City of Powell River became carbon neutral in 2018

Reductions of natural gas consumption and rezoning of parkland contribute to net zero

For the first time since signing the BC Climate Action Charter, City of Powell River has achieved carbon neutrality for its corporate emissions, meaning those created by the city itself.

Outlining the Climate Action Revenue Incentive Program (CARIP), city sustainability planner Ana Lukyanova told committee of the whole at its meeting on Tuesday, June 4, that she was reporting on the city’s progress toward meeting climate action goals, and progress being made toward reducing corporate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for City of Powell River.

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She said under the climate action charter, most local governments in BC have committed to becoming carbon neutral in their corporate operations, measuring and reporting their community’s greenhouse gas emissions, and creating complete, compact, more energy efficient communities.

Lukyanova reported that the city’s GHG emissions for 2018 were 1,210 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, which is 18 per cent lower than 2017 figures. Most of the emission reduction is attributed to optimized digital direct control (DDC) system settings at Powell River Recreation Complex.

The DDC controls heating and ventilation in different rooms and can be adjusted to, for example, reducing heat in unoccupied rooms. Optimizing the DDC settings led to a large reduction in natural gas use and emissions, and annual cost savings of nearly $50,000.

The city’s corporate emissions total for 2018 is offset by carbon reductions from Millennium Park (245 tonnes of GHGs), as well as the Penticton Park rezoning (965 tonnes of GHGs).

“We were actually able to claim carbon neutrality for 2018,” said Lukyanova. “That’s the first year, as far as I’m aware, that the city is claiming carbon neutrality from the charter.”

She said it was good to have the Penticton Park rezoning to offset corporate emissions for a net of zero.

Councillor Rob Southcott said he appreciates that the city is offsetting its carbon footprint instead of buying offsets.

A CARIP survey must be submitted to the province annually for the city to receive carbon tax reimbursement. This year, the CARIP total is $51,059.42. The money goes into the city’s climate action reserve fund, to be used for environmental and climate action expenditures.

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