Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Going Carbon Neutral in Canadian Cities

Getting to Carbon Neutral: A Guide for Canadian Municipalities (176 page pdf, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, Sustainable Infrastructure Group, University of Toronto, May 5, 2010)

Also discussed here: Carbon Competitive Cities (Toronto and Region Conservation)

And here: Meeting the Challenge of Climate Change TRCA Action Plan for The Living City (30 page pdf, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, 2010)

Potential Contributions of Solar Water Heaters to Energy

for Water Heating in Selected Canadian Cities

Today’s review is of a wide-ranging report from Canada’s largest city, focussed on ways for municipalities to achieve carbon neutrality in 20 years by making changes in buildings, land use, energy, transprtation and efficiency. It describes many case studies and examples from around the world

Key Quotes:

“overview of the major sources of municipal greenhouse gas emissions and incorporates a series of standardized equations and estimation guidelines that help a city understand strategically how to move toward substantive carbon dioxide reduction targets.”

“carbon neutral is defined as: the total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions generated by a city, directly or indirectly, less the emissions sequestered and offset summing to zero”

“For an individual municipality, establishing a carbon neutral target makes a statement about the priority level of sustainability and provides a framework to guide a wide range of programs and regulation; collectively working toward carbon neutrality, municipalities could significantly lessen the impact of climate change”

“Areas targeted for strategic action:

  • Buildings - Retrofits of existing buildings for greater efficiency;Stricter regulation for resource consumption in new buildings.

  • Land use and urban planning -Increased density; Increased urban green spaces (parkland, urban tree canopy, green roofs);  Neighbourhood design that encourages active transportation (cycling and walking)

  • Transportation - Improve coverage of public transit infrastructure; Inhibit personal automobile use in urban areas (tolls, restricted parking, traffic calming mechanisms); Encourage adoption of electric or low-emission vehicles.

  • Energy Supply- Integrated community energy planning; Harvest energy from municipal waste stream; Increase renewable energy supply.

  • Efficiency and demand management - Increase efficiency of municipal services and buildings”

“Instead, we focus on practices that also generate new revenues, such as area pricing and the introduction of tolls, from which profits can then be re-distributed accordingly… A further alternative is to ban the use of automobiles in certain areas of a city. This process is called pedestrianization and seems to be quite popular, especially in Europe”

“Raising parking prices is another effective method to reduce GHG emissions from automobiles. The availability of free or cheap parking significantly increases the likelihood that commuters will use the auto mode”

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