City of Kamloops – Clean Energy for the Community

The City’s 2023-2026 strategic plan commits to enhancing livability and sustainability. That means discipline in its environmental responsibility by enhancing the City’s resiliency and capacity for mitigating climate change and by actively implementing actions to reduce environmental impacts.

 

Vancouver lays out a strategy and a plan of action for its transition to 100% renewable energy

Image courtesy of City of Vancouver

In 2015, The City of Vancouver became the first city in North America to set a comprehensive renewable energy target which commits the City to get 100% of the energy used in Vancouver from renewable sources before 2050 and reduce carbon pollution by at least 80% below 2007 levels before 2050.

To guide this transition, the City has adopted a strategy and action plan to identify the actions that will make it possible:Renewable City Strategy and Renewable City Action Plan.

For those communities that cannot find the additional funds in their budget, you could narrow the scope of any modelling or forgo it entirely and still produce a solid set of actions.

PROJECT SUMMARY

Building on its history of taking action on climate change and its vision to become the Greenest City in the world, the City of Vancouver set a bold new target to source all of its energy from 100% renewable energy sources by 2050. This commitment and the strategic approaches are outlined in the City’s Renewable Energy Strategy. The Strategy was adopted in November 2015 and builds upon the Greenest City by 2020 Action Plan,which sets a goal for the City to eliminate dependence on fossil fuels and commits the City to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions by at least 80% below 2007 levels before 2050. The Renewable Energy Strategy also complements a number of other documents that guide the City’s vison, such as: Transportation 2040Vancouver Economic Action Strategy, and Healthy City Strategy.

In 2015, the City’s emissions were 2.8 million tonnes of CO2, one of the lowest GHG emissions per person in North America. In addition, at the time when the Renewable Energy Strategy was adopted, the City derived 31% of its energy use from renewable sources for its building and transportation needs and 90% of its electricity comes from hydro power, setting Vancouver ahead of the curve to achieving its renewable energy target.

The City of Vancouver’s Renewable Energy Strategy relies on three main strategic approaches to achieve the target of powering the city entirely with renewable energy:

  1. Image courtesy of City of Vancouver

    Reduce energy use through policies that, for example, increase building insulation requirements, improve transit, walking and cycling networks, etc.

  2. Increase the use of renewable energy by supporting, for example, adoption of electric vehicles, increased use of Neighborhood Energy Utilities, etc.
  3. Increase the supply of renewable energy through increased supply of other energy sources such as rooftop solar power generation, biofuels for transportation, etc.

In 2017, the City developed an action plan to make this target a reality. The Renewable City Action Plan outlines a 10-year roadmap and identifies 77 actions that would tackle emissions from buildings, transportation and waste. The action steps were informed by the findings from an economic modeling study that estimated building and transportation energy needs in Vancouver, the two sectors that account for the majority of Vancouver’s GHG emissions. The City will focus on energy needs related to areas where they have regulatory authority such as in building codes, land use, licensing, and permitting and bylaw enforcement. In areas outside of its regulatory domain, the City will advocate and build strong partnerships to achieve this target.

In its own operations, the City of Vancouver has committed to using a range of strategies that will ensure the City leads by example, including developing a comprehensive approach to pricing carbon emissions for municipal operations. The City will also be exploring ways to use its purchasing power to support the adoption of renewable energy and to use its business licensing and permitting authority to support the market adoption of renewable energy for activities undertaken within the city.

Energy Savings/GHG reductions

The City will focus its actions on the three target areas—buildings, transportation and waste—that are responsible for most of the City’s emissions. By first focusing on improving energy efficiency, the City will start with reducing overall energy needs. The remaining energy needs will be supplied primarily by using more renewable energy from existing sources before looking to increase the supply of renewable energy through opportunities like solar and wind power, hydroelectricity, geothermal, sustainable biofuels or renewable natural gas from solid waste.

The City is a firm believer that acting now on climate change will help reduce costs long-term by avoiding more severe climate impacts and the need for costly infrastructure and adaptation measures. 

In 2015, Vancouver’s energy was over 59.3 million gigajoules (GJ) a year, releasing 2.8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) as a result. Through cumulative results of actions taken towards achieving the 100% renewable energy goal, such as improvements in building performance, increased use of active transport, and improvements in vehicle efficiencies, the City anticipates a reduction of 1/3 of total energy use over 2014 levels by 2050, an equivalent of 21 million GJ energy reduction annually. Beyond reducing energy use, the City expects the strategy will result in a 20% increase of use of electricity by 2050 over 2014 levels, helping reduce the reliance on fossil fuels. The remaining energy needs would be supported through an increase in additional renewable energy supply through biofuels, and new neighbourhood renewable energy systems.

The City commits to using the most stringent international reporting standards to measure its success—currently the Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventories.

Business case
Image courtesy of City of Vancouver

Achieving the goal will help the City save money, lead to cleaner air and a healthier environment, and strengthen Vancouver’s economy.  The City is a firm believer that acting now on climate change will help reduce costs long-term by avoiding more severe climate impacts and the need for costly infrastructure and adaptation measures. The City will see long-term cost savings with more efficient use of energy and reduced energy consumption. To support the transition, the City will be exploring multiple funding mechanisms. This includes the use of traditional financing mechanisms that can be applied to non-traditional technologies, feed-in tariffs to support the increase of wind and solar power generation, green bonds that support green infrastructure projects, use of carbon tax revenues and other environmental levies to raise revenues for green funds that can be used for climate action as direct investment, tax relief, low-interest loans, and other supporting mechanisms.

Further, prices of renewable technologies are expected to continue to drop and remain relatively predictable in the near future while the price of fossil fuels is expected to increase. This provides a relative level of security for the City that investment in, and cost management of, renewable energy sources will support its business case for the transition.

