Monday, October 21, 2013

How Can Cities Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions through Improved Energy Management?

Building Momentum: Provincial Policies for Municipal Energy and Carbon Reductions(68 page pdf, Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, Sep. 26, 2013)  

Today we review the annual report by the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario (ECO) on energy conservation. He has recommendations on ways both the province and municipalities can improve improved energy conservation and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Cities have a role to play in areas such as: development of municipal energy plans which focus on those activities entirely within their mandate or where a municipal role is well -defined: in zoning district energy systems for more efficient building heating , in using Development Charges to discourage sprawl rather than the opposite, in reporting real-time use of energy for large buildings and in requiring energy audits and to implement more efficient municipal energy retrofits. district energy

 Key Quotes:

 “…formal linkages between Ontario’s energy and GHG policies are weak, and the province lacks a comprehensive multi-fuel plan…most of the energy consumed in Ontario is used for thermal purposes (e.g., for heating homes, institutional and commercial buildings, and in industrial processes) and is provided primarily by natural gas. Similarly, fossil fuels comprise the overwhelming majority of energy sources used for transportation.”

“Municipalities exert either direct control or indirect influence over energy used within their jurisdictional boundaries, for example through municipally owned buildings, fleets, street lighting or through their policy and planning role in such areas as land use, development controls .. Significantly, by 2020, municipalities are forecast to control or influence over one-half of Ontario’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions “

District energy systems provide heating and/or cooling services to multiple buildings connected to a distribution network that transports hot or chilled water through pipes. They can often provide heating and cooling more efficiently than traditional systems in which each building contains its own equipment”

 “Development charges (DCs) are collected from developers to help offset the one-time capital costs associated with the provision of new infrastructure.….in 2011, $1.3 billion was collected by Ontario municipalities through this mechanism.. DCs contribute approximately 15 per cent of the total municipal capital funding;”

“A 2008 survey of electricity consumption showed that Ontario’s more than 400 municipalities ..showed a cumulative total of more than 6.6 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity were used in just one year.This represented 4.3 per cent of total provincial consumption and cost $680 million.”

 “prior to 1990 the Ontario Building Code included no energy efficiency requirements at all.”

“The current low price of natural gas may prove a barrier to deep retrofits, particularly if municipal programs require all retrofit actions to meet a strict definition of cost-effectiveness.”

“When the Green Energy Act, 2009 was introduced, the Ontario government committed to require home energy audits at the time of sale of a property. This commitment has never been fulfilled. Were the government to act on this promise, it would instantly increase homeowner interest in participating in a municipal retrofit program.”
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