CANMORE – The Town of Canmore is inching towards its greenhouse gas emission reduction goals.
During Committee of the Whole on Tuesday (Feb. 18), an update to council on the 2018 Corporate and Community Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventory as well as the current status toward Climate Action Plan targets shows a 0.4 per cent decline in emissions between 2015-18.
“This is our corporate greenhouse gas inventory, so the majority, almost all of our emissions here, come from our Town buildings, and then our water and wastewater treatment and distribution and infrastructure, a small amount from streetlights and traffic signals, and a small amount from fleet vehicles,” said Amy Fournier, the Town’s climate change specialist.
“Between 2015 and 2018 there was a very, very small slight reduction of 0.4 per cent. That’s really due to streetlights, so in 2016 there was the conversion to new LED streetlights and so streetlight greenhouse gas emissions dropped by 37 per cent during that time.”
Fournier explained that within the Towns buildings, a mixture of natural gas and electricity is used.
“I wanted to just highlight this for you because it’s important when we’re looking at strategies for GHG reduction that not all buildings use energy equally,” said Fournier.
“You can see, for example, that Elevation Place has the most significant segment [32 per cent] for natural gas use but is much smaller for electricity [16 per cent]. So as we’re testing out different strategies, what works for natural gas isn’t necessarily doing the same for reducing electricity.”
Two- thirds of the Town’s emissions, both from natural gas and electricity, come from three buildings; Elevation Place, Canmore Recreation Centre, and the Wastewater Treatment Plant.
“Interesting as well that our GHG emissions really relate to water,” said Fournier. “Heating water for the Elevation Place pool, freezing water for the ice rinks at the Rec Centre, and then treating and distributing water – both drinking water and waste water make up a bulk of our GHG emissions.”
In addition to this, Fournier looked at what fuel types contribute most to emissions. Electricity is almost three-quarters of the pie chart at a whopping 72 per cent. Natural gas follows with 25 per cent and diesel and gasoline contribute three per cent. Fournier adds that solar panel added to Town buildings will “really going to tackle our biggest sources of greenhouse gas emissions.”
In terms of the Canmore Community GHG Inventory, it’s similar to the corporate structure in that buildings are the main source of GHG emissions.
“These are homes, hotels, small businesses – buildings throughout our community make up the bulk of it,” she said, adding that transportation and waste make up the rest.
“There’s about a two per cent over all reduction in greenhouse gas emissions between 2015 and 2018, but I do want to stress that that’s estimated because the bulk of the reduction came from transportation emissions. Unlike building emissions where we can take actual energy consumption data from utilities and use that, transportation emissions are a lot less certain because we don’t have great data.”
Data shows gasoline sales in Canmore have also declined by 10 per cent with diesel sales declining by 15 per cent.
“The gasoline and diesel sales is why we had decrease in transportation emissions,” said Fournier.
However, Councillor Rob Seeley pointed out this is likely due to high gas prices within the Town.
“Just about that, gas is very expensive in Canmore, and I’m wondering if a lot of it is purchased elsewhere,” he said.
Fournier said the next inventory won’t be until 2021, aligning with the Canadian census, however in the interim years, the Town can still monitor what’s happening with their own data.
Currently, the Town of Canmore is aiming to reduce GHGe 50 per cent by 2030, and then to 80 per cent by 2050.
Visit canmore.ca/residents/stewardship-of-the-environment/climate-change-adaptation-plan/climate-action-plan for more on the Town’s climate action plan.