Co-Benefits
Image courtesy of City of Vancouver

Strengthening Economy and Supporting Innovation
The City anticipates that the resulting technological and business transformation and innovation will bring about enhanced quality of life, improved equity, and create a stronger economy. Vancouver’s transition to 100% RE will strengthen the green economy and support innovation through new technological research, incubation, acceleration, and demonstration in the field of renewable energy and energy efficiency. It will also attract ‘green capital’ and enable more innovative financing mechanisms for clean and renewable businesses. The resulting innovation can further strengthen Vancouver’s international reputation as an environmental leader.

Enhanced quality of life
Powering Vancouver with energy from renewable sources will create more integrated and vibrant communities, which will in turn enhance quality of life, improve equity and make Vancouver more economically strong.

Improved Affordability
Vancouver residents will benefit from savings on energy related costs as a result of utilizing technologies that have lower operating costs, such as rooftop solar panels and electric vehicles, as well as having greater opportunities for energy autonomy and improved access to active transportation options.

Improved air quality
Sourcing energy from renewable sources will reduce the amount of pollution associated with burning fossil fuels and will bring about benefits of improved air quality and associated health improvements, as well as reduced pollution risk from leaks.

Strengthening Collaboration
The City cannot successfully achieve this transition in isolation. In order to ensure success, the City will work closely with various partners including the business community, academia, non-profit organizations, surrounding municipalities, other levels of government, public agencies and the public at large.

Lessons learned
  • The economic analysis (particularly household level costs and benefits) has been very helpful in discussing the Renewable City Action Plan (RCAP) with different audiences and the City would like to build on it going forward (e.g. better understanding of how the RCAP can help reduce energy poverty).
  • Two areas the City would like to improve in the RCAP over time are: 1) the integration between active transportation/transit work with our actions on increasing electric mobility, and 2) the integration between zero emissions buildings and housing/land-use discussions.
  • Having high-level plans like the RCS and RCAP in place is helpful because they lay out a clear vision for the City and create the space for the more detailed policies/programs/investments that are needed to achieve the objectives of a clean energy future.
challenges
  • At this stage, the City has struggled to get a high volume of zero emissions vehicles and low carbon fuels into the Vancouver market. Increasing the supply is largely out of the City’s jurisdiction, which is why it is  encouraging that the Province has moved ahead with the zero emissions vehicle mandate and a strengthened low carbon fuel standard. Both of these policies will make it easier for residents and business to choose electric vehicles and renewable fuels.
  • There is a lot going on between keeping on track with the City’s own plan, engaging with the community, and working with partners like the provincial government and utilities. It can be difficult to figure out what to prioritize with all of the competing demands. It helps to know there’s a great network of organizations and people working for similar objectives that you can lean on to keep things moving.
tools and resources

Provincial Policies

other examples
local government contact

Matt Horne
Climate Policy Manager, City of Vancouver
T: 604-873-7748
E: matt.horne@vancouver.ca

University Village Sustainable Local Area Plan

North Cowichan and Duncan’s University Village Sustainable Local Area Plan

University Village Sustainable Local Area Plan
University Village Sustainable Local Area Plan

North Cowichan and Duncan’s collaborative University Village Sustainable Local Area Plan sets climate-friendly urban design and land-use policies.

Working closely together, the municipalities of North Cowichan and Duncan have developed an innovative, climate-friendly neighbourhood plan for an area that straddles the municipalities’ common border. The University Village Sustainable Local Area Plan (Plan) applies to an area that had quickly become a regional hub facing significant development pressures. The Plan sets the framework for compact and energy-efficient future development that supports climate friendly modes of transportation.

Project Summary

The University Village Sustainable Local Area Plan (UVSLAP) sets land use and urban design guidelines for the area just north of downtown Duncan, near the Vancouver Island University Campus. It includes land within the Municipality of North Cowichan and the City of Duncan.

In 2007, North Cowichan and Duncan signed a Memorandum of Understanding that committed both municipalities to developing a local area plan for the University Village area. The two municipalities recognized that despite the fact that the area had evolved into a regional hub, it had been subject to inconsistent and ad hoc planning in the past. With development pressures mounting, and the increasing importance of sustainability to both municipalities, the time was right to initiate a comprehensive, sustainable and innovative planning process for the area.

In 2013 North Cowichan and Duncan selected a private sector consulting team to prepare the Plan. Both municipalities then agreed to Terms of Reference and an extensive public engagement process that included consultation with the neighboring Cowichan Tribes. The Plan was adopted by North Cowichan as a Bylaw in July 2015. The City of Duncan followed soon after, adopting a separate bylaw to implement its component of the Plan in September 2015.

Within the context of each community’s Official Community Plan, UVSLAP provides a finer level of planning and urban design for a unique, high-growth neighborhood for the next 30 years. A major focus of UVSLAP is climate change mitigation. The Plan follows the climate action objectives of the OCPs of the Municipality of North Cowichan and the City of Duncan by creating a land use framework that prioritizes walking, cycling, and public transit; directs growth in an environmentally sustainable and efficient manner; and utilizes development concepts that contribute to the reduction of GHG emissions and create opportunities for greater energy efficiency and renewable energy adoption.

The Plan’s policies promote sustainability and GHG reductions in several distinct elements of urban design, including:

  • built form (i.e. architecture and building design),
  • street design,
  • utilities servicing,
  • water conservation,
  • recycling, and
  • erosion and flood management.

