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Raven Receives Their First Point of Sale Steam Boiler Rebate

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. 

Jermin Hsieh, FortisBC presents Nic Sun, Raven Supply with the steam rebate cheque.

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!

Steam Boiler Rebate Program with FortisBC

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! 

Eligibility Criteria

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. 

Fulton Steam Boiler
Fulton Steam Boiler Eligible for Rebates

Eligible Technologies

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 burner controls
  • Oxygen (O2) trim
  • TDS (conductivity based) automatic blowdown controls
  • Economizers (condensing or non-condensing).

Parallel Positioning

Steam Boiler Rebate Value – $9,000 – $16,000

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. 

Between Parallel Position and Oxygen Trim
Weishaupt Burner Eligible for Steam Rebates

Oxygen Trim

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.  

Economizer
Cain Economizer Eligible for Steam Rebates

Economizers

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. 

 

Boiler Controls- An Overview

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!

Nic Sun’s Big News

Our very own VP of Engineering Nic Sun recently went through a bit of a name change, or rather a name upgrade.

On August 21st, Nic became officially recognized as a Professional Engineer in the Province of BC. That distinction comes with a new designation abbreviated as P. Eng Nic can proudly add when writing out his full formal name.

Nic is still the same adrenaline-loving aspiring race car driver we know and love. But now, in addition to his Bachelors’s Degree in Integrated Engineer from the University of BC, Nic has another certification to prove that doing consistently good work can take you a long way.

“It was a long process,” Nic says. “But it feels great to have it under my belt now, and I think it will help bring new opportunities to me and my team moving forward.”

Nic’s process to become a P. Eng began even before his graduation from UBC. As an undergraduate, he made the decision to participate in the university’s co-op program, which as it happens, is how he first met the Raven Supply team.

After graduation, Nic registered as a Mechanical Engineer in Training (EIT) and began working as a designer at a Vancouver consulting firm. But soon, he was back at Raven Supply, taking on his first of several roles with our company as a Sales Engineer.

“Nowadays, it seems like an increasing number of projects are requiring us to have more significant involvement and responsibility in the design, installation, and commissioning processes,” Nic comments. “It’s almost like the lines between the consultant, contractor, and equipment supplier are beginning to blur.”

During the past 4 years, Nic has proven his engineering skills and insights by taking responsibility for larger and more complex projects and helping Raven grow across sectors. He eventually assumed the role of VP of Engineering, all while he was completing the steps to obtain his Professional Engineer license.

“I wrote the exam. I completed the seminar. And I provided 34 written examples of my work to prove my competency, each of which had to be validated by another P. Eng,” explains Nic. “After that, everything was accessed by EGBC’s registered committee, and they granted me my license.”

“As Engineers, we’re experiencing more direct involvement with entities like Technical Safety BC and Fortis BC,” Nic continues. “Therefore, it is important that we are not only technically competent but also knowledgeable in the legal and ethical aspects of how we are involved in these projects. These are all things that are learned in the process of becoming a Professional Engineer, so I think there is significant value in attaining this designation as a specialized equipment supplier.”

To find out more about the Professional Engineer in the Province of BC program, swing by the Raven Supply office anytime to congratulate Nic in person.

Fighting Homelessness in Our Community, One Night at a Time

MaryAnne Connor & Merinda Widmer
Merinda presents her check to NightShift Founder MaryAnne Connor.

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.”

NightShift Kitchen
New kitchen facilities at NightShift.

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. 

From Iowa to BC, Industrial Steam is here!

Deaerators, boiler feed systems, blowdown separators and more.

Here at Raven Supply, we’re always excited to connect with new suppliers. That’s why we’re thrilled to announce a new partnership with Industrial Steam.

industrial Steam Accumulator
Industrial Steam Accumulator

Industrial Steam is a longstanding engineering and manufacturing company known for their exceptional catalog of boiler heaters and ancillary equipment that includes state-of-the-art deaerators, wet steam accumulators, and feedwater, blowdown, and fuel oil systems.

