Over the past four years, the City has reduced its total corporate energy use by 5.9 per cent, even though the number and size of City facilities has grown by five per cent.
The City’s Standing Committee on Environmental Protection, Water and Waste Management today received a report highlighting accomplishments under the City’s most recent energy conservation plan. The report also included an energy conservation plan for the next four years. The City plans to convert more lighting to LED, add more facilities to the building automation system and use emerging technologies to help conserve energy.
The Committee approved an eight-year payback period to repay the initial cost of these initiatives through energy savings. This extended payback period would allow the City to prioritize more comprehensive initiatives aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, helping achieve its goal of reducing emissions by 80 per cent from 2012 levels by 2050.
To help reduce erosion and improve water quality, particularly at Petrie Island Beach, the Committee approved a 50-year stormwater management retrofit plan for the Eastern Subwatersheds. Over the next five years, staff would remediate high-priority erosion sites, promote stormwater management measures that property owners can implement on their properties, install demonstration rain gardens and investigate the sources of E. coli bacteria at Petrie Island Beach.
The Committee also received a response to an inquiry about single-use plastic bottles in City facilities. The City expects to meet contractual commitments for vending machines and concession stands by 2022. Staff could then work with Council to determine what to do about single-use plastic bottles in City facilities. To combat plastic waste and promote tap water, the City offers recycling and green bins in 15 of its facilities and has water fountains in 183 facilities.
As part of the Solid Waster Master Plan, the Committee recommended that Council direct staff to include a plan to eliminate single-use and foamed plastics in City programs and services where there is an environmentally responsible alternative. Staff would also review all policies, programs and practices with respect to using green materials, green procurement and circular economy principles, examine the feasibility of eliminating discretionary single-use and foamed plastics in all contracted services, and present alternatives to the current pouring-rights contract with Coca Cola when the minimum sales volume commitment is fulfilled. The City would also refresh its public education about tap water, to dispel the misconception that bottled water is of higher quality.
Items from today’s Committee meeting that require City Council approval will go to Council on Wednesday, June 26.