The Plan’s policies for built forms are particularly notable for their innovative energy efficiency and sustainability policies. The Plan specifies that at least 10% of the estimated energy consumption for new and retrofitted buildings should come from on-site or community-based renewable energy generation. Building designs should include passive heating, lighting, and cooling features, and ensure that buildings can be adapted to future sustainable energy and grey water reclamation technologies. The Plan also specifies that, if a district energy system is built in the area, the municipalities must adopt service area bylaws requiring most buildings to be connectable to the district energy system.

Energy Savings/GHG reductions

Taking into account all of the Plan’s energy efficiency policies, the Plan predicts a reduction in GHG emissions from 6.8 tonnes per capita in 2016 to 3.4 tonnes per capita in 2044. It also projects reductions in per residential building energy consumption from the current 135 gigajoules /year to 68 gigajoules /year and a reduction in commercial/institutional reduction energy use from 1084 gigajoules/year to 542 gigajoules /year.

For communities in British Columbia that share municipal boundaries, the Plan can serve as a model for collaborative and sustainable community planning in such communities.

Business case

The University Village Sustainable Local Area Plan took four years to complete and cost $188,000. Since the majority (approximately 80%) of University Village is located within North Cowichan’s borders, that municipality contributed approximately $165,000 to the planning process, while Duncan contributed the remaining $23,000. These costs were offset by several planning grants received by the municipality. North Cowichan received $20,000 from BC Hydro and $63,000 from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Green Municipal Fund. Additionally, $20,000 was provided by the Province and another $15,000 by Duncan to help finance a design study of the portion of the Trans-Canada Highway between Beverly Street and Boys Road, a process that was integrated with the UVLAP.

Co-Benefits

While climate friendly policies are central to the Plan, it has the potential to also deliver a range of other sustainability benefits in a distinct and rapidly growing area within the Municipality of North Cowichan and the City of Duncan. The design and land-use framework in the Plan:

  • supports a diverse community by encouraging a mix of land uses, particularly a wide choice of residential homes, enhanced with neighbourhood commercial facilities;
  • enhances and expands urban forest coverage and park space;
  • preserves historical structures;
  • promotes compact, pedestrian-focused urban development;
  • establishes built form standards that strengthen a coherent and engaging urban form;
  • mitigates flooding; and
  • improves accessibility and mobility by providing complete, connective streets.
Lessons learned
Collaboration for sustainability takes time and effort

The Plan demonstrates that two municipalities can work closely together to achieve sustainability objectives in community planning. Throughout the process, project proponents from both municipalities made concerted efforts to ensure a mutual understanding of the needs and interests of both communities. For communities in British Columbia that share municipal boundaries, the Plan can serve as a model for collaborative and sustainable community planning in such communities.

Local government contact

Kyle Young, Assistant Manager of Planning and Subdivision
Municipality of North Cowichan
T: 250.746.3178
E: kyleyoung@northcowichan.ca

Dave Pady, Manager of Planning
Municipality of Duncan
T: 250.746.6126
E: dpady@duncan.ca

City of Campbell River City Hall Green Roof (courtesy of City of Campbell River)

Campbell River Gets a Green Roof

City of Campbell River City Hall Green Roof (courtesy of City of Campbell River)
City of Campbell River City Hall Green Roof (courtesy of City of Campbell River)

Campbell River City staff arranged for the old roof on City Hall to be replaced with a longer-lasting, cost effective roof with a vegetation layer.

Project Summary

In 2008 the City of Campbell River developed the Green City Strategy. To realize this strategy, in 2009 a green roof was installed on top of City Hall when the old roof was due for replacement. The City was the first local government in BC to install a green roof on an existing civic building. The project was the winner in the ‘Buildings’ category of the 2010 FCM Sustainable Community Awards.

Energy Savings/GHG reductions

Insulation from the vegetation layer reduced heating and cooling needs by up to 25 per cent, resulting in a reduction of 2 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.

Business case

Installation of the roof cost a total of $489,039.83, with capital costs covered entirely by a grant received from the Community Works Fund (Federal Gas Tax Fund). The green roof has both long and short term economic advantages. Energy savings are estimated at $106,000 over the life of the roof and total life-cycle cost savings are estimated at $196,000. Additionally, the lifespan of the underlying conventional roof is projected to double from 25 to 50 years, as the roofing membrane is protected from UV radiation, temperature variations, and physical damage. Operating costs are minimal, at $500 per year.

Co-Benefits

The project resulted in numerous benefits. The vegetation layer  annually filters 500 kg of fine airborne particulate matter, increases storm water runoff retention, and reduces urban heat island effect. The City also plans to use the green roof as an educational tool (e.g. compost and vegetable gardening demonstrations).

Lessons learned

Two important lessons were learned other local governments looking into installing green roofs may wish to consider.

Plan ahead to capture baseline data

Installing a meter on an electric furnace prior to putting in the green roof provides baseline data on the building’s heat demands and costs. With this baseline data staff may then track the exact energy savings in HVAC costs as a result of the Green Roof. Similarly, installing a water meter as part of a green roof project enables the tracking of storm water runoff retention.

Develop education and communications package

Developing a comprehensive education and communications package about the green roof retrofit prior to project inception can support a positive public perception of the benefits and financial costs of the project. The earlier this information is prepared and communicated to the public, the more opportunities for community engagement.

Local government contact

Amber Zirnhelt 
Sustainability Manager, City of Campbell River
T: 250-286-5742
E: amber.zirnhelt@campbellriver.ca

Dawson Creeck (courtesy of picturebc.ca: Peace Photographics)

Dawson Creek Carbon Fund

Dawson Creeck (courtesy of picturebc.ca: Peace Photographics)
Dawson Creeck (courtesy of picturebc.ca: Peace Photographics)

The City of Dawson Creek is committed to implementing emission reduction projects that will minimize their carbon liability prior to purchasing offsets to achieve carbon neutrality.

