Economic Tools to Reduce Household Waste and Related Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Reducing and diverting waste can be an important step in GHG mitigation and Canada’s overall climate change approach. This Policy Brief focuses on economic policy tools to encourage waste prevention and diversion at the final consumer stage. The amount of household waste heading to landfills increased by 18% in Canada from 2002 to 2014. That is in contrast to our peer countries in the OECD where waste has been decreasing. Environmental pricing instruments are an important tool for helping reverse this trend. This Policy Brief focuses on economic policy tools to encourage waste prevention and diversion at the final consumer stage.

Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of Electric Vehicles in Canada

This report compares the environmental life cycle assessment (LCA) of both Electric Vehicles and Gas Vehicles in the road transportation sector. Impact assessments are carried out at vehicle’s manufacturing (mining and assembly), use (driving) and end of life (recycling and disposal) phases. In this environmental life cycle assessment of electric vehicles in Canada, the GHG emissions and primary energy consumption are considered as the most significant impact category.

Fleet Fuel Efficiency Policy

Engage staff in taking fuel action

Fuel efficiency policies mandate the environmental performance of vehicles and provide a framework for purchasing decisions. Speed, weight, purchasing, and other operating policies ensure that strict performance guidelines are achieved and demonstrate to drivers and managers how to achieve the highest fuel efficiency possible.Fuel efficiency policies set a standard for employee performance and a reference point for evaluation and should be developed in combination with driver awareness and training programs. Formalizing procedures also ensures consistency across all drivers, managers, and departments.


Fuel efficiency policies result in:

  • Reduced GHG emissions and related pollutants
  • Improved fuel performance
  • Improved safety of drivers
  • Consistency and accountability across fleet operations

A fuel efficiency policy is a simple way to communicate how you are going to take action on climate change

As with preventative maintenance, understanding manufacturer suggestions and tips for fuel efficient operation is important. Fuel efficiency policies should be developed to support a green fleet action plan and coincide with key learning points of driver awareness and training programs. A fuel data management system will be a particularly powerful tool in understanding, reviewing, and managing an effective fuel efficiency policy.

Summary Report on Local Government Climate Actions 2018

This report illustrates the continued progress by local governments to reduce carbon emissions through highlighting examples of the achievements and experiences of small, medium, and large communities in 2018. It includes:

  • Update on local government progress towards corporate carbon neutrality
  • Highlights of climate mitigation and adaptation actions taken by small, medium, and large communities across BC
  • Hyperlinked list of funding sources and programs used by local governments in support of climate action
Battery electric fleet vehicles near Vancouver City Hall

Green Fleet Action Plan

The backbone of a successful corporate fleet strategy

Green fleet action plans provide the foundation and overall direction for fuel efficient fleet management. They reflect business needs, costs, and technical opportunities and restraints.

Getting all user groups on board and maintaining effective, regular communication are key elements to success. Senior management support and commitment is critical to ensure the plan has the resources, direction, and the accountability at the implementation level necessary to succeed.


A green fleet action plan demonstrates commitment and organizes action plans around fuel efficient fleet operation. It also:

  • Reduces emissions and related pollutants
  • Reduces operating costs
  • Reduces insurance costs
  • Reduces fuel consumption
  • Aligns key players
  • Improves communication regarding fleet operations
  • Enhances public image
  • Builds pride in employees

A green fleet action plan should be developed alongside a larger corporate emissions reduction strategy

Green fleet action plans should always start with the calculation of fuel consumption and emissions baselines. As with other corporate reduction strategies, it should include the identification and assessment of different implementation strategies that will most effectively reduce emissions.

Key organizational stakeholders should be involved in its development. While each action plan will be different, certain elements should be present. These include:

  • Fuel efficiency and GHG emissions targets
  • Implementation strategies
  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Milestones
  • Monitoring, measuring, and reporting
  • Key performance indicators

Once completed, you should communicate the green fleet action plan to all stakeholders involved and implement it as soon as possible. The community and media should be a part of this as well. They should also be a part of celebrating your successes. The more the community connects with the success you are having in reducing emissions, the more likely they are to work to reduce their own.

Learn more at E3Fleet Program.


Car share

Corporate Car Share

Managing capital and maintenance costs and reducing emissions with car sharing

A corporate car share program involves cooperation with an established car sharing organization (CSO) and helps local governments minimize the number of vehicles in their fleet while still ensuring that all task requirements are met. In such a program, the local government will share vehicles with the community during times when the vehicles would otherwise not be used.

Developing a program involves analyzing your overall fleet needs and identifying where redundancies exist. The fleet is streamlined to include a series of vehicles with different specifications, according to typical tasks, that can be shared by employees and another group, such as the community. This requires developing a scheduling function that keeps the vehicles organized for both government and community use. For example, a local government could share five of their ten vehicles with community members after 5pm on weekdays and on weekends while reserving the right to priority over the vehicles. This would allow the local government to have meet all vehicular needs while reducing capital burden and improving conditions in the community. The program can also be a great way to develop a clear understanding of fleet requirements and make adjustments accordingly.


A car share program can result in significant operational and financial benefits:

  • Reduced GHG emissions and related pollutants
  • Reduced operating costs
  • Reduced insurance costs
  • Reduced maintenance costs
  • Freed up capital
  • Increased vehicle availability and selection
  • Reduced vehicle kilometres travelled
  • Greater mobility
  • Increased employee satisfaction
  • More efficient land use, including a reduction in parking stalls

Developing a program

The first step is to get in touch with an established CSO to discuss the potential of developing such a program.

