Population PCP member since GHG reduction target
19,234 1998
  • 20% reduction of 2004 corporate GHG levels by 2014
  • 6% reduction of 2004 community GHG levels by 2014

wood pellet boiler

Successful community energy planning requires a comprehensive organizational effort, from frontline staff up to mayor and council. A council that is serious about addressing its energy use in a meaningful way must devote adequate resources to that undertaking, and consistent reporting from a municipality's administration on energy planning efforts will encourage councillors to buy into the process.
Mark Heyck, Mayor, City of Yellowknife

Unlike provinces in southern Canada, the northern territories spend proportionately more on heating to cope with a demanding climate. With higher costs come higher emissions, so it's easy to see why the City of Yellowknife focused on energy to meet its GHG reduction targets and to reduce costs.

"The City of Yellowknife joined PCP to address our high energy costs and higher than average greenhouse gas emissions," said Mayor Mark Heyck. "The program provided us with a simple, structured process that helped us understand how we use energy, and what steps we could take to become more energy efficient."

A city-led planning committee — with membership that included local businesses, residents, electrical companies, schools and the territorial government — spent more than a year collecting and researching community energy options. The city's 2006 Community Energy Plan laid the groundwork for a series of energy projects, from biomass to waste heat capture systems and building retrofits. By 2009, Yellowknife had cut its corporate GHG emissions by 38 per cent, exceeding its target by 18 per cent.

Yellowknife's Community Energy Plan was funded, in part, by FCM's Green Municipal Fund (GMF 5189).

Key projects and results

Biomass district energy system

In 2008, the city installed a wood pellet boiler as part of its biomass district energy system at the Yellowknife Community Arena. It provides up to 95 per cent of the heating needs of multiple recreational buildings.


  • Annual oil consumption reduced by 268,000 litres
  • GHG emissions reduced by about 800 tonnes per year


  • Annual savings average $138,800
  • Jobs created through need for system maintenance


  • City keeps user fees low because of reduced operating costs

Ice plant heat recovery

The city installed an ice plant heat recovery system to capture and use waste heat at the Multiplex Arena and the Fieldhouse, a neighbouring recreational facility.


  • Annual oil consumption reduced by 120,000 litres
  • GHG emissions reduced by 250 tonnes per year


  • Annual savings average $33,990
  • The project had a 5.8 per cent return on the initial $586,000 investment 


  • Reduced operating costs allows city to keep user fees low 

 Lighting retrofits

The city retrofitted lighting systems in its major facilities, including the Multiplex Arena, Yellowknife Community Arena, and curling rink.


  • Electricity consumption dropped by 130,000 kilowatts per year
  • GHG emissions reduced by about 18 tonnes per year


  • Annual savings average $21,000


  • Improved lighting quality for the facilities


  • Gaining staff buy-in can be challenging, particularly when introducing new technologies or systems that may affect day-to-day routines.

  • Energy planning has many financial and environmental benefits, but it's also easy to postpone.

Lessons learned

  • Letting decision makers and the community know about your successes may encourage them to continue their support.
  • Working closely with staff — and providing adequate training — demonstrates first-hand that a project offers improvement.

Milestone Completion

  • Milestone 1 — 2006 (Corp.) 2006 (Comm.)
  • Milestone 2 — 2008 (Corp.) 2008 (Comm.)
  • Milestone 3 — 2008 (Corp.) 2008 (Comm.)
  • Milestone 4 — 2008 (Corp.) 2008 (Comm.)
  • Milestone 5 — 2013 (Corp.) 2013 (Comm.)


Partners and collaborators 


Rémi Gervais
Energy Coordinator
City of Yellowknife, NT
T. 867-920-5619

Mark Heyck
City of Yellowknife, NT
T. 867-920-5693

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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