Kingston’s climate plan supports net zero new construction by 2030

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

Kingston council has endorsed the Climate Leadership Plan (CLP), calling the decision a milestone moment in the city’s journey towards true climate change resiliency.

The CLP identifies actions to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to achieve carbon neutrality no later than 2040 and adapt to impacts already being experienced.

For new construction, the plan supports the federal government’s plan to  implement emissions reductions projects at federally owned buildings within Kingston and advance the adoption of net zero ready new construction ahead of the release of requirements expected in national building and energy codes in 2030.

In the short term that means:

  • promoting the Green Standard Community Improvement Plan, which incentivizes low carbon new buildings, the Savings by Design and Commercial Custom New Construction programs both offered by Enbridge Gas, as well as third party distributed generation systems.
  • continuing to train building inspectors in emerging construction techniques for highly energy efficient buildings.
  • enhancing design policies for mid-rise and tall buildings to improve building efficiency, promote multimodal lifestyles not dependent on personal automobiles, and increase overall livability.

The city also wants to partner with businesses to retrofit and fuel-switch existing commercial buildings and will advocate for Ontario to be an early adopter of a national retrofit building code, once available.

“I am proud to endorse this forward-looking document,” said Mayor Bryan Paterson.

In 2018, corporate emissions from operations totaled just over 22,000 tonnes, a decrease of approximately 12 percent since 2011. The three largest municipal emissions sources are transit, facilities and other fleet vehicles.

The plan outlines 10 objectives and 54 actions in five target areas: transportation, building and energy production, waste, food and forestry. It was developed over the past two years in consultation with the community, subject matter experts, and people with lived experience.

It will be reviewed and updated on a regular basis to ensure it is helping the corporation and community reach its GHG reduction targets quickly and effectively.

“The road ahead will not be easy but nothing worthwhile ever is,” says Salter-Keane. “In the coming months, we will be forming a Working Group to ensure the actions outlined are implemented not just by the municipality but community-wide.”

kingston climate plan graph

In 2019, Kingston became the first municipality in Ontario to declare a climate emergency. The city received approval and funding for a green standard community improvement plan to incentivize net-zero development, and in 2022 will launch a home energy retrofit program.

The newly approved strategy will impact buildings and energy production in several categories including:

Accelerate local production of renewable and low carbon energy and energy storage.

Short Term Actions (implementation within the next 1-5 years):

  • Seek out new partnerships to inform the community of available sustainable energy resources and financing options, while continuing to work in collaboration with groups, like Sustainable Kingston.
  • Advocate for provincial support and policy for virtual and community-level net metering arrangements.
  • Install photovoltaics on all new municipal buildings where feasible and explore options for solar photovoltaics during roof replacements or other major renovations of municipal facilities.
  • Develop partnerships to accelerate local academic and commercial cleantech research into renewable and low-carbon energy and storage technologies.

Long Term Actions (implementation within the next 6-20 years)

Explore opportunities for new community-owned renewable energy projects and organizations, including solar energy co-operatives.

Monitor changes to the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) demand response and capacity auctions, which provide opportunities to contribute to dynamic grid management in support of distributed energy generation.

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