Local efforts manage how we use energy and where our energy comes from. Community energy refers to multiple energy
sources and distribution networks that are shared between various members of a geographic neighborhood, with at least
part of the energy generated in the local area. This means some degree of local involvement in the management and control
of the system, with sharing of responsibilities and benefits (including revenue).
As BC Hydro’s electricity rates increase, and cheap natural gas from fracking get eventually phased out for home heating,
we will need to find more innovative solutions to energy affordability and energy capacity. What if we could save more
money on household energy? What if this money stayed in the community?
Projected increase in household energy costs by 2020
Local example: Surrey citizens could collectively spend more than $1.3 billion on household energy by 2020.
A community energy system based on renewables can be less vulnerable to global energy markets, because after the initial
investment, operation costs remain generally low.
The neighbourhood scale has the highest opportunity and lowest cost to save energy with:
Much of the energy currently used in Metro Vancouver homes comes from remote suppliers in BC and Alberta, at
least 400-1000 kilometers away.
With increasing climate change disruptions in Metro Vancouver, such as windstorms, landslides, floods, and heat-waves,
what would communities do if the energy supply became disconnected? We need to act on how to localize energy at
an appropriate scale for different energy supplies, from site to region.
Scientists have determined that a global warming beyond 2 degrees celsius is a serious threat to the lives of current
and future generations, especially among the world’s poorest populations. In order to avoid the most serious impacts
of global warming we must substantially reduce the greenhouse gases that we emit into the atmosphere.
Increased vulnerability and risk of flooding
Increased forest fires in Kelowna, BC
Climate change impacts are already here, and getting worse.
Cooling Degree Days - Past vs. Future Projected increase in air conditioning requirements, deadly heat waves and
Especially with heat waves and energy bills, buildings are requiring more air conditioning for people to cool down.
This is where the natural systems, such as trees, play an important role in cooling buildings and communities if
there are more planted, managed, and maintained throughout communities.
Greenhouse gas emissions from your fridge can be responsible for:
Click here to go to interactive videogame and images showing local projected climate impacts
Under the Climate Change Accountability Act (CCAA), B.C.'s GHG emissions are to be reduced by at least 40 per cent below 2007 levels by 2030, 60 per cent by 2040, and 80 per cent by 2050. In 2019, government introduced requirements to set sectoral emissions targets and an interim emissions target on the path to our 2030 goal.
Modified from British Columbia’s Climate Leadership Plan 2016
Credit: City of Vancouver
Why cities? Municipality targets?
In response to the reality of climate change, British Columbia committed to taking action, and in 2007 showed world-wide
leadership by legislated greenhouse gas emissions targets and other provincial and local government policies to help
mitigate climate change.
Municipalities in BC were quick to follow suit, and many have pledged to reduce their community-wide greenhouse gas
emissions by up to 80% by 2050—our share of the worldwide reduction necessary to maintain an average global warming
of 2 degrees.
Some cities are introducing low carbon energy targets, such as Vancouver’s Renewable City Strategy that will ensure the city derives all of its energy from renewable sources prior to 2050.
Take a look at the CleanBC Program.
Municipalities across the region use different total amount of energy for electricity, heating and transportation.
Municipalities with higher density and lower vehicle use tend to use less energy per person.
Municipalities with higher density and lower vehicle use tend to use less energy per person (Credit: CALP)
As we look towards the future of energy demand, municipalities will need to find solutions to increase capacity of
their energy supply from fossil-fuels to more renewable resources.
Vancouver residents and businesses in total could save over $90 million and 160,000 tonnes of GHGs per year by 2020 through
improved energy efficiency.
Benefits of Energy Efficiency
Stimulation of the economy
Every $1 million increase in energy efficiency generates $3-4 million of economic growth
13 jobs are created for every $1 million invested in energy efficiency
Money in your pocket
Living in an energy efficient building can lower your heating bills by more than 50%
Energy efficient buildings and homes experience higher resale value and last longer
Canadians spend 50% of their time indoors. An energy efficient building keeps you warmer in winter and cooler
Energy efficient buildings stay more comfortable and safe during a power-failure or natural disaster
Improved energy efficiency helps B.C.'s households, businesses and institutions save money, be more competitive
and have a better quality of life. It is also the cleanest way to meet increasing demand for energy, good
for our natural environment and is one of the more affordable ways to reduce B.C.’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Nearly a quarter of planned GHG reduction is from building retrofits
Thermal imaging of Vancouver home showing the heat escaping from home