Actions for Infrastructure

Focus: 

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What

Putting Your Community on Solid Ground

Infrastructure systems can deliver the services citizens need in an economically and environmentally sustainable manner. Such systems are efficient and integrated, and take advantage of ecosystem-based infrastructure to reduce carbon footprints and resource requirements, and provide better value. On average, operation and maintenance of delivery systems account for 80% of a local government’s infrastructure costs. As such, long-term sustainability is a key consideration for infrastructure planning.
An anaerobic digester at Metro Vancouver's Iona Island wastewater treatment plant produces gas for on-site power generation / Bud Fraser, 2008.

Sustainable, low carbon infrastructure typically within local government jurisdiction includes:

  • Water Supply, stormwater and wastewater systems that safely manage our water, are energy efficient, reduce the burden on water supplies and reduce ecological impacts.
  • Ecosystems such as forests, urban landscaping, and aquatic systems that are integrated into the green/ecological infrastructure network of the community.
  • Solid waste management systems that divert waste from landfills and utilize waste as a valuable source of materials and sometimes energy.
  • Energy systems that provide clean, renewable sources of heat and electricity. Historically, these systems are not usually part of local government operations, but opportunities are emerging.
  • Integration of the above systems wherever possible, and creation of closed loops that treat “waste” as a resource and potential revenue source.

Roads, sidewalks and other transportation infrastructure are also part of local government infrastructure. These are addressed in Development & Servicing Bylaws & Standards; refer to the Transportation sector for more transportation information.
Kelowna and Vernon compost wastewater biosolids to produce Ogo Grow fertilizer / M. Watt & G. Light, City of Kelowna

Infrastructure-related emissions can be addressed through: 

  • Optimization of system design and operations, typically within local government control.
  • Demand management (e.g., example water conservation), which reduces system sizing and energy consumption, can be strongly influenced by the local government, though it is dependent on user behaviour.

Sustainable, low carbon infrastructure is linked to sustainable community planning:

  • Complete communities provide local energy load diversity - in other words the different daily energy demand patterns of residential, commercial, and industrial uses that can support district energy systems with renewable energy sources
  • Compact communities can reduce infrastructure servicing costs, reduce energy needed for moving resources such as water and waste around, and support district energy systems
  • Green buildings can reduce energy demand, water demand, and wastewater flows.

Community Examples

[Use the tabs above to learn WHY this sector is important in GHG management and HOW you can reduce emissions in infrastructure.]