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Community Action on Energy Efficiency

Start Date: Jun 01, 2006
Completion Date: Mar 31, 2007
Country: Canada
  • Town of Smithers
  • Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources
  • Pembina Institute
Key Contact(s):

Nikki Skuce

Project Description

There is no dispute that the Earth’s average temperatures have risen sharply over the past 100 years and this trend is predicted to continue. The consequences of our changing climate could be enormous for people, economies and the environment. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions contribute to climate change by trapping heat in the Earth’s atmosphere. GHG emissions result from a variety of sources including energy consumption, the decay of solid waste, agricultural processes and industrial processes. One Sky worked with the Pembina Institute to produce a Community Energy Plan for the Town of Smithers on the first two types of emissions.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities estimates that close to 50% of the country’s GHG emissions can be influenced by decisions made by municipal governments. Municipalities can reduce GHG emissions through land use decisions, energy and transportation planning, infrastructure design, green procurement, building retrofits, water conservation, solid waste diversion and the use of distributed energy systems.

The Smithers Community Energy Plan (CEP) aims to address the following questions: How much energy does Smithers use? How many greenhouse gases (GHGs) are produced in Smithers? What are the air quality issues in Smithers? What actions can Smithers take to address climate change? The Smithers CEP shows that over 40% of energy used in Smithers is for transportation, while just under 60% is for stationary purposes, including building heating and operations, municipal infrastructure and industrial processes. However, over 60% of GHGs from Smithers come from the transportation sector, over 30% come from stationary sources and 2% come from landfill gases.

During a community workshop held on February 8, 2007, Smithers residents generated a number of suggestions for how to reduce GHGs in the community. These suggestions formed the basis of the recommended actions presented in the Smithers’ CEP.

The following three actions are recommended for immediate adoption:
1. Adopt a greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction target and incorporate in the Official Community Plan (OCP)
2. Include a commitment to energy efficiency in the OCP
3. Join the Partners for Climate Protection program through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities

The following 10 actions are recommended for consideration over the next year.
Actions to reduce energy from municipal operations:
1. Adopt municipal energy efficiency standards
2. Adopt a Green Vehicle Policy
3. Adopt an Anti-idling Policy (for municipal operations and community)
4. Adopt a Green Purchasing Policy

Actions to reduce energy from the entire community:
1. Adopt energy efficiency standards for new and existing residential buildings
2. Reduce transportation emissions
3. Support local low-impact renewable energy generation
4. Increase public education
5. Reduce waste
6. Consider land-use planning and development

In addition to developing the Smithers Community Energy Plan, One Sky also worked with the Town of Smithers as part of the Community Action on Energy Efficiency Initiative. On top of education and outreach activities, One Sky developed an energy efficiency checklist for landowners looking to build.