On the home front

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[mk_dropcaps style=”simple-style”]I[/mk_dropcaps]T’S OFTEN SAID that communities have a leading role to play in efforts to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. That shouldn’t come as a surprise. It’s hard enough to develop strategies at the national level, and harder still to create and enforce them internationally. But much can—and is—being achieved at the local level. Our map highlighting the accomplishments of Canadian communities (of all shapes and sizes) proves that point. Better yet, the examples presented here are far from exhaustive. They are merely a sampling of highlights that shows work towards a more sustainable energy future is underway — right in our own backyards.

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CALGARY, ALBERTA

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ENERGY VISION Calgary’s overall sustainability vision includes the implementation of new technologies to reduce energy consumption and GHG emissions. With ambitious goals of a 20 per cent GHG reduction by 2020 and 50 per cent by 2050, the city is taking significant steps to reduce energy consumption, including replacing traditional streetlights with energy-efficient flat-lens lights and installing LED traffic signals. It uses methane-capture technology at landfills to generate electricity.

RESULTS:

  • In 2012, Calgary was, by percentage, the largest municipal user of renewable electricity in North America
  • The flat-lens streetlight program saves enough electricity each year to power 3,000 homes
  • 13,500 tonnes of methane gas captured annually through the landfill program, equivalent to burning 180,000 barrels of oil

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MEDICINE HAT, ALBERTA

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ENERGY VISION Medicine Hat launched a strategic program in 2007 to promote renewable energy and energy conservation. Its signature element is “Hat Smart,” which provides energy conservation workshops and share information on federal and provincial rebate programs. In 2014, the city commissioned a three-turbine wind farm and a new solar project at the city’s power plant.

RESULTS:

  • More than 3,000 Medicine Hat residents have attended Hat Smart seminars. Local participation in federal and provincial energy-upgrade rebate programs is three to five times the provincial average
  • Medicine Hat’s wind farm to generate 16,000MWh per year on  average, enough to power about 2,000 homes
  • The city’s solar project uses unique solar-thermal technology to create steam that drives turbines at the power plant, reducing the need to burn natural gas

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VaNCOUVer, brItISH COlUMbIa

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ENERGY VISION Vancouver aims to become the “greenest city in the world” by 2020. Its guide is its Greenest City 2020 Action Plan, focusing on GHG emissions, waste reduction, green building standards, transport, and clean air and water. One hundred twenty projects are underway with goals that include a 33 per cent reduction in GHG emissions, a 50 per cent reduction in solid waste and 33 per cent reduction in the city’s ecological footprint.

RESULTS:

  • 6 per cent reduction in community-based GHG emissions from 2007 levels

  • 10 per cent increase in the number of local trips made by foot, bicycle or transit

  • 18 percent reduction in per capita water consumption

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SASKATOON,
SASKATCHEWAN

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ENERGY VISION To reduce its carbon footprint, Saskatoon began developed the Landfill Gas to Energy Project, constructing a clay cap over part of its municipal dump to capture methane from decomposing organic waste. Vertical wells were then drilled to capture the gas and move it to a power generating station. The system came online in 2014.

RESULTS:

  • Landfill gas will generate enough electricity to power 1,300 homes annually

  • Projected to reduce GHG emissions by more than 20 tonnes each year

  • Electricity sales total $1.3 million a year; the project will recover its $15-million cost in nine years

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OUJÉ-BOUGOUMOU,
QUEBEC

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ENERGY VISION  When the Cree community of Oujé-Bougoumou was built in their traditional Northern Quebec lands in 1992, it included a district heating system for overall energy efficiency. But rather than rely on diesel fuel to power the boilers, the community turned to biomass, finding a new use for waste sawdust produced at nearby lumber mills. The system serves about 140 homes and 20 public buildings.

RESULTS:

  • Biomass-generated energy delivers about 75 per cent of Oujé-Bougoumou’s heating requirements. A back-up diesel-powered boiler is on hand to meet demand peaks

  • Biomass district heating cut the community’s carbon emissions by 200 tonnes and nitrous oxide emissions by 35 per cent in its first year

  • Oujé-Bougoumou’s project is North America’s first village-wide district-heating system to use biomass as a fuel source

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BOROUGH OF
SAINT-LAURENT,
QUEBEC

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ENERGY VISION Reducing GHG emissions is one of the goals of St. Laurent’s local sustainable development planning. In aid of this objective, it has replaced sodium street lighting with energy-efficient LED systems. LEDs now light two thoroughfares, Alexis-Nihon Boulevard and Toupin Boulevard, and have been installed on pathways and in parks.

RESULTS:

  • 40 per cent reduction in energy consumption compared to sodium lights

  • Light pollution reduced by 16,800 watts on Alexis-Nihon Boulevard

  • Light pollution reduced by 18,600 watts on Toupin Boulevard

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greater SUdbUry,
ONtarIO

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ENERGY VISION  Sudbury is pursuing several initiatives to increase the use of renewable energy and reduce consumption 15 per cent by 2019. Among them are energy-efficient retrofits in schools and public housing, electricity generation from landfill gas and replacement of vehicles in the municipal fleet with hybrids.

RESULTS:

  • Sudbury’s landfill gas system produces enough electricity to power 1,200 homes

  • The city is undertaking a pilot project using innovative sewer-pipe technology that captures heat from effluent and the surrounding ground, and carries it to homes on the system

  • A 569-square-metre solar wall at a high-rise managed by the Greater Sudbury Housing Corp. is saving 600,000kWh of electricity annually.

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SUMMERSIDE,
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND

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ENERGY VISION Summerside describes itself as a “small city with big ambitions.” That includes its thinking on energy. In 2009, Summerside constructed a 12-megawatt wind farm. Two years later, it initiated a smart-grid pilot program that detects excess capacity and uses the energy for heating or hot water.

RESULTS:

  • Summerside’s wind farm supplies 27 per cent of the city’s electricity

  • Participating premises on the grid system reduce GHG emissions by 42 per cent

  • The project proves new technology can be integrated into existing systems

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Guelph,
ONtarIO

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ENERGY VISION  In 2007, Guelph launched a 25-year energy initiative to reduce energy use by 50 per cent and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 60 percent. Achievements to date include the development of two district heating systems. Construction is also underway on a combined heat and power facility at a local business park.

RESULTS:

  • More than 300 systems installed during the first 14 months of the program

  • Projected 10,500-tonne reduction in GHG emissions over the 25-year lifespan of the first 300 heaters

  • Halifax hopes to bring the total number of installations to 700 this year

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HALIFAX REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY, NOVA SCOTIA

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ENERGY VISION Summerside describes itself as a “small city with big ambitions.” That includes its thinking on energy. In 2009, Summerside constructed a 12-megawatt wind farm. Two years later, it initiated a smart-grid pilot program that detects excess capacity and uses the energy for heating or hot water.

RESULTS:

  • Summerside’s wind farm supplies 27 per cent of the city’s electricity

  • Participating premises on the grid system reduce GHG emissions by 42 per cent

  • The project proves new technology can be integrated into existing systems

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by Nicole Schmidt and Cooper Langford

[/vc_column_text][mk_padding_divider size=”40″][mk_button dimension=”three” size=”large” outline_skin=”dark” outline_active_color=”#fff” outline_hover_color=”#333333″ bg_color=”#13bdd2″ text_color=”light” url=”/resources/energy-exchange-magazine/issue-4/” target=”_self” align=”left” fullwidth=”true” margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”15″ animation=”scale-up”]READ MORE STORIES FROM THE SUMMER 2015 ISSUE OF ENERGY EXCHANGE MAGAZINE[/mk_button][/vc_column][/vc_row]