The establishment of the Carbon Fund has allowed the City to put a price on their corporate carbon that is then made available to implement corporate and community emission reduction projects, with corporate emission reduction projects given first priority. These reductions are intended to help reduce the number of offsets the City purchases each year to achieve carbon neutrality.

Project Summary

The City of Dawson Creek’s Carbon Fund (the Fund) is supporting the City’s Climate Action Charter commitments, including the goal to achieve corporate carbon neutrality by 2012. Approved by Council in June 2011, the Fund is established through the Dawson Creek Carbon Fund Policy, which allows the City to put a price on their corporate carbon emissions and then reinvest those funds back into projects that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Any corporate emissions that are remaining at the end of each year will be counterbalanced through the purchase of offsets, which are financed separately from the Fund. The City is committed to making every effort to implement feasible emission reduction projects before relying on offset purchases to achieve corporate carbon neutrality.

Energy Savings/GHG reductions

Because the Fund has been established to invest in a range of emission reduction projects, it is difficult to predict the specific amount by which corporate emissions will be reduced within the City. The Fund policy does, however, establish a number of criteria for the selection of projects including the requirement that emission reductions from projects are real, measurable and permanent. The identification of potential projects is underway, and first priority will be given to those that reduce the City’s corporate greenhouse gas emissions.

The City of Dawson Creek’s Carbon Fund allows the City to put a price on their corporate carbon emissions and then reinvest those funds back into projects that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Business case

The City initially established a charge of $100 per tonne of corporate GHGs produced annually. The investment is scheduled to increase by whichever is the greater of either $5 per year, or in accordance with increases in the BC Carbon Tax. The Fund is partially financed partly by grants received through the Climate Action Revenue Incentive Program (CARIP) with the balance being made up through contributions from the City’s general funds. The Fund currently holds an estimated $360,000.

Co-Benefits
  • Supports investments in corporate and community projects
  • Helps to drive the local green economy
  • Assists in insulating the City from rising energy prices
Lessons learned

Three key lessons can be drawn from the establishment of the Carbon Fund:

Political support is critical

Political support is critical to ensuring that any public perception that the Fund may result in ‘paying extra’ to achieve carbon neutrality is managed, and that the Fund is seen as demonstrating the City’s commitment to climate action.

Clear and consistent communication can build support

Clear and consistent communication with Council on the opportunities that can be derived from Fund investments in local government infrastructure can assist in building support and interest.

Develop processes to ensure consistency and transparency

As significant resources accumulate, ensuring that there is a process in place to select projects will ensure consistency and transparency in the use of the Fund.

Local government contact

Kevin Henderson
Director of Infrastructure & Sustainable Development, City of Dawson Creek
T: 250-784-3622
E: khenderson@dawsoncreek.ca

District's Landfill Methane Gas Capture Facility (image courtesy of Columbia Shuswap Regional District)

Columbia Shuswap Regional District Landfill Methane Gas Capture

District's Landfill Methane Gas Capture Facility (image courtesy of Columbia Shuswap Regional District)
District’s Landfill Methane Gas Capture Facility (image courtesy of Columbia Shuswap Regional District)

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) is using biogas from landfill to produce electricity.

This project is the first in BC to recover raw biogas from a landfill and upgrade it so it can be injected into natural gas distribution infrastructure. The Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) is also the first local government to partner with Pacific Carbon Trust and generate offset credits. By showcasing a viable alternative to producing electricity from landfill gas, this project is a key building block in FortisBC’s move to develop a Renewable Natural Gas offering.

Project Summary

In 2010 the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD), in partnership with FortisBC, initiated a project to cap the completed portion of the Salmon Arm landfill and begin capturing and upgrading the associated emissions to provide natural gas heating for hundreds of homes. The project is designed to capture methane gas released from the landfill before it can enter the atmosphere. The landfill gas is purified by removing all gases except for methane, making the gas almost identical to natural gas, and then piped into FortisBC’s local distribution network. Because this methane comes from organic waste it is called biomethane.

This project has a number of different components including:

  • The methane capture component, which was financed and led by the Regional District
  • The upgrading of the landfill gas to biomethane financed and led by FortisBC
  • Working with the Pacific Carbon Trust to develop carbon credit protocols and develop saleable offsets
  • Retention of offsets to allow the RD the potential to become the first local government in BC to achieve carbon neutrality through internal emission reduction projects
  • The development of a process that the Regional District defines as the “self managed approach”, which refers to using in house staff and local labour to see the project through instead of contracting it out.
Energy Savings/GHG reductions

This project is expected to remove 10,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents in 2012 – this is the equivalent of approximately 2,625 cars off the road for one year. It is expected that over 100,000 tonnes of CO2 will be removed from the atmosphere by 2016.

This project is the first in BC to recover raw biogas from a landfill and upgrade it so it can be injected into natural gas distribution infrastructure.

Business case

It is anticipated that over 10,000 carbon credits will be generated annually and used to offset the local government carbon footprint with remaining credits sold to the Pacific Carbon Trust. In addition, a partnership with Fortis Gas will result in an additional $50,000/year. The sale of carbon credits and methane gas to Fortis will enable the CSRD to see a return on its investment within 15 years.

