Energy Planning




Planning for Energy Use

Energy represents both a community’s largest single expense and its dominant source of greenhouse gas emissions. An energy plan is one of several promising sustainability initiatives for a community: it can be a stand-alone document, or integrated with a community sustainability plan or an emissions reduction strategy. It can address energy at the community wide scale, or be limited to a local government’s own operations. Some focus on pre-identified priorities, such as building retrofits, district energy feasibility, or energy use modeling.

A central tenet of most energy plans is the role that energy efficiency, renewables, and local energy resources may play to help reduce the use of fuel oil, natural gas, propane, and gasoline in the community. Expenditures on energy conservation and transportation efficiency tend to create local jobs and retain money in local economies, while much of the money spent on conventional energy supplies goes elsewhere to oil and gas companies and utilities. Communities can save money, reduce emissions, and improve livability by considering energy use, efficiency, and renewable energy in decisions about land use, transportation, buildings, and infrastructure. A plan consolidates a community’s ideas, and identifies programs and activities, to help implement them. For example:

Examples of Topics, Tools, and Actions by Sector
Land Use
· urban containment boundaries
· intensification, infill, conversion
· brownfield remediation
· street trees
· new street design
· zoning and development rules
· agriculture and food security

Transportation and Fleets
· low carbon fuels
· fleet management, vehicle “right-sizing”
· bike and pedestrian paths and facilities
· anti-idling campaigns
· asphalt reclamation
· HOV lanes
· traffic signal synchronization
· transit and paratransit

· green building and sustainability checklists
· energy audits and retrofits
· solar thermal “ready”
· high efficiency lighting and heating
· xeriscape landscaping; “green” roofs and walls
· building orientation and solar rights

· water pricing and metering
· waste heat recovery
· stormwater and wastewater management
· solid waste reduction; landfill gas capture
· combined heat and power opportunities
· district energy utility opportunities
· renewable energy opportunities  BC Hydro/ Fortis BC involvement in planning

Communities of all sizes and geographic locations have prepared energy plans.
For example:

Assistance and More Information

  • Natural Resources Canada’s "Community Energy Planning Guide (Part 1); Programs and Projects (Part 2)" (
  • The CEA’s and Rural BC Secretariat’s "Clean Energy for a Green Economy: An Introduction for Rural BC Communities" (
[Use the tab above to learn HOW to reduce emissions with this tool.]