Ontario Construction News staff writer
According to its first Sustainability Report, the City of Kitchener has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 27 per cent since 2010. The report highlights the successes of Kitchener’s sustainability efforts as it works to implement its Corporate Climate Action Plan and achieve an absolute greenhouse gas reduction of eight per cent from 2016 levels.
Highlights from the report include:
- Nearly 3,100 tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions saved since 2010
- 3,719 megawatt hours of electricity saved since 2010
- 10 million litres of water saved since 2018
- 53 energy audits completed at City facilities like arenas, pool, and community centres
“Strong action from communities across the world is absolutely critical to meet the emission targets laid out in the Paris Agreement,” said Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic. “The release of the 2019 Sustainability Report is an opportunity to celebrate our considerable progress to date, but also to reflect on how much still needs to be done to ensure we can be proud of the legacy we are leaving for the Kitchener residents who will inherit the world we leave behind.”
Recent public consultations on the city’s strategic and budgetary priorities have consistently shown that Kitchener residents support strong climate action.
As the result of this feedback, environmental leadership was identified as one of the City’s five strategic goals, and many recommendations from the Corporate Climate Action Plan were incorporated in the City’s 2020 budget.
These investments include building upgrades to reduce energy use and a faster transition to sustainable energy sources for our vehicle fleet.
“In many ways, the city’s climate action is a microcosm for global efforts to combat climate change,” said City of Kitchener Sustainability Officer Claire Bennett.
“The road to sustainability is a journey of a thousand steps, and we’ve been working with staff from every department to audit and assess opportunities. With this detailed information, we understand our potential for energy and greenhouse gas reduction.”
With the Energy Efficiency Reserve Fund, operating savings are re-invested into other efficiency projects. Having a strong climate action plan has positioned Kitchener to realize significant cost savings as well as be prepared for grant opportunities.
The report also outlines the next steps in combating climate change.
One significant area of focus will be improvements to the city’s stormwater infrastructure, as an increased risk of flooding is one of the main local impacts of climate change. The federal government has partnered with the City in these efforts through $50 million in disaster mitigation and adaptation funding awarded in May 2019.