Project Funding:

  • Methane capture portion $1.5 million financed by CSRD (partially through landfill user fees and internal reserve fund).
  • Methane conversion $1.5 million (Financed by FortisBC including $200,000 from the BC Bioenergy Network and $366,000 from the Provincial Innovative Clean Energy (ICE) fund).
  • Total costs of all components combined: $4 million.
Co-Benefits
  • The creation of an alternative revenue stream through the sale of emissions reductions to the Pacific Carbon Trust
  • The distribution of gas to local residences and business through partnership with FortisBC
  • Support for the Province’s commitment to reducing provincial greenhouse gas emissions by at least 33 per cent below 2009 levels by 2020. Methane has 21 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide
  • The treatment of roughly 1.1 million litres of leachate in the project’s first year through the use of a phytoremediation system (a bioremediation process that uses various types of plants to remove, transfer, stabilize, and/or destroy contaminants in the soil and groundwater)
Lessons learned
Hiring a competent project manager is important

Given that the project was the first of its kind in the province and had a number of different components, it was very important to have someone who could help to bring all the pieces together.

“Self managed” approach helpful

In addition to the contracted manager, the CSRD relied on Regional District staff and about 20 local contractors. This reduced cost, helped build internal capacity and contributed to the local economy.

Unforeseen delays changed timeline

Region-specific weather caused delays.

Details around developing carbon credit protocols took time

However, other local government will now be able to benefit from the hard work done developing carbon credit protocols.

Needed to ensure that the system for methane collection and utilization is designed for local area climate

The infrastructure at the Salmon Arm landfill continues to experience operational challenges in winter months, significantly more than spring, summer and fall.

Local government contact

Darcy Mooney 
Deputy Manager Environment & Engineering Services
T: (250) 833-5938
E: dmooney@csrd.bc.ca

New Westminister's Waterfront Park (image courtesy of City of New Westminister)

New Westminster’s New Waterfront Park

New Westminister's Waterfront Park (image courtesy of City of New Westminister)
New Westminister’s Waterfront Park (image courtesy of City of New Westminister)

New Westminister transforms an industrial brownfield into an urban waterfront parkland benefiting the environment and enhancing community livability.

Opened to the public on June 16th, 2012, Westminster Pier Park connects people to their community, their environment, and their history. The Park is the result of a goal set by the City to revitalize the industrial waterfront by creating an urban park that connects to the City’s historic downtown core; it is also a key component in “Experience the Fraser” initiative, which connects the Salish Sea to Hope along a series of riverfront trails. An award-winning “brownfield” remediation and development site, Westminster Pier Park offers space for the public, businesses, and tourists to connect and engage.

Project Summary

The New Westminster Pier Park area of 3.6 hectares had once been the hub for shipping, commercial and heavy industrial uses. As part of the City’s plan to revitalize the downtown core, the park was purchased, remediated and rezoned as parkland. Opened to the public on June 16th, 2012, it will contribute to increasing the vibrancy of New Westminster’s downtown district by providing new spaces for festivals and outdoor events, and walkable connections along the city’s waterfront and downtown neighbourhoods. The City anticipates that these amenities will improve investment, tourism, residential and commercial development, and employment.

Energy Savings/GHG reductions

Staff estimates that increasing green space will reduce CO2 emissions by about 1,800 tonnes annually.

Westminster Pier Park connects people to their community, their environment, and their history.

Business case

Two-thirds of the project was paid for in grants, and money borrowed by the City was through low-interest loan and financing programs.

Budget = $25.1M (projected Park construction costs) + $8M (land purchase)= $33M

By attracting business investment into the downtown as well as encouraging residents to come downtown to take part in physical, cultural, community and consumer oriented activities staff estimate local economic benefits to be $70 million.

Co-Benefits
  • Approximately 3,600 tonnes of contaminated soil were removed and remediated.
  • About 4,000 m2 of intertidal riparian land has been reclaimed using drought tolerant native and non-invasive plantings.
  • Less concrete means decreased run-off and more water absorption.
  • Almost all materials used in the park’s construction are recyclable.
  • Park land takes the place of contaminated or potentially hazardous land that could have posed health risks to the public, and creates a positive model for further brownfield remediation and development.

Westminster Pier Park will contribute to the revitalization of New Westminster’s vibrant downtown district by providing new spaces for festivals and outdoor events, and walkable connections along the city’s waterfront and downtown neighbourhoods. The City anticipates that these amenities will improve investment, tourism, residential and commercial development, and employment.

Recognition
  • (2012) Federation of Canadian Municipalities Sustainable Communities Award (Brownfield)
  • (2012) Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators Environment Award
  • (2011) Canadian Urban Institute Brownie Awards (Sustainable Remediation Technologies & Technological Innovation)
Lessons learned

Westminster Pier Park was built in a short time frame (from land acquisition to new construction took only 36 months). This timing presented some challenges in meeting the timing constraints of grant funding agencies. The approach to site remediation involved both financing and risk management, which created some delay in obtaining a loan agreement, since final risk management (completed near the end of the project) had to take place before funds could be advanced. Also, the approval time for railway crossings was considerable, and varied due to the number of companies involved. Developing a timeframe which overlaps processes (such as financing, safety, delivery, and approval timelines) with contingency plans and best/worst case scenarios would have helped anticipate some of the challenges.

Local government contact

Jim Lowrie, Eng.L.,MBA
Director of Engineering Services
City of New Westminster
T: (604) 521-3711
E: jlowrie@newwestcity.ca

Blair Fryer
Communications Manager
City of New Westminster
T: (604) 527-4559
E: bfryer@newwestcity.ca

Gary Holowatiuk
Director, Financial Services & Information Technology
City of New Westminster
T: (604) 527-4514
E: gholowatiuk@newwestcity.ca

Cycling Infrastructure and Parking in Vancouver

Vancouver Makes Cycling Safer for People of all Ages and Abilities

Cycling Infrastructure and Parking in Vancouver
Cycling Infrastructure and Parking in Vancouver

The number of bike trips in Vancouver increased over 40% soon after the implementation of the City’s Separated Bicycle Lanes Program, resulting in fewer commutes made by vehicles and lowered traffic related GHG emissions.

