College to see how our venting compared to the other stacks.”
Impressed (but not surprised) with how well these projects were holding up, next stop on the agenda was getting to know the people and places of Whitehorse.
“It was great getting to meet all the consultants, engineering firms and contractors we work with on a regular basis,” explains Merinda. “It’s fantastic to finally put faces to these names we know so well!”
“Everyone was very welcoming and took time out of their schedules to speak with us. The sense of community is very apparent!” adds Linna.
With a population of around 25,000, a strong sense of community in a smaller city like Whitehorse is to be expected. But our engineers enjoyed the way this community atmosphere existed side by side with bustling downtown core of this Provincial Capital.
“I was pleasantly surprised by the variety of restaurants, cafes, and breweries Whitehorse has to offer,” explains Linna. “Given Whitehorse’s population, I was expecting only a handful of eateries to choose from. Boy was I wrong!”
In fact, Linna and Merinda found more than enough to keep them busy each of their three days in the city.
“The MacBride Museum was very interesting to walk through,” recalls Linna. “We were also lucky enough to have Bob Baxter from Yukon Brewing give us a tour of the brewery and show us the engineering that was involved in their process!”
“One afternoon, Linna and I visited the Miles Canyon suspension footbridge and got to see one of the many amazing views Whitehorse has to offer!” says Merinda.
“I’ll remember to bring my hiking shoes and explore some nearby trails on my next visit,” chimes in Linna, laughing.
No good trip is complete without trying out a few favourite local feasts.
“Last but not least,” says Merinda, “Trying the famous bread pudding from Klondike Rib & Salmon was definitely a highlight.”
With so many highlights, the time flew by, and soon Merinda and Linna were back on a plane heading home to Surrey BC. But for these avid travelers, another trip to meet our community of suppliers, contractors and clients is surely just a short hop and adventure away.
Remember Nic Sun? He’s our make-it-happen VP of Engineering with a love of all things high-octane and high pulse rate too (more on that here).
Well, it turns out Nic is off on another adventure – learning the ins and outs of high speed driving at the Mission Raceway. His specific vehicle of choice to train on is his very own Subaru WRX.
Nic purchased this 2015 model completely brand new in 2014 following his graduation from the University of British Columbia. Since then he’s been working on upgrades to bring out the best in his vehicle. And like everything else, Nic didn’t just take this task on half way.
First he changed the air and exhaust ducting, upgraded the turbo controls, and perfected the ECU tuning to improve the engine’s power delivery. Next came upgrades to the brakes, drivetrain mounts, suspension, and differentials.
“These changes came together to bring out the car’s full potential, making it capable of contending with a lot of other higher end sports cars,” explains Nic. “I find it amusing to see the similarities between tuning a forced draft burner and a turbocharged car.”
It turns out that these are just a few of the many similarities between streamlining a car’s speed and building a more efficient boiler systems.
“Efficiency, power output and reliability are all affected by variables like air and exhaust duct diameters, combustion air temperature and pressure, air/fuel ratio, and presence of emissions control devices. The car’s ECU even uses the same data communication protocol that is found in the LMV linkage-less burner control platform!” Nic says, adding “maybe this is why so many burner technicians are also car enthusiasts…?”
All Nic’s hard work came together as he saw just what his newly upgraded and turbocharged vehicle could do on the racetrack.
“The track day was loads of fun and taught me a lot about how the car performs at the limit under extreme conditions. It was a very hot day which put a lot of strain on everything so it was a great test of what this Subaru could do ” he says, smiling.
As he pushed that pedal to the metal, Nic’s fiancé Christina also came along for the ride. Used to life at the speed of Nic, she spent the day hanging on for dear life and laughing the whole time.
Nic shared the track with Tony Pregal of T’N’T Energy Systems. We’re proud to annouce Tony as the driver of a GTM race car sponsored by Raven Supply that proudly sports our logo alongside the logo of Room to Read, a global literacy charity we support with help of our customers and vendors. We look forward to seeing Tony compete this year, and hopefully take the championship title in 2019.
When it came time for General Manager and Partner Ashley Bouchard to make a choice about how to spend her Raven Giving Fund donation, she knew exactly what to do.
“I chose to donate to the Surrey Women’s Centre- Surrey Mobile Assault response team, because the statistic of 1 out of 3 women who experience physical or sexual assault in their lifetime is too high,” she explains.
“It’s my hope with this program is that women will be able to get out of dangerous situations, and in turn raise healthy, happy, and strong children,” Ashley says. “It’s all about stopping the cycle of abuse and violence. Everyone can use help and these programs help prove that you don’t have to go through this alone.”
Ashley has been a supporter of the Surrey Women’s Centre for the last 7 years. In addition to the Mobile Assault response team, this non-profit organization operates as a crisis centre for women and girls escaping domestic violence, sexual assault and other forms of gender-based violence complete with a drop-in centre, workshops, and legal and counselling services .
Ashley first came in contact with the organization when she was looking for some place to donate clothing and household items and came across the Sharing Closet at their Drop-In Centre location. Immediately, she was surprised and impressed by the selection of services this organization provides to women in need.
“What I love about them is that they do not charge the ladies to take clothing and supplies home. They have shopping days on Wednesday where the ladies can come in to a comfortable environment and get the things they need.” Ashley smiles. “They also take children’s items and personal care items as well.”
