Don't have an account? Create one now
Partners for Climate Protection

District of Saanich, BC

Milestone Five

Population PCP member since Corporate GHG reduction target Community GHG reduction target
109,752 1996 50% below 2007 levels by 2020 33% below 2007 levels by 2020

"Build on existing accomplishments and thoroughly integrate sustainability throughout your organization. Then don't let perfection get in the way of action."
Mark Boysen, Saanich Sustainability Coordinator


Saanich's Climate Action Plan, adopted in 2010, was designed to fit PCP's five-milestone framework. Between 2007 and 2012, Saanich completed many projects that cut its corporate emissions by 14 per cent. Two programs in particular — an energy service contract to retrofit corporate buildings and participation in the E3 Fleet program to improve vehicle performance — helped to cut emissions by more than 800 tonnes over the period.

The District's Carbon Fund finances new GHG reduction projects (building energy efficiency upgrades, solar thermal and photovoltaic systems, low-carbon vehicle integration, etc.) and matches the $25 per tonne provincial price for carbon, providing a predictable revenue source for carbon reduction initiatives.

"Through a combination of unique and practical steps, Saanich has been able to integrate sustainability and climate action throughout our community and our operations. Our Official Community Plan, strategic planning, financial reporting and day-to-day operations all support our greenhouse gas reduction efforts," said Saanich Mayor Frank Leonard.

Key projects and results

Solar thermal system

Saanich's Gordon Head Recreation Centre features an efficient solar thermal system for hot water in showers and sinks.


  • Estimated annual savings of 400 gigajoules of natural gas and GHGs reduced by 20 tonnes


  • More than $4,000 a year in savings at current natural gas prices


  • Installing the system provided Camosun College students with valuable training and on-the-job experience

Electric vehicles (EV) and EV chargers

Saanich has four electric vehicles and 12 charging stations (funded in part by BC's Community Charging Infrastructure Fund). The district also replaced its propane-powered Zamboni with an electric model at its ice rink.


  • Replacing just two of its gasoline-powered vehicles with electric models eliminates four tonnes of GHGs per year, and the Zamboni cuts 10 tonnes of GHGs per year
  • Vehicles are responsible for half (200,000+ tonnes) of Saanich's community emissions


  • The average electric vehicle can save as much as $1,000 annually on fuel alone


  • Stations provide residents with an alternative to increasing gas prices and access is free to EV drivers for the first year of operation 

Tap by Tap

Through the Tap by Tap program, the district and City Green Solutions offered a free assessment of water conservation opportunities and low-flow fixtures to multi-unit residential buildings.


  • Water consumption reduced by 40,000 litres annually
  • Reducing hot water use lowers energy use and GHGs


  • Average household savings are between $70-$135 per year


  • Higher water levels in Sooke Lake enhance water quality
  • Deferred need to develop new drinking water sources


  • Accurate community emissions data is difficult to obtain, however the BC government is helping to provide it with Community Energy and Emissions Inventory Reports. Historical and living data is collected from various provincial sources to create municipal-level reports. This not only provides a critical piece of the emissions puzzle for local governments, but also reduces the costs of data collection.
  • Staff participation and buy-in are needed to reduce emissions in operations, and the Carbon Fund helps to increase participation and uptake.
  • Increasing resident participation can be challenging. Saanich's Community Carbon Fund allows residents to calculate their personal carbon footprint and donate the offsets directly to local projects. Residents are also encouraged to become "Carbon Champions" to meet the district's community reduction target.

Lessons learned

  • Involve all departments. Saanich's municipal departments offset their emissions by contributing part of their respective budgets to the Carbon Fund. This helps managers pinpoint energy-saving opportunities and makes the system fair and consistent. Key to Saanich's success was providing all departments with responsibilities and actions.
  • Be flexible, but committed. The Climate Action Plan did not specify exact timelines or investments so Saanich was able to take advantage of opportunities as they arose. Annual reporting establishes accountability on plan actions.

Page Updated: 11/04/2018