Project Summary

The City of Vancouver launched a Separated Bicycle Lanes (SBL) Program in 2009 with construction of a major cycle track on a high-traffic city bridge — the Burrard Bridge cycle track.

The City opened three more separated bike tracks by the end of 2010. The three tracks (the Dunsmuir Viaduct, Dunsmuir Street and Hornby Street) together connecting the Vancouver’s west side through the downtown to east Vancouver. Since then, citywide cycling ridership has grown over 40% while collision rates between cyclists and vehicles have fallen.

Safety was indicated as one of the biggest barriers to cycling in Metro Vancouver, based on a UBC study. This barrier influenced the design decisions when designing the cycle tracks. The City implemented both one-way and two-way separated bike-lanes. Availability of space was a factor in whether one-way or two-way lanes were built with a strong preference for one-way facilities on streets with two-way motor vehicle traffic.

Before constructing the Dunsmuir Street track, the City analyzed and tested three different types of barriers between the track and traffic. The three barriers were a row of planters, a concrete median with bike parking, and a row of parked vehicles. They found the cost of bike lane construction was less for sections that were protected by parked cars. These sections also worked best with one-way bicycle traffic. Bike lanes separated from traffic with a physical barrier create safer cycling conditions and increase comfort level for people of all ages and abilities.

Other improvements to cycling infrastructure include:

  • highlighting potential conflict zones with paint and pavement markings;
  • designing safer intersections and crossings with improved visibility;
  • addressing potential conflicts through turn restrictions and signal priority;
  • using painted bike boxes to facilitate turn movements;
  • addressing ‘dooring’ concerns with a buffer space between parking cars and the bike lane; and
  • designing for safe, accessible transit stops with level treatments and space for lining up in the buffer space between the bike and motor vehicle lanes.

Encouraged by this initial success, the City expanded its efforts and defined new cycling goals in the Transportation 2040 Plan. The Plan also directly supports the Greenest City 2020 Action Plan. goal to have the majority of trips in Vancouver be by transit or active transportation modes.

Actions set in the new Transportation 2040 Plan (for example, to achieve the target of having two thirds of all trips be by alternative transportation) will greatly expand active transportation options in Vancouver. Expansion will provide healthier alternatives to commuting by vehicle and help reduce amount of air pollution.

The City is moving forward and will add a host of new or improved cycling facilities including upgrades to the busy Adanac Bikeway, a Canada Line bridge connection in South Vancouver, and improvements to the north end of the Cambie Bridge.

Energy Savings/GHG reductions

Cycling is estimated to be the fastest growing mode of transportation in Vancouver. Within three years of installing the first separated cycle lane in the city, the number of trips made on bicycles increased over 40%. Cycling ridership continues to increase city-wide and on individual corridors.

Vancouver’s overall cycling mode shares compare favourably across North America, typically ranking around the top three. Increase in the number of commutes by cycling contributes to lower GHG emissions due to fewer trips made by vehicles and shortened time it takes for vehicle travel.

Even more ambitious target was set in the Transportation 2040 Plan to have cycling, walking and transit account for two thirds of trips in Vancouver by 2040.

An even more ambitious target was set in the Transportation 2040 Plan to have cycling, walking and transit account for two thirds of trips in Vancouver by 2040.

Business case

Since the program’s implementation the number of bike trips was on the rise while number of collisions started declining. Within less than a year of opening the Dunsmuir lane ICBC recorded a drop of 18% of all collisions. The Bicyclists’ Injuries & the Cycling Environment, a study by the UBC Cycling in Cities research program suggests that cycle tracks result in a nearly 10-fold reduction in cycling collisions, compared to major streets without bicycle facilities. This reduces stress on emergency services and health care.

Co-Benefits
Lifestyle

By encouraging active transportation, the City supports healthier and more affordable lifestyles, improved mental health, decreased injury rate and obesity—which all contribute towards reduced long-term burden on health care system. Bicycle and pedestrian oriented development helps create cohesive, vibrant communities with improved social interaction. Studies related to these co-benefits can be found on the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Medicine website.

Safety

Pedestrians have more room to walk because of the bike lanes. The bike lanes act as a buffer between the sidewalk and car traffic helping to reduce incidences of people cycling on the sidewalk. Since cycle track installation, number of cyclists using sidewalks on Hornby Street dropped by 80%. The bike lanes also create space for some street furniture (such as bike racks) to be relocated into the buffer space between the bike and motor vehicle lanes leaving more space on the sidewalk.

Economic

There are financial benefits for local business—surveys show that people who cycle often have more disposable income than drivers, are more likely to shop locally, and tend to spend more money over the course of more frequent shopping trips. In addition, the cost of building cycling infrastructure can be less than building infrastructure for automobiles.

Lessons learned
A robust monitoring program is important

Many cycling infrastructure projects require road space reallocation of some kind, often from general traffic or parking lanes and may use traffic calming or diversion tactics to reduce motor vehicle traffic and speeds. With these changes, concerns may be raised about loss of parking, increased travel times for motor vehicle traffic, or more congestion.

Data collection provides real evidence

Data collection and monitoring can provide real evidence to dispel some of these concerns, communicate tangible benefits, and even help improve performance after projects are built. The City regularly measures things like parking availability, collision rates, traffic volumes for all modes, and travel times. Thus far, the projects that have been built have increased cycling ridership and safety without significant congestion or travel time impacts.

