City of Edmonton, AB
|Population||PCP member since||GHG reduction target|
Federal and provincial governments won't get far reducing greenhouse gas emissions without the deep involvement of local governments. Cities already 'get it.' Edmonton and other cities participated in founding ICLEI back in 1990 and Edmonton remains a leader in the Partners for Climate Protection program.
As a founding member of the Partners for Climate Protection (PCP) program and one of the first two municipalities to complete all five milestones for corporate GHG emissions, the City of Edmonton has demonstrated its dedication to climate action. In 1998, city and utility representatives developed a broad corporate emissions reduction plan; a year later, the city expanded the plan to take a community-wide approach that included input from all sectors. The strategy grew to include the community-focused CO2RE initiative, a program that helps residents and business owners reduce GHG emissions.
The city set new corporate GHG reduction targets in 2012 and is currently reviewing its community targets. Its Energy Transition Strategy identifies energy options and scenarios to achieve the goals set out in its 2011 environmental strategic plan, The Way We Green.
The Edmonton community GHG plan received support from FCM's Green Municipal Fund (GMF 3070).
Key projects and results
LEED® transit facility
The Edmonton Transit System Centennial Garage houses operational activities for a 250-vehicle bus fleet and features a solar wall and reflective roof. The facility was certified LEED® Silver in 2010.
- Solar wall reduces heating demand by about 1,800 gigajoules per year
- White reflective roof reduces energy required for cooling, reduces impact of thermal expansion and will prolong the roof's life
- Building incorporates recycled materials and ensures low volatile organic compound emissions
- Facility is 33 per cent more energy efficient than a typical building of the same type and size
- Water consumption for washing buses reduced by two million litres per bus annually
- Drought-resistant landscaping and low-flow fixtures reduce water consumption and costs
- Indoor air quality system helps eliminate contaminants
- Operable windows in occupied spaces provide natural daylight, ventilation and a more enjoyable work space
Edmonton composting facility
Since 2000, the Edmonton Composting Facility has been turning household organic waste and sewage sludge (biosolids) into compost. It is the largest of its kind in North America.
- Facility helps divert up to 60 per cent of residential waste from landfill each year
- Facility can process 200,000 tonnes of residential waste and 25,000 tonnes of biosolids
- Compost produced for farming and landscaping reduces the need for commercial fertilizers, and minimizes nitrate contamination of surface and groundwater (a human health hazard)
- Diverting organics can avoid siting new landfills — a cost that can run into millions of dollars
- Potential for new revenue streams, such as income from recoverable materials like metals and electronics, to offset facility operating costs
- Composting process reduces odours through exhaust system filters (a layer of wood chips, bark and finished compost) located outside the aeration building
- Finished compost now available to local farmers, landscapers, nurseries and oilfield reclamation companies
Solar and Energy Savings Program
Through a partnership with energy consultants and the City of Edmonton, the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues installed solar photovoltaic (PV) systems on six community association buildings. The participating associations invested between $6,000 and $11,000 for the necessary PV panels and hardware (depending on system requirements), as well as an electronic monitor that displays how much electricity is produced. Participants could also take advantage of energy audits through TAME (Taking Action to Manage Energy), a building retrofit program offered through the Municipal Climate Change Action Centre (MCCAC).
- 1.2-kilowatt solar PV systems produce an average of 1,300 kilowatt-hours of renewable energy each year, helping to offset a reliance on coal-fired plants, which generate more than half of all electricity in Alberta
- Retrofits in various buildings included furnace replacements, lighting upgrades, weather-stripping and the installation of ventilation controls and programmable thermostats
- Combined GHG reductions for the six buildings amount to roughly 55 tonnes per year
- Total of $135,610 invested in six buildings, including a $50,000 rebate from the MCCAC and a $30,000 contribution from the city
- Savings on in-house electricity were calculated based on the delivery price (11-14 cents per kilowatt-hour). According to EFCL, the value of energy generated in 2012 was $132 per year, based on an export of half the energy produced. EFCL expects that savings will grow in the coming years.
- System display shows community members how much electricity is generated, adding educational value to the project and supporting public relations activities
- Building retrofits have improved user comfort and safety
- Maintaining council awareness about climate change and GHG issues is an ongoing challenge, particularly when the membership of city council changes.
- New buildings and a larger municipal fleet are expected to increase GHG emissions; however, the city expects to partially offset these increases by purchasing more green power, retrofitting street lights and existing buildings, and reducing emissions from landfill.
- City council members recognized that reaching PCP Milestone 2 targets would depend on collaboration from all community sectors, so they developed one coordinated plan to address both community and corporate emissions.
- Meeting PCP targets required an updated sustainable buildings policy and a restructured environmental management system — one that would be compatible in all branch operations.