Monday, March 25, 2013

How Can Canadian Cities Reduce their Emissions of Greenhouse Gases?

Toronto Skyline
Toronto Skyline (Photo credit: Bobolink)

 A low carbon infrastructure plan for Toronto, Canada(11 Page pdf, Lorraine Sugar and Christopher Kennedy, Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering, Feb. 6, 2013) 

Also discussed here: Cities can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 70 percent(NRC Research Press, Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering, Feb. 6, 2013) 

Today we review an application of a municipal energy and greenhouse gas reduction guide to Canada’s largest city, Toronto. Reductions of 30% are projected over the next 20 years and 70% in the long term with a focus on lower carbon fuel demands from the building (example solar water heaters) and transportation sectors (example higher parking rates to shift commuters from cars to transit). Many of the suggestions would allow other Canadian cities to meet the same aggressive targets.  

Key Quotes: 

"With current policies, especially cleaning of the electricity grid, Toronto's per-capita GHG emissions could be reduced by 30 per cent over the next 20 years. To go further, however, reducing emissions in the order of 70 per cent, would require significant retrofitting of the building stock, utilization of renewable heating and cooling systems, and the complete proliferation of electric, or other low carbon, automobiles." 

"Three broad categories of strategies for reducing emissions at the building scale are considered:
“Current provincial government initiatives aim to increase the market share of electric vehicles to 5% by 2020….Assuming an exponential increase in years following, the percentage of private automobile VKTs travelled by electric vehicles was taken to be 20% in 2031…… GHG emissions savings associated with the 20% adoption of electric vehicles in 2031 is 439 kt CO2e,.”

“While official plans to increase parking prices are not known, a conservative estimate of 10% was made. According to the Parking Price Estimation Guideline, this would result in a mode share decrease of 0.70% for private automobiles and a mode share increase of 0.10% for public transit.”

 “Outfitting low-rise residential homes built before 2012 with solar water heating and ground source heat pumps would also decrease fossil fuel based energy consumption. The Solar Water Heating Estimation Guideline assigns 45% savings to water heating energy needs with the addition of solar heaters in Toronto.”

“Adapting results from a study of Washington DC (Harrington et al. 2008) to Toronto in 2031, the mode share changes resulting from a VMT tax and a freeway toll would save 133.6 and 19.2 kt CO2e of GHG emissions respectively.”

“The aggressive actions applied to Toronto in this case study could be successfully applied in other municipalities in Canada and other countries”
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