Canadian Lawyer InHouse

Feb/Mar 2010

Legal news and trends for Canadian in-house counsel and c-suite executives

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Page 26 of 39

INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT By Paul Brent The photovoltaic array on the rooftop of Air Miles operator LoyaltyOne Inc.'s headquarters in Mississauga, Ont., is capable of producing 165 kilowatts of green electricity each hour. Millions of dollars are available for clean tech initiatives, but who is putting the money up and how do companies get it? GETTING THE GREEN TO GO GREEN The 800-panel solar photovoltaic array adorning the rooftop of the Mississauga, Ont. headquarters of LoyaltyOne Inc. produces enough elec- tricity an hour to power 16 homes. This gives the corporate offices of the Air Miles operator the largest solar photovol- taic array in Canada, capable of produc- ing 165 kilowatts every hour. While LoyaltyOne did not have Ontario's Feed-in Energy Tariff in mind when it began it's solar quest, the pro- gram has made the project more than worthwhile. "If you look at the econom- ics, we are being paid a much higher rate than you would pay for usage of the electricity these days, so the incentive is there for you to put all of the renewable power on the grid," says Debbie Baxter, chief sustainability officer of the rewards company. Ontario created the FIT program in 2009 to wean the province off coal-pro- duced electricity by 2014, boost economic activity, develop renewable energy tech- nologies, and create new green industries and jobs. It allows for consumers generat- ing surplus energy to sell the power to the Ontario Power Authority. LoyaltyOne agreed to a 20-year con- tract with the Ontario Power Authority to sell excess power. This agreement pays the Mississauga-based company 71.3 cents per kilowatt hour it distributes into the electrical grid. LoyaltyOne also drew up a licence agreement with the owner of its head- quarters to place the solar panels on its roof, came to agreements with con- sultants handling the installation, and concluded purchase orders and warran- ties with the solar panel providers, says Michael Kline, the rewards company's senior vice president of legal services. The company had contract work associ- ated with the installation of a solar hot- water system, passively using the sun's heat to preheat water before it makes its way to the company's water heating sys- tem. While the rooftop was completely self-funded, LoyaltyOne took advantage of eco-energy rebates from the federal government to partially offset the cost of the solar thermal setup. "The feedback that we were getting from employees and [Air Miles] collec- tors was . . . green was very important to them and they really wanted LoyaltyOne to be doing leadership things that would make associates proud of the company and collectors proud of the program," Baxter says. The next step for the com- pany is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certi- fication for its building, taking into account the solar innovations and other environmentally-friendly modi- fications such as solar tubes to bring in natural light, use of low-emission and recycled building materials, and zero- waste strategies. INHOUSE FEBRUARY 2010 • 27 Photos by Brian Sommers courtesy of LoyaltyOne

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