To understand if your local government would be better off taking on such a program, conduct a functional and operational analysis of your entire fleet. Work with your drivers, mechanics, and technicians to design the ideal vehicles and resulting fleet on paper. Focus on driving-associated objectives and how they could best be completed, rather than just how your fleet currently works.

Develop vehicle and fleet requirements based on this design. Pay particularly close attention to scheduling as time requirements play a critical role in how many and what type of automobiles should compose the car share portion of your fleet. Develop scheduling and sign-out functions to ensure that your car share program operates as smoothly as possible.

Once you understand what you need your fleet to do and when you need it done, look for opportunities when you do not need vehicles. For example, weekends, holidays, or after hours on weekdays. During these times, community members may be willing to pay to use your vehicles rather than having them just sit around.

fuel data management system and benchmarking program will be particularly handy in monitoring and analyzing your ongoing vehicle and fleet requirements. You should revisit these tools to analyze your car share program frequently during the initial stages of its operation and make adjustments as they become clearly beneficial.

Screen capture from CLIC tool

Community Lifecycle Infrastructure Costing (CLIC) Tool

Infrastructure and services have financial, social and environmental implications. There is plenty of evidence showing that compact, complete community development is more financially and environmentally sustainable over the long term. The Ministry of Municipal Affairs created the CLIC tool to help local governments make informed decisions related to the long-term sustainability of infrastructure development. The tool enables local governments to compare the infrastructure costs of different development scenarios over a 100-year period informing sustainable development and asset management decisions. The tool is effective in facilitating integrated decision making by bringing together engineering, finance and planning perspectives.
Civic building or office

Civic Building Retrofit

Building efficiency retrofit programs have been successfully undertaken by many local governments. Unlike most capital projects, energy efficiency upgrades for buildings provide an economic return through energy savings. They can therefore be viewed as investments opportunities, rather than simply expenditures.

A civic building energy retrofit can:

  • Reduce energy consumption and associated utility costs of the existing building portfolio
  • Be cost-neutral
  • Reduce emissions resulting from existing buildings, improving the carbon neutral status of local government operations
  • Improve working conditions and productivity for employees

Process to guide retrofits

Typical steps in civic building energy retrofits include:

  1. Establish policy and commitment, such as a Civic Green Building Policy
  2. Conduct an energy audit and opportunity assessment – usually done by a specialized energy consultant or engineering firm
  3. Prioritize actions and study feasibility of opportunities further where necessary
  4. Make decisions on investments and financing
  5. Design
  6. Tender
  7. Construction and commissioning
  8. Monitor results and report

The above steps are not necessarily done in sequence. Though there are advantages to comprehensive retrofits, individual buildings can also be selectively retrofitted – this can be a “quick start”, especially for small communities. For example, an older municipal hall can be upgraded with ENERGY STAR windows, better insulation and efficient heating and ventilation systems, improving efficiency and the working environment.

Retrofits will generally involve measures like efficient lighting, control systems, high efficiency mechanical (HVAC) systems, high performance windows, and water-efficient fixtures and appliances. These measures should be complemented with low-cost measures like improving building operating procedures and educating building users.

The right set of measures will be different for every building, as they will vary by type, age and condition of building, climate, and other factors. These are determined during the process steps 2-5 outlined above and driven by investment criteria.

Investment Criteria

Energy efficiency projects can be viewed as investments, as they provide a monetary return through energy savings. Financial analyses should therefore be appropriate for this type of investment.

Energy projects are often assessed solely in terms of simple payback, with short paybacks (e.g., 7 years) required. While this method is straightforward to calculate, it does not reflect the true long-term value of the project. Utilizing a more sophisticated method such as Net Present Value (NPV) or Internal Rate of Return, over a full life cycle such as 15 or 20 years, more accurately reflects the benefit of the investment. A positive NPV using life-cycle costing may therefore be considered as a primary investment criterion.

Implementation and Financing

A retrofit project may be managed and implemented internally, or via an Energy Services Company (ESCO) – this is called energy performance contracting. Energy performance contracts are turnkey projects, where the ESCO guarantees the upfront cost as well as future energy savings, minimizing risk to the local government. Costs of the initial energy studies, as well as a markup on services such as design and project management, are rolled into the overall project cost.

In some cases, an ESCO can also provide financing. However, local governments can usually arrange financing through the Municipal Financing Authority at much more favourable rates. In any case, the contracts are created such that the energy savings will cover all financing costs, so that there is no net cost to the local government.

Energy Efficiency and Buildings – A Resource for BC’s Local Governments, produced by Fraser Basin Council in association with Community Energy Association, provides further guidance on civic building retrofits as well as other building efficiency measures.


Examples of ways local governments have retrofitted civic buildings include:

  • Incorporating biomass energy boilers as primary heating sources
  • Re-insulating roofs
  • Installing energy efficient windows and doors
  • Renewing weather stripping
  • Installing solar arrays to heat pools
  • Replacement of dated HVAC systems

E3 Fleet

E3 Fleet is a unique, made-in-Canada program that helps public and private sector fleets of vehicles meet green standards for performance. E3 Fleet members gain access to helpful information, tools and resources, and two unique services:

  • Fleet Review: This is an independent review of a fleet’s performance, offering an analysis of key performance indicators and opportunities for improvement.
  • Fleet Rating: A fleet can also have its performance publicly recognized by qualifying for an E3 Fleet Rating at a Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum level on points accumulated that relate to a fleet’s action plan, training and awareness, idling reduction, vehicle purchasing, fuel data management, operations and maintenance, trip and route planning, utilization management, fuel efficiency, and greenhouse gas performance.
  • All vehicle fleets in Canada, including local government fleets.