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Partners for Climate Protection

City of Surrey, BC

Milestone Five

Population PCP member since GHG reduction target
468,251 1996 Corporate:
  • 20% below 2009 levels by 2020


  • 33% below 2009 levels by 2020 (20% below baseline levels by 2020 for the residential sector)
  • 80% below 2009 levels by 2050

Worker installs insulated piping during energy system construction

Ensuring a high quality of life for residents now and in the future depends on a commitment to sustainable infrastructure and technology. We developed the Sustainability Charter as a guide and framework for good decision-making when it comes to planning for Surrey's future.
Dianne Watts, former mayor, City of Surrey


Since joining the Partners for Climate Protection (PCP) program in 1996, the City of Surrey has made steady progress in lightening its carbon footprint. The city's Sustainability Charter, adopted in 2008, guides its commitment to climate action, setting the foundation for all municipal decision making. All of the city's sustainability initiatives — from its 2013 Community Energy and Emissions Plan and waste management efforts to its transportation initiatives, including its green fleet program — work toward the charter's goals and vision. These include using triple-bottom-line accounting, conserving natural habitat, developing a thriving downtown with efficient transit, installing renewable energy systems, and maintaining systems to reach carbon neutrality. With the web-based Sustainability Dashboard tool, residents can follow the city's progress on a number of fronts.

Success in reducing corporate GHG emissions helped the city achieve Milestone 5 in 2012. As for community-wide GHG reductions, the city recently adopted a Community Climate Action Strategy, which received support from FCM's Green Municipal Fund (GMF 11040).

Key projects and results

Green Fleet

A recipient of the Fraser Basin Council's E3 Fleet Gold Rating, Surrey has been recognized for a variety of green fleet initiatives. The city has purchased hybrid, electric and compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles and taken steps to right-size its fleet. It has also optimized route strategies, enhanced fuel management, installed electric charging stations for the public and its fleet, and coordinated staff training.


  • GHG emissions reduced by 18 per cent for municipally owned and contracted fleet vehicles
  • Fleet fuel efficiency gains of 1.3 per cent year-over-year
  • Municipal commitment to reduce vehicle emissions 20 per cent by 2020   


  • Each municipal electric vehicle saves $1,000 a year in fuel costs
  • Driver training on fuel-efficient techniques improves gas mileage and reduces costs by 10 per cent   


  • City recognized for having one of Canada's top-rated municipal green fleets
  • 16 electric vehicle charging stations power both municipal and private electric vehicles

Sustainable Buildings

Surrey's sustainable buildings program has contributed to enhanced building performance and lower energy costs since 2009. Retrofits include lighting and window upgrades, high-efficiency heating and cooling systems, and renewable energy use. In many municipal buildings, a workplace energy conservation awareness program engages and educates staff.


  • Electricity use in city facilities reduced by more than 600 tonnes of GHGs between 2009 and 2013
  • A district energy system (geothermal) heats and cools the new City Hall and adjacent buildings, and is expected to reduce energy consumption by 60 per cent and related emissions by 1,200 tonnes per year
  • District energy system bylaw requires all City Centre developments of a certain size to be fully compatible for connection


  • Many energy conservation measures adopted at low or no cost, with paybacks of 1-2 years
  • Newly built LEEDâ Gold certified City Hall is expected to save almost $100,000 a year in energy costs   


  • Buildings (e.g. the LEED Silver Certified Semiahmoo Library and RCMP facility) are designed for increased user comfort and safety
  • Green building construction uses low-emitting materials including adhesives, sealants, paints and carpets

Waste Management

Launched in 2012, Surrey's three-bin Rethink Waste program uses CNG trucks to collect all waste, recyclables and organics. By 2017, the city plans to open a biofuel facility that uses municipal organic waste to produce biogas for its waste truck fleet.


  • Surrey achieved its 2015 70 per cent waste diversion target (up 38 per cent from 2007) within three months of the 2012 program launch
  • Waste headed to landfill decreased by 43 per cent
  • CNG trucks reduced GHG emissions by about 435 tonnes annually and particulate matter by 90 per cent   


  • Approximately $3 million saved annually on landfill tipping fees, personnel and fuel costs
  • Optimizing collection routes leads to lower maintenance costs, extends the city street lifespan (fewer trucks), and reduces travel time   


  • Bi-weekly pick up means fewer trucks on city roads
  • Taking part in waste diversion can encourage residents to adopt other ways of living more sustainably


  • There are limited resources for innovative programs to promote local sustainability as most municipal funding is allocated to basic services, such as police, fire, roads, sewers and water.
  • Developing messages to engage all community sectors is difficult in a large, culturally diverse city.

Lessons learned

  • Community engagement is vital to reaching long-term goals. The city consistently seeks input, using consultation principles developed in partnership with 38 community associations.
  • Adopting triple-bottom-line and lifecycle accounting approaches allows the city to test new tactics and technologies.

Page Updated: 30/04/2018