Like every staff member, Ashley got the opportunity to drop-in and give her donation to the Surrey Women’s Centre staff in person.
“I felt very fortunate to be able to contribute to such a worthy cause in our local neighbourhood. The team at the centre was so welcoming and eager to share stories about the rest of the work that they do,” she recalls.
The Raven Giving Fund gives each member of our Raven Supply team with a $250.00 donation to give to a community group or non-profit they feel passionate about. It’s just part of our way of staying connected to our community, and also supporting our team members in their interests and passions outside of work. Curious? Read more about it here.
Day to day, the ins and outs of running a thriving business can distract from the fact that our business is a part of a larger community. One way that our company keeps our connection to our community in focus is through the Raven Giving Fund.
Introduced in 2018, the Fund provides each of our team members with $250.00 a year to donate towards a community group of their choosing. For Office Administrator Megan Davies, this meant giving to a local organization that she holds dear- the S.O.S. Children’s Village in Surrey BC. Megan has a background that includes teaching english to school aged children overseas, so we weren’t surprised when she decided to spend her Giving Fund allotment on programs for children here at home.
“I chose this non-profit because I’m passionate about children and raising kids in a healthy, loving, and safe environment,” she says.
S.O.S. Children’s Village provides Lower Mainland children and youth in care with an alternative model of foster care that operates separate from the provincial system. S.O.S. Children’s Village services includes foster homes, an inclusive and supportive community, and social, art and therapy programs all designed to help foster children and youth grow into caring, self-reliant adults. One of the most unique aspects of this approach is ‘the village’ – a cluster of of 5 foster homes where children live together with adults who care as a community.
“There are thousands of foster children in BC and Canada who aren’t raised in stable environments, and so they don’t get the guidance they need,” explains Megan. “If I can contribute to this group home and positively impact the environment of these children and youth even in a small way, I would be grateful.”
Megan’s contribution of $250 through the Raven Giving Fund can be used to cover the costs for a session of the Village Learning Club– a homework club where foster children can get help from BC Certified Teacher Support as well as enjoy themselves through guided games and physical activities.
S.O.S. Children’s Village in Surrey also helps fill another major gap in support many teens in care face when they ‘age out’ of the system, usually when they’re 18. S.O.S. Children’s Village makes sure the youth in their care are ready once it’s their time to strike out on their own with a gradual independence program. Teens start gaining the knowledge they’ll need as adults beginning at 16, and the program culminates with them receiving an “apartment in a box” with many of the supplies they’ll need – including a bed.
Thanks Megan for inspiring us with your charity choice for the Raven Giving Fund! To find out
more about S.O.S. Children’s Village in Surrey and to get involved, visit them online here.
Taking a look at our team of engineers, you could easily mistake this bright crew for a group of students. But proving the adage that age has no bearing on one’s success, Raven Supply’s tight team of talented engineers may be young, but offer the right combination of experience and knowledge to stand out as industry leaders.
Shortly after graduating from UBC Integrated Engineering program in 2014, Nic Sun joined our team in the role of an Outsides Sales Engineer. Nic first got to know Raven Supply as a company during his 2012 rotation as our coop students, but these days he’s known around here as the VP of Engineering.
That means that Nic is always in motion- visiting engineering and contractor offices and also working with our clients one-on-one to determine their unique needs. But if you can catch him mid-action, the skills he’s gained through extended service training as well as hands on experience on the job site are a treat worth watching, and his success proves that he’s guiding the engineering team in the right direction.
Nic’s fast upward trajectory speaks to the importance of Raven Supply’s policy on employee growth. Here at Raven Supply, we do the best we can to give our employees the opportunity to flex and grow into the right position for their skills and talents.
Bennett Lee is another example of rising talent that has become an invaluable part of our team. Bennett Lee came to our company as a coop student in 2007, and then joined our team full time in 2008 after graduating from UBC’s Bachelor of Commerce program. Initially working with our clients as a Venting Estimator, Bennett quickly graduated to VP of Venting Sales. Now days, Bennett is the one training our incoming co-op students as well as our entire team on the latest and greatest in venting products.
Linna Luu stepped into her role as an Inside Sales Engineer in 2016 after completing her Chemical Engineering degree at the University of Alberta. Linna joined the team at the perfect time, just as we needed a capable new individual to round out our Venting Department. Since then she’s excelled in a series of roles at Raven Supply, demonstrating exceptional technical abilities and close attention to the important small details. Currently in the essential position of Project Engineer, Linna is extremely valuable to our team and to our customers, offering adaptations for each project’s unique needs flawlessly and with ease.
Merinda Widmer also comes to us from the University of Alberta’s Chemical Engineering program. The most recent addition to our Engineering Team, Merinda joined us in 2018 as an Inside Sales Engineer. First hired to support the needs of our many venting customers, Merinda had proven herself to be a valuable all around team member. Now her responsibilities extend to design projects, tanks, and other parts. This quick learner with a keen eye for detail also brings a lovely outgoing personality. We know Merinda is destined for great things, and we can’t wait to see what her future here at Raven Supply holds.
Truly, Raven Supply wouldn’t be the company it is today without these bright and ambitious individuals. A big THANKS to our Engineering Team- we couldn’t do it without you!