Local government contact

Dale Bracewell
Manager, Active Transportation, City of Vancouver
T: 604-871-6440
E: dale.bracewell[at]vancouver.ca

Kelowna SmartTRIPS Program (image courtesy of City of Kelowna)

Kelowna’s Active Transportation Program: smartTRIPS

Kelowna SmartTRIPS Program (image courtesy of City of Kelowna)
Kelowna SmartTRIPS Program (image courtesy of City of Kelowna)

Kelowna’s smartTRIPS Program encourages citizens to use non-motorized transportation and transit.

The goal of Kelowna’s smartTRIPS program is to work more directly with residents of a specific neighbourhood to help them to increase biking, walking, transit use, carpooling, and other active transportation options. The program aims to reduce single occupancy driving trips.

Project Summary

Kelowna’s smartTRIPS program is a partnership between the City of Kelowna, Regional District of Central Okanagan, District of West Kelowna, District of Peachland, District of Lake Country and Westbank First Nation developed to address region-wide climate action in the transportation sector. The program encourages residents to reduce the use of personal vehicles and increase the use of active transportation through walking, cycling, and taking transit.

In Spring 2012, Kelowna launched their first neighbourhood trip planning project in Pandosy, the pilot neighbourhood for smartTRIPS neighbourhood program. The program ran for 10 weeks, targeting 1500 households and a small town centre/commercial area. smartTRIPS was based on the community-based social marketing (CBSM) strategy, an innovative approach designed to communicate benefits of a desired activity in addition to identifying and removing barriers which impede a desired long term behavioral change.

The key elements of the Pandosy smartTRIPS program design were: obtaining a commitment from residents, focusing on establishing personal contact to engage citizens rather than distribution of general information, and encouraging residents to actively track changes in their transportation behavior.

The Pandosy pilot involved the following:

  1. Inviting residents in each household to participate in the program and to request specific resources such as transit guides, cycling and walking maps, bike maintenance and safety guides etc.
  2. Integrating the program with other existing programs such as Bike to Work and Bike to School Week.
  3. Encouraging residents to use the proprietary online trip tracking tool to follow number of trips made, km travelled, calories burned and greenhouse gas emissions reduced.
  4. Adding Kelowna’s city-wide bicycle network to Google Maps to allow residents to plan cycling trips.
  5. Establishing new partnerships and strengthening existing relationships between local governments and neighbourhood businesses.
  6. Conducting traffic counts (all modes) at key intersection as well as transit ridership counts at all neighborhood bus stops prior to program implementation in order to further evaluate its impact on mode shift.
  7. Distributing general transportation survey to all residents in Pandosy prior to the program and one year later, to help gauge program impact on participants and non-participants alike. In addition, participants were sent a survey to evaluate the program.

Pandosy smartTRIPS program evaluation survey results indicate that 50% of participants were using active transportation more than they did prior to the program, and more than 90% said that they would continue to use active transportation.

Energy Savings/GHG reductions
  • In the 2011 baseline survey, 55% of respondents reported using motorized vehicles for commuting an average of 12.1km to work/school. One year later, in the 2012 post pilot survey, respondents using a motorized vehicle reduced to 49% and the average commute distance dropped to 7.1km. It is estimated that this represents an overall 47% reduction in VKT to work/school for the neighbourhood.*
  • In the 2011 baseline survey, 64% of respondents said they use their car daily, while in 2012 post pilot survey, that number dropped to 57%. This represents an overall reduction of 7% in daily vehicle use.
  • For households participating in the program, the primary mode of transportation ‘own vehicle’ reduced from 67% to 64%.

* Please note that this answer was interpolated since combining answers from a few survey questions was the only way to make this calculation!

More than fifty per cent of participants are using active transportation more than they did prior to the program, and more than ninety percent said that they would continue to use active transportation.

Business case

The smartTRIPS program development cost, including the delivery of Pandosy neighbourhood pilot was $58,900, $28.08 per household in the target area. Payback is difficult to calculate but includes increases in transit revenue, and reduced impact on transportation infrastructure (road and parking facility construction costs).

Co-Benefits

In addition to curtailing the greenhouse gas emissions from vehicle travel, reducing noise and air pollution, contributing to improved health and quality of life as well as potential reduced healthcare costs, there are other less direct, potential co-benefits; for example, fostering a stronger sense of community, supporting local area shopping, encouraging community ambassadors for active living, and increasing the visibility of active transportation modes. See report by Victoria Policy Transport Institute the for more information on co-benefits.

Individual Payback

Individuals can calculate vehicle and parking cost savings based on the stats found in the Evaluating Non-Motorized Transportation Benefits and Costs document.

  • Average vehicle operating cost savings: $0.225* (cents per reduced motor vehicle-mile)
  • Average parking cost savings: $0.360 (cents per reduced motor vehicle-mile)

*Larger savings result if some households can reduce vehicle ownership costs.

Lessons learned
Have a number of specific targets

The program goal to reduce VKT and increase the use of active transportation was very broad. Although some measurable targets were set (eg. 10 -20% reduction in VKT), a greater number of specific targets would have been more useful for the program.

Increase Community visibility

Organize staff attendance at many existing community events, block parties, etc. with an information booth to attract more community participation and awareness.

Local government contact

Mike Kittmer
Active Transportation Coordinator
Regional Services Dept.
T: (250) 469-8531
E: mkittmer@kelowna.ca

Telkwa Office Renovation (image courtesy of Village of Telkwa)

Telkwa’s Deep Collaboration on a Mini Biomass District Heating System

Telkwa Office Renovation (image courtesy of Village of Telkwa)
Telkwa Office Renovation (image courtesy of Village of Telkwa)

The Village of Telkwa turns the need for a new municipal office into an innovative community partnership on a biomass district energy system at Hankin Corner.

Project Summary

The Village of Telkwa took climate action in the building sector by retrofitting an existing derelict building for a new municipal office and installing a biomass boiler district heating system (the system).The system generates heat energy, through burning wood, which is then transferred into a distributed hot water heating system to heat their municipal office and neighbouring buildings.

