Joad Clement: He’s got your numbers
A bachelor of mechanical engineering by training, Joad Clement is a long-time sustainability professional with experience on wind farms, performing residential EnerGuide audits, and corporate-scale energy analytics. He has served as Municipal Energy Manager for the Municipal District of Bonnyville, the Village of Glendon, and the City of Airdrie, in positions partially funded by the Government of Alberta.
As Municipal Energy Manager, Joad leads cross-functional teams that develop energy management policies, engages with other municipal employees, and implements energy-saving opportunities. At the MD of Bonnyville, his efforts (including lighting, solar PV, and heating and ventilation upgrades) helped reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 11%.
We interviewed Joad in the first year of his new position with the City of Airdrie.
What is involved with your new position in the City of Airdrie?
My role here is to look at all our facilities that use energy and try to drive down energy use, utility costs, greenhouse gas emissions, and also create synergies between our different projects to create sustainability initiatives that will bring more value to the city and residents. I work with all departments. We have created a cross-functional team that involves people from different sectors within the municipality, trying to plan ahead for how we can implement those projects, those initiatives, that will create energy savings and value for the municipality.
What attracted you enough to try this in multiple municipalities?
First, I love numbers! And I love energy policy and environmental policy. In my role, I do a lot of data analysis, but also policy, planning, making frameworks or guidelines to help us move forward in reducing our environmental impact.
It’s also just thinking about how we reduce energy waste. How is it that there are lights left on? Basically, people are not noticing that. But my role is to look at those things that are not clearly looked at by other people just because it’s not within their responsibilities—but my responsibility is to remind my colleagues that energy waste can be expensive.
Today, you hosted us on a tour of Airdrie’s Genesis Place. What are you proud of that the city has accomplished here?
Well, I can say that the City of Airdrie, without knowing it, has been an environmental leader. We didn’t know until last summer, actually, when the City of Airdrie won the Alberta Municipalities’ Municipal Environmental Award. And the reason behind that award was that we implemented a very large solar PV project here on the rooftop of Genesis Place, including also a solar carport, and a new transit operations facility that has a large solar PV array on the roof. Previously, we also implemented many lighting retrofit projects across our facilities. And we have three electric resurfacers, which reduces our use of fossil fuels and is cleaner and quieter to operate.
As a long-time sustainability professional, what does it mean to you to be able to join a leader like the City of Airdrie?
Well, it’s very interesting, because the city already had many great initiatives. But now the next step is to connect these energy-saving initiatives to capital planning. Initially, this connection is challenging because we tend to think only in terms of upfront costs for these types of projects. But I’m looking at how we can reduce long-term operating costs. If we can, then we will spend more upfront but save more overall, which creates more value for the city.
What is next for your team?
We’re starting to see a vision about what is next for us. My role now is to report on the performance our facilities have achieved through previous energy upgrades and how actual savings show up on our utility bills. I’ll report this to our leadership team and eventually City Council. I am trying to demonstrate the value of those energy conservation projects. I’m really proud about bringing together that information and also planning future energy and emissions reduction projects with several teams.