Jet Spray Deaerator
Industrial Steam Jet Spray Deaerator

Established in 1952, Industrial Steam was born out of a spirit of invention by self-taught engineer Martin “Mike” Bekedam and by Jim Williams, who joined the company early on. Together, they perfected their boiler systems to serve a huge variety of customers that included wineries, meat processing facilities, and tomato processing plants. Together they built and perfected customized boilers, burners, deaerators and chemical feed systems.

It was in this way that from its earliest days, Industrial Steam distinguished itself as an early adopter of technology and an innovator in the industry. So it was no surprise to us that its product line includes some cutting-edge offerings. For example, the one-of-a-kind Industrial Steam Jet Spray deaerator offers new potential for boiler protection by using a 2-stage process to remove atomized water in order to reduce oxygen in boiler systems. And Industrial Steam’s sturdy skid-mounted oil pump sets and day tanks for ring main distribution systems offer built to use filtration systems that automatically filter and chemical treat the fuel to remove water, microbes and solids which are discharged into a containment tank.

Industrial Steam is based in Atlantic Iowa, and we’re sure happy to bring their product line up to our Surrey BC warehouse for our commercial and industrial customers in BC and the Yukon.

 

Nic Sun Shares His Love of the Outdoors Through the Raven Giving Fund

Nic Sun gives his cheque to the VASS
Nic Sun visits the VASS to drop off his Giving Fund donation in person.

As VP of Engineering, Nic Sun gives his all to every project he takes on. That means that Monday to Friday, Nic is ready, energized and enthusiastic about every proposal or client plan that he dives into. On the weekend, Nic finds another way to get his energy out- by making the most of the outdoor activities offered by the incredible mountains, lakes and oceans surrounding Greater Vancouver.

So when it came to deciding where to send his Raven Giving Fund donation, it seemed only natural that Nic would pick an organization that helps make the great outdoors accessible to everyone. That’s why, this year, Nic selected Vancouver Adaptive Snow Sports (VASS) to as recipient of his Raven Giving Fund donation. Introduced in 2018, the Fund gives each of our employees $250.00 a year to donate to the charity or community group of their choice.

“Vancouver Adaptive Snow Sports enables persons with disabilities to access the mountain experience, allowing them to discover their unique capabilities with the assistance of coaches and mentors,” he explains.

“Skiing and mountains have been a huge part of my life since birth. To me, nothing else in the world delivers a greater sense of freedom, joy and self-expression,” he adds. “These are all fundamental parts of the human experience that I believe all people are entitled to.”

Nic’s donation will help support VASS’s ski and snowboard programs for people living with physical and intellectual disability. This non-profit, membership based organization is run entirely by volunteer instructors who offer snowboarding, skiing, and sit-skiing classes for students of every level and any age group. 

Every instructor is Canadian Adaptive Snowsport (CADS) certified, and is dedicated to working side by side with VASS members to help them achieve their athletic goals. For some more serious members, that means preparing for races as a member of the VASS Blue Streaks Adaptive Alpine Racing Program. The Blue Streaks practice twice a week and enter general races hosted by the Grouse Mountain Tyee Ski club.

VASS also hosts the annual VASS Cup event. The VASS Cup features snowboard, ski and sit-ski races, along with sledge hockey, an adaptive snow sports experience zone, a silent auction, and even a costume contest! This year, more than 300 people came out for this event, which raised $83,000 for VASS’s programs. You can check the VASS Cup in the media here.

Thanks Nic, for letting us know about this cool organization. To find out more, visit www.vass.ca.

Raven Supply Hits the Road (Again)! Making Visits to Our Friends in Michigan and Indiana

Linna and Merinda poise outside the Niles Factory in Michigan

This April, two of our team members headed south to spend time getting know the people behind the products we support.

Inside Sales Engineer Merinda Widmer and Project Engineer Linna Luu hopped on a plane heading to the Midwest of the good ol’ U.S. of A to stop in and visit two of our vendors.

