Region of Waterloo, ON
|Population||PCP member since||GHG reduction target|
Working closely with our community partners is essential to maximizing the effectiveness of various environmental initiatives and achieving our GHG emission reduction targets. We have much to learn from each other and through such collaboration we send a powerful message to our citizens that this work has tremendous value to the broader community.
In 2009, Waterloo's regional council adopted its first Environmental Sustainable Strategy, committing the region to integrating sustainability into its decision-making processes. The strategy has had a significant impact on purchasing, planning and infrastructure decisions. As a newer PCP member, the region has worked hard to develop a comprehensive climate action strategy. In October 2013, the region achieved Milestones 4 and 5 for its corporate operations — a new record for completing the PCP milestone framework. Just two months later, the region released its community-wide action plan, which emphasizes shared objectives and collaboration with several community partners.
An updated emissions inventory showed that the region had reduced its corporate GHGs by nearly 15 per cent in 2011 compared to 2009 emission levels. Over 25,000 tonnes of GHG emissions were avoided by improving building and traffic signal energy efficiency; using renewable energy; greening fleet vehicles; improving wastewater operations; and capturing and using landfill gas.
Key projects and results
Solar PV roofs
The region has installed a number of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems on various municipal buildings such as its transit facility and new police building, community housing, childcare spaces, operations centres and water services facilities.
- PV systems feed more than 1,050 megawatt-hours of clean, renewable electricity annually to the provincial power grid under the Feed-in-Tariff program.
- The police and transit PV systems fulfill a portion of on-site energy demand, generating approximately 360,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity each year.
- Annual revenue from the Feed-In-Tariff program is estimated at $178,000.
- Net system revenue — estimated at $6.26 million over 20 years — will be reinvested in other energy conservation projects.
- Demand for solar PV technologies increases demand for and development of renewable energy technologies.
- Solar installations stimulate the local economy, creating new green industries and jobs.
LEED® Silver certification
A waste heat recovery system was installed in an existing building at Sunnyside Home, an 11-acre health and wellness facility. The system captures air exhausted from the building and stores it in thermal reservoirs. A newly-built centre on the site features a geothermal heating system and achieved LEED Silver certification.
- The waste heat recovery system avoids the need for 240,000 m3 of natural gas and reduces 450 tonnes of GHG emissions annually.
- The geothermal heating system supplies most of the space heating and cooling needs and is expected to cut energy consumption by more than 50 per cent and reduce GHG emissions by 170 tonnes per year.
- The waste heat recovery system saves about $84,000 in annual energy costs.
- The geothermal system eliminates most of the fuel and electricity costs associated with heating and cooling.
- Emission reductions improve local air quality, a particularly important element at a health care facility.
- Both projects showcase the region's commitment to health and sustainability.
Greening the fleet
The region's Green Fleet Strategy includes programs to enhance driver training, reduce idling, right-size or downsize vehicles where appropriate, and improve fuel efficiency by introducing new technology.
- In 2011, right-sizing vehicles cut GHG emissions by 100 tonnes.
- The region purchased 12 hybrid diesel-electric transit buses, which have reduced fuel consumption by 30 per cent on average, compared to diesel-powered buses.
- Results from a pilot project to install anti-idling devices on eight vehicles and five comparable control vehicles indicate that fuel efficiency could be improved by up to six per cent.
- Right-sizing vehicles has saved the region more than $40,000 in fuel costs.
- Energy-efficient vehicles reduce fuel consumption costs as well as regular maintenance costs.
- Reduced fuel consumption improves air quality by reducing local sources of air pollution.
- All transit and fleet operators are trained in a Smart Driver program, and become educational "ambassadors" by sharing their knowledge with others.
Services such as transit, police and ambulances continue to grow proportionally with population growth, putting additional pressure on managing a growing fleet and associated fuel consumption and emissions in the face of rising fuel costs.
More extreme weather events in recent years have created a challenge not only in terms of clean-up costs, but in funding, renewing and adapting local infrastructure to future climate change events.
Document progress to show credibility, and build momentum by frequent reporting on results and co-benefits.
It was important for the region to connect with its local electric and natural gas utilities, where staff were key contributors in sharing expertise, industry knowledge and usage data that supported the completion of Milestone 1.