The City of Victoria plans to significantly reduce emissions of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through a broad, comprehensive and collaborative strategy. In 2016, Victoria City Council committed to two ambitious targets: by 2050, the community will reduce its GHG emissions by 80% below 2007 levels; and renewable sources will supply all of its electricity needs.

To meet these goals, the city developed a Climate Leadership Plan in consultation with key stakeholders in the community. Council approved the Plan in July 2018.

“The Climate Leadership Plan aims for Victoria to inspire residents, businesses and community groups, as well as other municipalities, to reduce energy consumption and to adapt to climate change,” says Jess Dawe, Victoria’s Manager of Energy and Climate Action.

The Plan includes a wide range of initiatives, including a pilot project to subsidize the cost of energy-efficiency retrofits in eligible rental apartments, and the adoption of the performance-based BC Energy Step Code, which sets the course for net-zero-energy-ready buildings.

Two of Victoria’s initiatives received supporting grants from FCM’s Municipal Climate Innovation Program (MCIP):

  • The All Ages & Abilities Bicycle Network Infrastructure Project consists of 32 kilometres of safer cycling routes connecting downtown to neighbourhoods across the city. Anticipated benefits include improved air quality, fewer GHG emissions and more resilient transportation infrastructure. Victoria is also working with Simon Fraser University to monitor the Project’s long-term impacts on ridership, safety and public health.
  • The second MCIP-funded project involves a feasibility study for a new energy system at Victoria’s historic City Hall, built in 1890. “The building’s main boiler is near the end of its lifecycle, so it’s a perfect time to assess long-term energy needs,” says Jess Dawe. “This project will help us to identify how to meet them in a more sustainable way.”

Along with a full energy audit of the building envelope and mechanical systems, the project will include a plan for City Hall to achieve net-zero carbon emissions and to rely on renewable sources for 100% of its energy needs.

“Moving a heritage building like City Hall to net-zero carbon would be a significant accomplishment,” says Jess Dawe. “The roadmap is the first step and we expect that the project could generate valuable lessons for heritage buildings across Canada.”

As a signatory to the BC Climate Action Charter and the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, the City reports on corporate and community energy use and emissions annually. By addressing issues such as community transportation and public sector building energy use, this capital city is on its way to achieving a low-carbon, resilient and prosperous economy.

© 2020 Federation of Canadian Municipalities