The project was part of the implementation of the Village Official Community Plan (OCP) and Integrated Community Sustainability Plan (ICSP). The Village plans prioritize repurposing old or abandoned buildings before building new ones. The plans also call for climate change mitigation measures. Based on these plans the Village acquired an abandoned building in 2011 when the old Village Office became unfit for occupation.

The abandoned building was close to an elementary school, a restaurant, a vacant bakery and five single residential homes – all buildings that could benefit from a biomass district heating system. They became partners. With the partnership between the school, residences and commercial sector the district heating system became a feasible option as a clean alternative energy solution to heat a portion of the downtown core.

Construction began in early fall of 2013. The biomass to fuel the boiler was sourced from wood chips produced locally from reject wood slabs supplied by a local sawmill and from standing deadwood.The 300 kilowatt (KW) biomass boiler was officially running by November 2013. The municipality started distributing heat to the school immediately. Businesses and residences were brought on incrementally. The building was big enough to include approximately 5000 square feet of rental space. New businesses are being added to the partnership and connected to the system as spaces are leased.

The municipal system is now the primary supplier of heat for the partners. The heated water generated in the new system supplies the partner buildings through their retrofitted existing electric and natural gas infrastructure.

Original systems are available for backup. For example, the gas boilers in the Telkwa Elementary School act as a backup system to the Village biomass system. While the biomass system is the primary energy source – backup is needed if the temperatures approach -30C or cannot otherwise keep up with the cold weather demands required by the entire district heating system.

Not only does the Village now run an innovative district energy system and have municipal offices that use less energy, they have improved the overall community design with a great looking building.

The project was managed internally by the Village’s Engineering Department. Telkwa’s past Director of Engineering was the lead project manager. Telkwa’s Engineer Technologist Scott Beck assisted with project management and oversaw the renovation to the building. “It’s been a positive influence on the community” says Beck, “the newly completed property has spearheaded community involvement – we are seeing other businesses improving their properties as well.”

Energy Savings/GHG reductions

The district heating system can replace 90% or more of required heating energy and save the consumer up to 35% in heating costs.

Heat energy generated by biomass boilers is different and cleaner than heat energy generated from conventional wood burning stoves. The biomass boiler system is designed to control and reduce emissions. As a result, carbon dioxide (CO2) reduction is estimated to be over 110 tonnes a year while having capacity to generate 300 Kilowatts (kW) energy per hour.

“It’s been a positive influence on the community and spearheaded community involvement.” – Scott Beck

Business case

The Village office is closely tracking the cost versus pay back of the system. The system is relatively new (at the time of publishing this case study), therefore calculations on return on investment are just starting to emerge.Projections estimate a mildly positive return on investment in coming years with a current expectation to be revenue neutral, with heat savings going to property and building owners.

The feasibility study prior to the project cost $25,000. The total actual project cost was $704,320.00, the installation of the district heating system portion of the project cost was estimated at $396,980. A complete exterior retrofit was estimated at $247,250. The remaining $60,090 was spent on building retrofit improvements and boiler fuel storage.

Financial support for the feasibility study ($25,000) came from the Omenica Beetle Action Committee and expertise from the Wood Waste to Rural Heat Initiative. The Federal Gas Tax Innovation Fund provided $644,230.00. The remaining expenses totalling $60,090 came out of the Village budget. Northern Development Initiative Trust later provided an additional grant to build three commercial rental spaces.

The Village and School District will save money on future carbon taxes because of the reduction of natural gas used to heat the municipal office and Telkwa Elementary School.

Staff at the Village of Telkwa estimate that the annual carbon tax savings would be approximately $2,850. This comes from an estimated savings in energy of 1740 GJ converted to greenhouse gas emissions (114 tonnes) and multiplying by the carbon tax ($25 per tonne of GHG emissions).

In addition, the municipality charges for heat supplied to partners. The municipality is not a British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) regulated utility company; it supplies heat to the buildings that are connected to the system through energy service agreements. Building energy meters are used to measure consumption. The data is recorded and then used to invoice property owners; at a reduced rate – about 20-25% less than the current rate for natural gas.

The consumer benefits from an approximate 35% reduction in heating costs due to a combination of factors; delivered efficiencies, existing equipment efficiencies, building envelope efficiencies, and distributed heat through hydronics versus forced air.The system’s wet heat (water) is more efficient than forced air. The system is more efficient than existing electric or natural gas systems which typically have a higher heat conversion loss. Any losses in existing systems are negated by being connected to the new system resulting in cost savings.

The system was built to accommodate future expansion at minimal cost. The Village receives rental income from leased retail space with potential for more rental income as more businesses are brought on board.

Co-Benefits

The biomass system is now a focus for community education and engagement around energy options. The commercial space for local businesses is also now a driver of economic development. The improved aesthetics of the community makes the Village more appealing for tourism, business development and attracting new residents as well as creating a public meeting space for the community.

Lessons learned
Start early with a collaborative, multi-disciplinary approach

Telkwa urges other local governments considering constructing a biomass district energy system to research the long-term reliability and cost of the wood chip supply and ensure the chips are compatible with the boiler system installed. There can be challenges to getting the chips and pellets at an economical cost.

The Village is proud of its ability to act as the General Contractor. By doing so, the Village was able to reduce costs and make changes and/or decisions quickly when required. Furthermore, once the boiler was installed the Village was able to quickly hire local contractors to complete the remaining building retrofits and connect the system to the other properties.

Local government contact

Scott Beck
Engineering Technologist, The Village of Telkwa
P: 250.846.5212
E: scottbeck@telkwa.com