A community energy plan guides the community toward more efficient energy use and reduced greenhouse gas emissions over the next 10 to 20 years. Each municipality and the rural areas of the PRRD are each initiating a process to develop Community Energy Plans (CEPs) to take action against climate change. The CEPs will show where each community stands on energy and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through:
• A baseline inventory of current energy consumption and GHG emissions, and a projection of future emissions;
• Targets to reduce GHG emissions from the baseline;
• Actions that we, as individuals, organizations, businesses, can take to help us achieve these targets and create more resiliencies in our communities;
• Policies and tools that we can incorporate into our Official Community Plans (OCPs) to further assist the community in reducing emissions, and;
• Indicators to help monitor our progress over time.
WHAT ARE THE PROVINCIAL REGULATIONS?
OUR CURRENT SITUATION
An energy and GHG emissions inventory helps us to understand how much we emit and where our emissions come from. Once we know what the inventory is, we can set targets and develop actions to reduce the energy consumption and GHG emissions. In 2007, our energy consumption and GHG emissions for all activities in the rural areas of the Regional District (i.e., everything outside municipal boundaries) were approximately 220,000 tonnes of Carbon Dioxide Equivalent (CO2e). The figure below shows these emissions broken down by sector. (3).
|Buildings: This includes the energy to heat and cool residential, commercial and industrial buildings, as well as the activities that occur within these residences and facilities. This data is obtained through the Community Energy and Emissions Inventory (CEEI) initiative from utility records and includes electricity and natural gas consumption. Other sources such as wood, fuel oil, or propane tank heat have not been quantified in the inventory.|
|Transportation: Vehicular emissions estimates are based on a count of the vehicles registered in the region, an estimate of fuel consumption based on type of vehicle, and an estimate of the number of kilometers driven. This data is obtained through the CEEI initiative and includes data sources from the Insurance Corporation of BC (ICBC) and Natural Resources Canada.
|Solid Waste: Waste does not directly consume energy but when deposited into landfills, it decomposes and releases methane gas which is a greenhouse gas stronger than carbon dioxide.|
What is a Greenhouse Gas (GHG)?
GHGs are gases in the air like carbon dioxide, water vapour, nitrous oxide and methane that trap heat in the atmosphere. Humans add GHGs to the air primarily by burning fossil fuels (gasoline, natural gas, oil, etc) that emit carbon dioxide. Some other human activities, like land-filling solid waste, emit methane.
WHAT IS ONE TONNE OF CO2e?
Rural residents in the Peace River Regional District emit about 11 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per capita. One tonne is equivalent to using:
• 385 litres of gasoline (or 10 fill-ups)
• $200 worth of natural gas (20GJ)
• Electricity to heat 3 homes for one year (38,000 kW/h)
Our challenge as a community is to reduce our energy consumption and GHG emissions. How much can we reduce? Where will we set our GHG emissions reduction targets? What will we commit to in our OCPs? These questions will be addressed during the development of the Community Energy Plans.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
There are a number of actions, both big and small, that we can undertake as individuals and organizations. Here are some ideas:
Actions to reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions:
- Make energy efficiency improvements to your home or office (e.g., improving insulation; replacing windows; caulking around vents, windows and doors; etc).
- Turn down the heat in your home or office by 2° C in the winter.
- Install a programmable thermostat at home or at work.
- Upgrade to a high efficiency furnace with a variable speed motor.
- Replace the boiler at work with a high efficiency model (commercial buildings can apply for a grant from Terasen in the Chetwynd area, where applicable).
- Have an energy assessment done on your work building (apply to Terasen for a free assessment in the Chetwynd area, where applicable) and implement recommended actions.
- Set your water heater to 49°C.
- Install solar panels to heat your water.
- Wash your clothes in cold water and hang your laundry to dry.
- Install low flow fixtures and faucets in your home or office.
- Turn off your car instead of idling for 10 seconds or more (when weather permits)
- Telecommute to work at least one day week.
- Schedule or perform regular maintenance checks for your car.
- Scrap your old car and replace it with a fuel-efficient model (see www.scrapit.ca).
- Compost organic wastes in your garden or with a worm composter in your school or office.
- Reuse products wherever possible instead of buying new ones.
- Buy products with minimal or recyclable packaging.
- Explore opportunities to install solar panels for heating your home
- Explore opportunities to install a small wind energy system for your home or farm
PLEASE PROVIDE YOUR INPUT
We are gathering input from community members on values and priorities around energy use and GHG emissions. This input will feed into the development of the community goals and targets that will be included in each community Official Community Plan (OCP).
Please complete our survey, available here.
For further information about the Peace River Regional District Community Energy Plan, please contact:
Bruce Simard, General Manager of Development Services
tel:  784-3204 or toll free at:  670-7773
(1) Bill 27 – 2008: Local Government (Green Communities) Statutes Amendment Act, 2008. http://www.leg.bc.ca/38th4th/1st_read/gov27-1.htm
(2) ‘Carbon neutral’ means implementing measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, then purchasing carbon emission offsets to net the remaining emissions to zero. The Regional District will be required to purchase offsets for any emissions that it is unable to eliminate from its corporate operations.
(3) These figures are based on DRAFT data provided through the Province of BC’s Community Energy and Emissions Inventory (CEEI) initiative: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/epd/climate/ceei/index.htm. Through this Community Energy Plan project, the numbers will be updated to more accurately reflect the estimated emissions for the Peace River Regional District rural areas.