Article Courtesy of the District of Saanich
Leading by Example
Saanich’s pledge to take action on sustainability and climate change was first embedded into the Official Community Plan in 2008 and then the Saanich Climate Action mitigation and adaptation plans in 2010. To make progress on sustainability as a community, the Municipality recognizes that leading by example is imperative. Here are some examples of how Saanich looks to lead by example on climate change.
In 2007, Saanich developed the innovative Carbon Fund, a first in North America, providing a consistent funding stream for low-carbon municipal projects. Here’s how it works: each department in the municipality contributes to the fund based on their carbon footprint. The Fund is then used to implement new greenhouse gas reducing initiatives within Saanich operations. Most of the projects listed below were completed through support from the Carbon Fund.
Municipal Building Heating and Lighting Retrofits
Through funding partnerships with BC Hydro and Fortis BC, Saanich has transitioned it buildings to become more efficient, leading to opportunities for renewable energy. The biggest opportunities come from four prominent recreation centres in the community, along with the Municipal Hall and our Police and Fire Stations. Key project examples include:
- Several key buildings have aging boilers, which will provide an opportunity for high-efficiency retrofits. In 2016 the Gordon Head Recreation Centre will incorporate an air-source heat pump hybrid system that will dramatically improve efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
- LED lighting upgrades were recently completed at two Saanich Recreation Centres, saving over 530,000 kWh of electricity annually, enough to power 56 Saanich homes for a full year. Saanich is gradually converting all facility lighting to LED.
Efficient and Low-Carbon Vehicles
Saanich has a fleet of over 200 vehicles and our Fleet Department has made significant fuel efficiency improvements by switching to high-efficiency diesel and electric vehicles. In 2013, Saanich achieved a fuel reduction of over 200,000 litres annually compared to 2007 consumption. This resulted in an annual carbon reduction of over 700 tonnes of greenhouse gas.
Since 2010, the District of Saanich has been an active adopter of electric vehicles and has continued to add vehicles each year. Saanich now operates 5 electric vehicles and 4 more pending in 2016. The use of a pooled fleet maximizes the use of these zero-emission vehicles. The Saanich Police Department also uses a Mitsubishi EV for court liaison purposes, making them the first Police Department in Canada to incorporate an EV into its fleet.
The Municipality has also incorporated public EV charging stations at prominent Saanich owned facilities for public use. In 2015, Saanich was also the first municipality to bring a DC fast charging station to Greater Victoria Region, one of the most used stations in the Province.
The District of Saanich is also pleased to have signed a pledge with the Pacific Coast Collaborative (PCC), committing to procure at least 10% zero-emission vehicles for all new vehicle purchases. The PCC is a sustainability leadership initiative between the Province of BC and US states Washington, Oregon and California. Saanich is the first local government in North America to commit to the PCC pledge.
Greener Garbage Collection
In 2014, Saanich launched the Greener Garbage Collection initiative to divert organics from the landfill and reduce community GHGs. Following the first full year of implementation, this added service has reduced landfilled waste by more than 50%.
Preparing for a Changing Climate
Following the completion of the Adaptation Plan, two areas have been identified as the highest priority by residents. First, the combined potential impact of storm events and sea-level rise has been initially assessed. Secondly, food security impacts have been highlighted and will be further addressed in the development of the Saanich Agriculture and Food Security Strategy.
Saanich publicly reports its progress to several stakeholders:
- District of Saanich residents and Council through our Annual and Financial Reporting.
- Province of BC through our annual Climate Action Revenue Incentive Program (CARIP).
- Internationally through the Carbonn Climate Registry.
In 2013, Saanich was awarded top honours in the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Partners for Climate Protection (PCP) program. The Municipality has reached five milestones for both corporate and community programs, making it the 8th municipality in Canada to achieve this status and the first on Vancouver Island.
With more projects pending in 2016, the municipality is also looking forward at the feasibility of 100% renewable energy in municipal operations and will share this process with the community in 2017.
For Additional Information Please Contact:
Mark Boysen, Sustainability Coordinator