Population PCP member since GHG reduction target
10,230 2007
  • To reduce corporate emissions by 25% below 2007 levels by 2015, 36% below 2007 levels by 2020 and 43% by 2025

  • To reduce per capita GHG emissions by 57%, community-wide GHG emissions by 43%, and community-wide energy use by 26% by 2040

Nelson municipal library

The City of Nelson is forging ahead with reducing emissions and lowering its energy use, and I am pleased that we continue to provide leadership in this area. Achieving the PCP milestones shows our dedication and commitment to taking action on climate change. 
John Dooley, Mayor, City of Nelson

Since adopting its corporate GHG reduction plan in 2010, the City of Nelson has undertaken full and partial building retrofits, green fleet initiatives, and staff and stakeholder engagement workshops. Based on its 2013 emissions inventory, Nelson has already reduced emissions by 20%. Ongoing emissions monitoring and a yearly GHG emissions inventory allow city staff to determine whether estimated savings and reductions targets are being met. Since 2010, the city's GHG reduction projects have saved more than $80,000 in energy costs.

On the community side, the city believes that sustainability goes hand in hand with a productive economy, a well-protected environment and healthy citizens with strong cultural connections. The city's Path to 2040 Sustainability Strategy was produced through a collaborative process with more than 30 community stakeholders. The city's community GHG reduction goals were further developed in its Low Carbon Path to 2040 Community Energy and Emissions Action Plan that will be used to guide all future planning and policy decisions related to community GHG reduction initiatives.

Key projects and results

City Hall and Civic Centre retrofits

A boiler retrofit was completed at the City Hall and Civic Centre in 2012. Engineers calculated heat losses for each building, and then sized the new system according to the heat load.


  • Natural gas consumption reduced by 31 per cent at the City Hall and 35 per cent at the Civic Centre.
  • Overall GHG emissions were cut by 124 tonnes, equivalent to a 10 per cent reduction in corporate emissions.


  • Annual cost savings of $25,000 with a 13-year simple payback.


  • The installation tender was awarded to a local contractor for the installation, providing jobs.

Digital control system

A digital control system was installed in a mixed-used building that includes the police station and municipal library. The system regulates the building's HVAC system through thermostats, exterior air temperature and CO2 sensors.


  • There was 19 per cent reduction in natural gas consumption and electricity use decreased by six per cent.
  • GHG emissions were reduced by 15 tonnes.


  • Annual cost savings are $4,400 with a 10-year simple payback.


  • User comfort has been improved with individually controlled building zones, so that specific areas can be heated or cooled.

Wastewater treatment plant biogas boiler

A biogas boiler was installed to use the methane produced at the city's wastewater treatment plant as a heating source.


  • GHG reductions are estimated at 60 tonnes per year.
  • Between 50-80 per cent of the methane generated at the plant is used.


  • Reduced propane use is estimated to save the city $40,000 a year.
  • Excess heat is used to heat external air being brought in for a new ventilation improvement project; avoiding a $30,000 increase in energy costs and an additional 45 tonnes in GHG emissions.


  • Biogas decreases the use of other types of energy, leading to greater energy security.
  • Environmental pollution and odours are decreased. 


  • Many of the city's first projects were of the "low-hanging fruit" variety; longer-term and potentially more expensive projects will be an ongoing challenge.

  • Different priorities at other levels of government can affect the city's ability to move quickly on climate change issues.

Lessons learned

  • Engage all parties as early as possible in the process and spend time communicating with each group.

  • Gaining staff support is an important step in the implementation process, regardless of the type of project — department heads met annually with their staff to involve them in the planning process and collect feedback on GHG projects.

Milestone Completion

  • Milestone 1 — 2010 (Corp.) 2012 (Comm.)
  • Milestone 2 — 2010 (Corp.) 2012 (Comm.)
  • Milestone 3 — 2010 (Corp.) 2012 (Comm.)
  • Milestone 4 — 2011 (Corp.), IP
  • Milestone 5 — 2012 (Corp.)

Partners and collaborators


Kevin Cormack
City Manager
City of Nelson
T. 250-352-8203

Fiona Galbraith
Corporate Energy Coordinator
City of Nelson

PCP and ICLEI logo

This resource is available through the Partners for Climate Protection (PCP) program. PCP is managed and delivered by FCM and ICLEI—Local Governments for Sustainability Canada (ICLEI Canada) and receives financial support from the Government of Canada and ICLEI Canada.

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