Richmond taking leadership on climate action
20 January 2016
On the heels of Paris Agreement to limit global warming adopted by the 195 countries in December 2015, it is important to take stock of the inroads the City of Richmond has made in addressing climate change. The City is guided by its Community Energy and Emissions Plan (CEEP), which outlines an array of strategies and actions for the City to reduce community energy use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
“Richmond has been at the forefront regionally in implementing programs and methods to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption,” said Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie. “Ultimately, reducing our communities GHG emissions will help leave a better world for children in Richmond and around the Earth.”
The City recently released a CEEP 2015 Update Report, which explains implementation of the plan’s strategies and actions to date, and key future directions to pursue Richmond’s energy and emissions targets. Many achievements were made in 2015 towards the City’s goals of reducing community-wide and corporate emissions.
The City is expanding the Alexandra District Energy Utility and launched the Oval Village District Energy Utility, both of which will increase energy security, provide cost-competitive energy, and reduce emissions for connected buildings. The City recently broke ground on Phase 3 expansion of the Alexandra District Energy Utility to serve a further nine developments. Additionally, the Oval Village District Energy Utility will meet 67% of the neighbourhood’s thermal energy needs after built out.
The launch of “EnergySave Richmond” suite of programs included the Building Energy Challenge, which challenged businesses in Richmond to reduce their energy consumption. In its first year, the Challenge involved 35 organizations and over 5 million sq. ft. of building space. Also part of “EnergySave Richmond”, the Smart Thermostats Pilot Program, which was fully subscribed, provided a financial incentive to households that install a smart thermostat. These programs, along with additional programs to be launched, will continue to help residents and businesses in Richmond save money on energy costs.
For its efforts, the City of Richmond was recognized by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ for sustainable community planning in Richmond’s City Centre in 2015. Richmond also received accolades from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ for achieving the third milestone in the Partners for Climate Protection Program. Richmond continues to implement strategies to reach these targets, including promoting energy efficiency in new buildings, utilizing transportation demand management strategies, and concentrating development in compact urban villages. Also, the City is improving its active transportation infrastructure, including new bike lanes, transit shelters and pedestrian walkways.
The City is showing leadership in its own operations as well. For a second year in a row, the City of Richmond was recognized by the joint Provincial and Union of BC Municipalities Green Communities Committee for achieving carbon neutrality in its corporate operations. The City’s Carbon Marketplace provides an opportunity for local organizations to reduce emissions and sell carbon credits to the City. And Richmond has been lowering its impact through a range of improvements to its facilities and vehicle fleets. The Richmond Ice Centre is one example, where a recent City retrofit has reduced GHG emissions 26 per cent. The Community Energy Association awarded the City of Richmond an honourable mention in corporate operations for this comprehensive project.
Lastly, the City has continued to comment on the development of the province’s Climate Leadership Plan, calling for strong provincial policy to help meet emissions goals. The City is committed to advancing Richmond’s leadership on climate action.
For more information on the City’s Community and Emissions plan please www.richmond.ca/sustainability/energysrvs/energy-plan