Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Surrey's Climate Action Plan

Yesterday, I posted about the City of Langley and its Climate Change Action Report. These reports are mandatory for local governments that participate in the provincial Climate Action Revenue Incentive Program and the BC Climate Action Charter. Today, I wanted to focus on the City of Surrey.

When it comes to combating climate change, the City of Surrey has been working on new plans and implementing existing plans to build a more sustainable community, reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Energy used for buildings and transportation are the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in Surrey. In Surrey’s municipally-owned facilities, GHG emissions peaked at 8465 tonnes of CO2e in 2010 and has been declining ever since. In 2013, GHG emissions from municipally-owned facilities was 7738 tonnes of CO2e. Surrey has been able to reduce its GHG emissions while providing new services as the community grows. The primary reason for this reduction is because the City of Surrey has been able to significantly reduce electrical usage. Unfortunately, the City of Surrey has increased its GHG emissions from natural gas usage in its facilities.

GHG emissions from the City of Surrey vehicle fleet peaked in 2011 with 10538 tonnes of CO2e. This has reduced to 7897 tonnes of CO2e in 2013.

One of the requirements of the Climate Action Revenue Incentive Program is for local governments to be “carbon neutral”. As I noted yesterday, the City of Langley achieved carbon neutrality by buy carbon offset credits. The City of Surrey is achieving carbon neutrality by “invest funding that it would otherwise spend in buying carbon offsets in City-based projects that will reduce carbon emissions in Surrey.” This is a much better way to go as Surrey will be investing in local projects that will actually reduce GHG emission in the community.

In 2013, the City of Surrey took several actions to reduce GHG emissions in the community. Some of the highlights in Surrey’s “Climate Action Revenue Incentive Program (CARIP) Public Report” include:

-Adopting the Community Energy Emission Plan and Climate Adaption Strategy.

-Working towards adopting PlanSurrey, the new Official Community Plan, which includes energy and emissions policies. PlanSurrey is increasing focused on building a compact community, supporting energy-efficient retrofits, and building energy-efficient new construction.

Two of the most exciting projects that will reduce GHG emissions in Surrey are the City’s proposed new bio-fuel facility which will begin construction shortly, and the City’s district energy system around Central Surrey.

On the transportation front, the City of Surrey has been implementing its transportation strategy which includes the continued expansion of cycling routes and the construction of 13km of new greenways; more cycling infrastructure and greenways are on the way. The City is also implementing transit priority measures, including installing “queue jumper” lanes along King George Boulevard to enhance the reliability of transit. The City is also requiring all new and renovated fuel service stations to offer alternative fuels.

To conserve water, the City of Surrey is continuing to implement its mandatory water meter program for new residential developments and is working towards voluntary meter installation in existing residences. Surrey also has implemented its organic waste collection program which is reducing landfill waste and reducing GHG emissions.

Within the City’s internal operations, Surrey is continuing to retrofit existing facilities to be more energy efficient. The City of Surrey noted two projects that is was particularly proud of that will help reduce GHG emissions and provide leadership to other communities.

The first project is the geo-exchange district energy system in Central Surrey which is currently being used at the New City Hall and City Centre Library.

The second project is Surrey’s transportation demand-management system to support sustainable transportation options for municipal workers. This includes “personalized commute planning, preferred carpool parking, end-of-trip facilities for cyclists, car sharing program with Modo Car Co-op, transit rebates on monthly passes, and introduction of pay parking at New City Hall.”

These are just a few of the many projects that the City of Surrey is working on to build a more energy efficient and sustainable community. While there is always more work to be done, it seems that the City of Surrey is committed to building a community that will support the current and future generations.

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