Carbon Neutral Government
For an overview of the provincial government's carbon neutral achievements to date, including the new 2011 highlights booklet and public sector organisations' Carbon Neutral Action Reports, please visit LiveSmart BC.
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Carbon Neutral B.C.: A first for North America
B.C.’s public sector is officially carbon neutral, a first for any province or state in North America and an achievement that places British Columbia on the leading edge of climate action and growth in the clean energy and clean technology sectors.
To kick-start carbon neutral efforts, B.C. launched a $75 million public sector energy conservation capital fund in 2008. It has funded 247 energy projects in schools, hospitals, colleges, universities and other government buildings across the province. Once complete, those projects are expected to reduce carbon output by 36,500 tonnes, create 500 jobs and save organisations about $12.6 million in annual energy costs.
“From this point forward, every government building in our province will be carbon neutral, and that is spurring innovation in our growing clean energy and clean-tech sectors, which is helping create jobs for British Columbians,” said Environment Minister Terry Lake. “By providing capital funding for clean energy and conservation projects upfront, organisations are realising savings that can be reinvested in front-line services.”
B.C.’s carbon neutral regulation requires all public sector organisations to measure, reduce and offset greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from buildings, vehicle fleets and paper use.
Provincial public sector operations spent $18.2 million to offset 730,000 tonnes of GHGs in 2010, well within targets set when the carbon neutral regulation was introduced in 2007.
“In this first chapter of our carbon neutral success story we’ve shown cutting emissions creates savings and new jobs.” said Lake. “Taking a leadership role on carbon emissions has meant change and, in some cases, challenges for some organisations. The next chapter will be about working with those organisations on ways to lower their offset costs and see greater savings.”
Read the June 30, 2011 News Release
NEW Read the June 19, 2012 News Release + Annual Highlights Booklet
Methodology for Reporting B.C. Public Sector Greenhouse Gas Emissions
The 2012 B.C. Best Practices Methodology for Quantifying Greenhouse Gas Emissions sets out the current best practices for quantifying and reporting greenhouse gas emissions from B.C.’s provincial public sector organisations. B.C.’s best practices represent a robust and continually improving catalogue of emissions factors and emissions calculation methodologies that have drawn heavily on established protocols and authoritative sources. This document also represents the consolidation of the previously stand alone versions of Public Sector, Local Government and Community Energy and Emissions Inventory (CEEI) emissions methodology guides. From a Public Sector perspective, the primary purpose of the updated methodology document is to detail the emission factors and methodology used for calculating and reporting in-scope organisation emissions for the 2012 calendar year. Major changes and clarifications for 2012 include:
- updates to emission factors in line with annual updates to peer-reviewed documents and national and provincial emission factor inventories;
- The addition of pure biofuels (100% ethanol, biodiesel and biomethane) as distinct stationary fuel sources;
- A methodology to incorporate FortisBC’s renewable natural gas program;
- Four tiered efficiency options for purchased steam;
- Agricultural emission factors from the Community Energy and Emissions Inventory Technical Document;
- Clarification on customer billing on compressed natural gas: Gasoline Litre Equivalent compared to kilograms;
- Guidance on emissions from electric vehicles;
- An addendum providing carbon intensities and Smarttool functionality for select district energy systems is pending.
- A stand alone scope document has been created for Public Sector Organisations to help distinguish and clarify scope from methodologies;
- Public sector organisations will continue to report and offset emissions related to any space they lease (unless it is a capital lease) to a local government, regardless if that local government has achieved carbon neutrality;
- Non-wood fibre paper will be treated as in scope as it has a similar carbon intensity to 100% post-consumer recycled conventional paper products.
Moving Forward with Carbon Neutral Government: Engagement Report
B.C.’s public sector achieved carbon neutrality in June 2011. The Province of B.C. has been committed to continuous improvement related to the carbon neutral initiative, and with the first year of carbon neutrality complete, undertook to engage directly impacted stakeholders and climate policy experts on both the successes of the program and on recommended improvements. The engagement included meetings with:
- Health authorities – environmental and financial leadership;
- Post-secondary institutions – universities, institutes and colleges;
- K to 12 School Districts – elected officials, district leadership, business officials and energy managers;
- Academic climate and carbon policy experts; and
- Non-government organisations with interest in climate and offset policy.
This engagement has lead to a number of enhancements to the carbon neutral government program that will be rolled out over the spring of 2012. These include:
- Establishment of a $5-million fund for school districts: a new fund for energy efficiency projects that will lower carbon emissions is available to all school districts through an application process.
- Eliminating Measurement Costs: SMARTTool administration costs will no longer be charged to the public sector organisations, resulting in $850,000 cost savings that will be absorbed by the Pacific Carbon Trust.
- Public Sector Consultation: an advisory panel will be struck that includes representatives from the private and public sector. The panel will build a shared understanding and provide advice on the carbon offset portfolio used to meet the clients’ carbon neutral requirements.
- Streamlining current system: The establishment of a link that will feed energy data directly into SMARTTool to reduce administrative costs associated with measuring emissions.
- Eliminating $850,000 in costs for measurement: costs for access to SMARTTool and business analyst support will be covered by the Pacific Carbon Trust.
- Low-cost energy conservation initiatives: B.C. will work with Public Sector Energy Conservation Agreement partners to provide training, information and support with a goal of identifying low- or no-cost opportunities to save energy and reduce costs.
- Improved reporting tools: easy to use on-line tools will allow simplify annual reporting and provide public sector organisations with better information to support planning.
Learn more by reading the document, Moving Forward with Carbon Neutral Government: Engagement Report (PDF/600KB).
For information on enhancements to the program please contact email@example.com.