Exercising Leadership, Strengthening Performance

Taking action to reduce emissions in local government operations is an opportunity to improve energy efficiency and optimize systems, strengthening overall performance and service delivery. A government’s own operations are only a percentage of a community’s total emissions. Local government leadership, however, plays a pivotal role in building knowledge inside town hall and out in the community that leads to much deeper emission reductions.

The Workbook provides:

  •  an explanation as to what carbon neutrality is,
  • a draft description of which corporate operations, referred to as “traditional services”, will be included in the carbon neutral commitment,
  • advice on data collection,
  • examples of energy statements and how the information can be used to interpret a local government’s energy consumption and carbon footprint, and
  • an invitation to begin tracking corporate emissions now and provide feedback to GCC as it continues to refine the definition of carbon neutrality.

Action Areas

The Climate Action Toolkit outlines opportunities in three government operation sectors:
Fleets | Buildings | Infrastructure

The Township of Langley replaced its vehicles with right sized, high efficiency vehicles. The 5% reduction in fuel and repair costs more than offset the additional capital investment.

The infrastructure sector also includes actions that reduce community wide emissions. These actions are situated under government operations because of the degree of local government control over this activity. A local government’s solid waste management practices, for example, strongly influencing community wide methane emissions.

Business Case for Climate Action

Taking action on fleets, buildings and infrastructure produces social, economic and environmental benefits beyond reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Some of these are quantifiable, for instance energy and operational cost savings, and reduced strain on natural resources such as water supply. Others are more qualitative such as improved employee productivity and morale. These benefits are all part of the triple bottom line business case for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The District of Saanich's Carbon Neutral Program, the first of its kind in Canada, targets reductions in Greenhouse Gas emissions for municipal operations and sets aside carbon offset funds that will support local greenhouse gas reducing initiatives such as solar hot water, photo-voltaic systems, fleet conversion, building retrofits and urban forestry.

The District also developed an on-line Carbon Calculator enabling residents to estimate their carbon footprint, donate to the municipal Carbon Neutral Reserve Fund and immediately print a receipt for income tax purposes.

Find out more about Carbon Neutral Local Government here: www.toolkit.bc.ca/cnlg.