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2008 Energy

City of Saint John

Municipal Energy Efficiency Program

Population: 68,043

Financial prudence and environmental responsibility were the goals of the City of Saint John when it implemented more than 70 energy retrofit projects in more than 50 buildings and facilities under a new Municipal Energy Efficiency Program (MEEP). Projects included installation of a state-of-the-art energy management control system (EMCS) that remotely monitors energy use in each individual building; high-efficiency lighting and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems; heat recovery systems; daylight harvesting; LED traffic lights; light-level controls for street lights; an energy awareness program; a shutdown and start-up procedure; and energy management procurement procedures. The success of the program is demonstrated by an overall reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) of approximately 17 per cent from 1996 to 2007, and total cost savings of more than $5 million.


Located in the Eastern maritime province of New Brunswick, Saint John is known for its proximity to the Bay of Fundy, its beautiful pristine parks, and its history-lined streets. This urban centre has a population of 68,043.

In 1996, climbing operating costs, a declining tax base, and the municipal government's increasing focus on the environment prompted recognition by the city of a need to become more fiscally and environmentally responsible. In response, the City of Saint John adopted the MEEP as its environmental and fiscal code of conduct.

The program had three main objectives:

  • To reduce the total energy consumption cost for the city's building operations
  • To reduce GHGs
  • To take a leadership role in sustainability and environmental responsibility, and to help guide other municipalities and agencies in implementing their own MEEP


  • More than 70 energy retrofit projects have been implemented in more than 50 buildings and facilities. These projects have included installation of an EMCS, high-efficiency lighting and HVAC systems, daylight harvesting, LED traffic lights, light-level controls for street lights, an energy awareness program, a shutdown and start-up procedure, and energy management procurement procedures. These changes have saved approximately 9.5 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) or approximately 6,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually, a 17 per cent reduction from baseline levels.
  • Replacing incandescent traffic lights with LEDs reduced consumption to 35 kWh from 116 kWh alone, equivalent to the average energy use of 15 homes.
  • Water conservation measures reduced water use to 0.62 million gallons from 3.3 million gallons.
  • A high-efficiency heating and monitoring system combined with heightened energy awareness reduced oil consumption in the city's main garage to 47,000 litres from 98,000 litres, a 51 per cent reduction.
  • The city-adopted MEEP procedures have saved the city $1.24 million annually. The cumulative savings since 1996 have totalled $5.1 million.
  • An indirect benefit of the change to selected building interior lighting systems was not only better lighting, but also less noise, making the environment more comfortable for employees.

Lessons Learned

  • START BY CREATING AN ENERGY COMMITTEE. Energy manager and overseer of the MEEP Samir Yammine says that developing a committee dedicated to the project from the outset would be beneficial. For any program to be successful, it must be well organized, with open lines of communication, because "you have to get people on board."
  • HAVE A STRATEGIC PLAN AND SOMEONE TO OVERSEE IT. A detailed strategic plan is crucial to achieving the desired results. Make sure that council adopts and fully commits to the plan, and appoint a senior staff member with decision-making power to oversee the implementation.
  • EMBRACE TRANSPARENT COMMUNICATION. Experience revealed that open communication is the best approach, especially with the people who are running the buildings or the operations that are directly affected by the project. Those people are responsible for providing the necessary information (for example, the utility data) to move the project forward, and their commitment is important. Monitoring, measuring, quantifying, and sharing success stories are also very important. These steps elicit a positive response from people. "If you do something in a building, report [on] it," says Yammine. "People like to see what's going on."
  • EDUCATE STAFF. Take the time to educate staff on energy awareness. Outreach will help to gain interest and support. "This Municipal Energy Efficiency Program has to be owned, owned by the city staff.... Everybody has to buy into it ... the council, the staff, the senior management, even the community."

Partners and Collaboration

  • Efficiency New Brunswick
  • Enbridge Gas New Brunswick
  • FCM's Green Municipal Fund
  • Irving Oil
  • Natural Resources Canada
  • Province of New Brunswick
  • Saint John Energy
  • Saint John Environmental Committee
Page Updated: 21/12/2015