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Case study

The Zajac Foundation

Emission Reductions:

  • 32 tonnes of CO2e annually

Cost Savings:

  • $28,000+ annually


  • biomass boiler
  • lighting upgrade
  • rainwater harvesting

Zajac Ranch for Children is a fully accessible and inclusive facility that provides life-changing summer camp experiences to children and young adults with medical conditions and disabilities and is a community project of The Zajac Foundation.

In 2017, with scholarship support from the Vancity Credit Union, Zajac Foundation became Climate Smart certified. They measured their baseline greenhouse gas emissions inventory and identified a number of opportunities to reduce emissions while cutting operational expenses.

At the Zajac Children’s Ranch in Mission, they are working on a lighting retrofit which will reduce electricity use by 20% and result in savings of over $11,000 annually. With a $12,000 incentive from BC Hydro, this $34,000 upgrade will pay for itself in just two years. After the two years, the savings will enable more kids to visit the Ranch and enjoy the camp experience.

The Ranch also tackled propane use – their single largest emission source – by installing a biomass wood pellet boiler for pool heating. The installation reduced emissions associated with the pool heating by 77%, while saving the Ranch over $17,000 annually in heating expenses. With the total investment of $150,000, $10,000 funding from Vancity and donor support, the payback for this project was reduced considerably.

The next project for Zajac will be harvesting rainwater for use at the Ranch. Currently, the Ranch relies on an underground aquifer for its water supply. Having rainwater capture will help protect this aquifer from overuse, as well as delay the need for costly water utility expansions by reducing peak summer water demand. It will also reduce consumption of energy that would otherwise be required to pump the water from the aquifer. The water will be used for irrigating the Ranch’s gardens and fields. The project is projected to collect and reuse up to 700,000 US gallons of rainwater – enough to fill an Olympic-size swimming pool. This project was supported by a $5,000 grant from Vancity.

As one of their Climate Smart initiatives, the Ranch conducted an energy audit through the BC Non-Profit Housing Association. The auditors suggested looking into heat pumps and solar hot water installation for the pool, as well as other energy-saving measures for the Ranch buildings. Zajac will be investigating these ideas going forward.

“Participation in Climate Smart gives you the training, ideas, and resources to map and then reduce an organization’s energy consumption, transportation costs, waste and carbon emissions and opens the doors to programs and incentives that reduce payback periods for greener, more efficient technology alternatives. The training and support is considerable, the outcomes measurable, as organizations in Canada increasingly have to adapt to a changing climate and commitments to reduce carbon. Through the Climate Smart training and our coaching calls, we now have a number of new opportunities to realize energy savings through lighting and boiler retrofits, and reduce carbon emissions in the process, and give consideration to a triple bottom line perspective.”
Alex Mathieson – Controller, The Mel Jr. & Marty Zajac Foundation

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