First stop was Niles Steel Tanks in Niles, Michigan. Niles Steel Tanks fabricates custom built pressure vessels for a variety of industries, and we often use their products on commercial and institutional projects throughout BC.

“We were very impressed at just how organized this factory is, especially with so many things going on,” remarked Merinda. A highlight of the visit was seeing the process it takes to make the Ultonium™ glass lining that Niles uses for their hot water applications.

Tanks being manufactured at Niles Steel

“It was fascinating to see the vessels being fired at 1500° F, the melting point of Ultonium™, and then “soaked” at that temperature for a period of time, which bonds the Ultonium™ to the steel substrate,” she says.

Merinda and Linna were also amused by a blast from the past when their guide Terry shared some photos from the earliest days of Niles Steel Tanks. The photos showed tanks being built from the ground up in the back of trucks! Even more remarkable though is previous owner Jerome C. Woods’ legacy of helping to develop the ASME code that is now a standard required of all boiler supplies.

Niles Steel tanks wait to be shipped in Michigan

Next up on the itinerary was a quick road trip south to Peru, Indiana, home of the Byran Steam factory.

Bryan Steam has been in the steam business for more than 100 years, and is the leader in flexible water tubing. In fact, their flexible water tubes were a staple of steam operated tractors- that is, until motors overtook this market.

These days, Bryan Steam has transformed their water tube technology into leading boiler products. Bryan Steam has an advantage over other boiler manufacturers because they manufacture boilers that can be disassembled at the factory and the reassembled at their final destination. This is especially important in locations with restricted space, for example when a contractor needs to replace a boiler in a mechanical room with limited access.

Linna and Merinda stand outside the Bryan Steam factory in Peru, Indiana

“Visiting Bryan was such a good experience,” says Linna. “Witnessing a knock down boiler in person really makes you appreciate all the work that goes into manufacturing a flexible tube boiler.”

But Merinda and Linna weren’t just sightseeing- they were at Bryan Steam with a specific project in mind.

An inside view of the Bryan flexible tube boiler

“Bryan Steam is providing the knock down boiler we’re using in our retrofit project with Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital. This is the first time we’ve used one of these knock-down models,” explains Linna. Linna and Merinda were there to learn first hand the ins and outs of knocking down and reassembling the Bryan Steel boiler for this project. To find out more about our involvement in this rural healthcare initiative, please click here.

Their time in Peru, Indiana wasn’t all work though- the Bryan Steam team took our Raven Supply roadtrippers out for a meal.

“For lunch, we enjoyed a favourite local restaurant, where we were introduced to the famous pork tenderloin sandwich,” recalls Linna, laughing.

Now Merinda and Linna are back, and armed with even more knowledge to bring to our projects and customers. Feel free to ask them more about their travels next time you’re in the office.

The Raven Giving Fund Supports Children and Youth in Foster Care

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.

A super sized cheque for some super kids. 

“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.

A street view of the S.O.S. Children’s Village in Surrey BC.

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. 

Bennett Lee Tests the Potential of the Electric Car

The team at Raven Supply is big on new technology, so when it came time for Bennett Lee to get a new car, it was no surprise that he decided to make the leap and test out the potential of electric vehicles.

Bennett has been driving his 2005 Honda Civic to our Surrey office from his home in South Vancouver since he joined the team in 2008. However, lately, his trusty vehicle has been showing signs that it’s ready to retire to the great compactor in the sky as it trudged along with one working electric door lock and a whopping 300,000 km of driving distance under its hood.

That’s how Bennett came to be the proud owner of a 2019 Chevy Volt, a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.

Bennett’s new Volt can be found at its charging station in the back of Raven Supply’s office.  He can count on 85 km of driving distance on the battery alone but don’t worry; the vehicle has a gas backup of 500 kms for all the venting site reviews with our customers that they have come to count on & appreciate!

If you’re ever in our neighbourhood and need a charge, please stop by. Bennett will be happy to share his charger along with his enthusiasm for the potential of the electric car market.