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).
Citizen Behaviour - Buildings
Individuals can change their energy behaviors by choosing actions like using more efficient light bulbs and Energy
Star appliances in your home, putting on a sweater instead of turning up the heat, switching from natural gas to heat pumps to heat your house,
or retrofitting your house to improve its
insulation According to BC Hydro, if you turn down your heat by just two degrees, you can reduce your
home heating costs by 5%.
Managing energy efficiency can also happen at the community-wide level (collective action). Municipalities can
adopt land use and transportation plans and policies that place higher density homes close to services—and support
transit, pedestrians and cyclists—to encourage people to drive less. Higher densities also support more efficient
and cost-effective community energy solutions, such as a district heating system. With people living closer together,
they will share building walls, which greatly reduces the amount of energy needed to heat a home. Local governments
can adopt policies and programs to assist homeowners in energy efficient upgrades, such as rebates or on-bill financing
for the installation of energy efficient heating and hot water systems and building envelope improvements.
Households directly account
for 40% of B.C.'s total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions
Our transportation (cars, trucks, planes etc.) contributes to more than half of the average BC household’s carbon footprint.
It also accounts for noxious air pollution, common air contamination, and water toxicity. (Source: David Suzuki Foundation,
Four places to cut your carbon, 2014)
Walk or bike more. In 10 minutes = walking 1 km = biking 3.5 km. In the meantime, you can:
Keep fit: A125-lb person walking at brisk pace for 30 minutes burns about 150 calories.
Save money (gym fees or car expenses)
Save time. For short distances (
< 10 km), cycling is usually the fastest way to travel in the city.
Take public transit
Read the news, chat with friends, or take a nap! Taking transit is much cheaper than owning a car: the average
savings are $586 per month for a family using public transit instead of driving.
Car-share or carpool
It’s a great way to bypass traffic congestions (by driving on HOV lane), save expenses and meet new people!
Use Electric Vehicles (EVs).
Electric vehicle registrations are surging in B.C., fueled by provincial incentives, improved technology and
Much of the energy can be saved by bringing existing buildings up to new, more efficient standards. Retrofits can be cost-saving,
practical, and enhance livability and the sense of comfort in the long term. It’s important that individuals consider
energy retrofits in their homes, but scale is critical. The neighbourhood scale to retrofit, including you and your
neighbours, have more impact on climate change. Considerations, like costs, practicality, livability, and community
support are issues that will need to be addressed in achieving any retrofits.
Basic retrofits include:
Seal major air leakage issues in chimney bypasses, recessed lighting, HVAC dicts, etc.
Fix water leakage
Basement and Utility Room
Replace with more efficient model and/or airsource heat-pump
Improve insulation on water heater and piping
Seal leaks from duct system and dryer venting
Other Rooms and Walls
Seal air leaks around outlets, fixtures, doors, windows and fireplace
Increase wall insulation (internal or external)
Replace lights with LED bulbs
Local example: Eagle Island Community Retrofit Project:
In the District of West Vancouver, a community champion led the neighbourhood through a retrofiting process
encouraging every neighbour to undergo a home energy audit, and then follow through with making their homes
more energy efficient.
Significant energy can be saved by bringing new buildings up to more efficient standards. Basic building designs, such as
adding solar hot water can reduce total energy use by up to 30% and greenhouse gases by 33%. Major building designs,
such as adding air source heat and other renewable energy sources can reduce total energy use by 75% and greenhouse
gases by 80%. With the adoption of the BC Energy Step Code in 2017, the province is committed in constructing buildings
that are low-carbon and energy efficient.
Often one family in a large space
Many exposed walls (large surface area)
More shared walls
Multiple families sharing heat
Compact surface area
The way a community is designed has major impact on the amount of energy it uses and its carbon footprint.Conserving heat
in our communities depends on density, building size, orientation and amount of windows.
Issues to Consider:
Local example: City of North Vancouver 100 year Vision
The plan looks at challenges and opportunities for promoting sustainable future development. This long range
vision aims to guide the City’s community design toward carbon-netural status by 2107, the City’s 200th anniversary.