Saanich (British Columbia), Canada
Saanich is located in the southern part of Vancouver Island and as a district municipality in British Columbia it is home to about 109,752 inhabitants (2011).
In 2008, the Saanich Official Community Plan was updated with a significant commitment to sustainability and climate action, including the use and reuse of renewable and alternative resources. This led to the Saanich Council’s 2010 adoption of the Saanich Climate Action Plan and GHG reduction targets. Strategy 4 of the Plan (Energy Alternatives) further extended the commitment to explore renewables. Most recently, the Council presented a building retrofit project that concluded with a proposal for 100% RE. As a result, an application was submitted for the Transformative Actions Program (TAP). Consequently, the city plans to develop an RE strategy for each municipal building in 2016.
While the Municipality has only just started to integrate renewables into facilities, they now might have the financial and technological tools available to explore the 100% renewable path in detail. The Municipality as a whole has a low growth rate, and therefore RE retrofit in municipal buildings would provide beneficial examples to the community and the region.
New municipal buildings are not currently scheduled for construction. Therefore, the focus lays on achieving the goal primarily through retrofits. The main challenge of the RE transition will be to complete renewable energy preparedness assessments and finance options for the different buildings in Saanich’s Facilities Master Plan as they need upgrading. Identifying the optimum RE solutions (on-site generation, RE purchases, etc.) will also provide some unique challenges.
The city now is working on exploring viabilities of heat pumps and other energy efficiency solutions as well as spreading the understanding of achieving 100% RE and the options for phasing it in to our facilities and the role of renewable energy credits.
Furthermore, there is a request from an initiative of the British Columbia Sustainable Energy Association (BCSEA) aiming to convince the municipalities in the area to adopt a goal of achieving 100% RE by 2050 for all energy demand, including not only the municipal operations.
Monday, September 11th, 2017
image by flickr, Province of British Columbia