Climate Change/Energy Efficiency

UNSM’s Municipal Climate Change Mitigation Plan Guide (2011)

Drawing upon best practices from existing local and national resources, UNSM developed a Nova Scotia-specific guide for producing a climate change mitigation plan to help municipalities identify and implement strategic measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from their daily operations. By setting out a framework to direct municipalities through the steps of developing a mitigation plan, Municipal Climate Change Mitigation Plan Guide (1.7 MB) focuses on opportunities to reduce municipal energy use that will lead to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and ultimately reduce operational costs.

The guide is modular in nature and can be used to meet the minimum requirements under the Gas Tax Funding Agreement or to develop a comprehensive mitigation plan. UNSM recognizes that there are a variety of approaches each municipality can take to address climate change. This guide will provide the information and direction required to successfully tailor individual approaches, given the unique circumstances of each municipality.

UNSM’s Municipal Climate Change Mitigation Plan Guide provides:

  1. A step-by-step framework to develop a plan to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions from daily operations through the implementation of energy reduction measures
  2. A rationale for completing an emissions inventory to identify relevant reduction measures and provide a reference point for tracking future reductions
  3. A suite of suggested reduction measure for municipal buildings, vehicle fleets, streetlights, water and wastewater facilities and solid waste
  4. A business case for implementing reductions measures to help demonstrate cost savings
  5. Recommendations for implementation and monitoring progress

Municipalities Idleless: Idling Reductions Options – Summary Report (2011)

This report (12 MB) is a summary of work completed in 2010 by the Ecology Action Centre with support from UNSM’s Municipal Sustainability Office. The summary report outlines options that municipalities and businesses can take to help reduce carbon emissions in the transportation sector.

Idle-free Toolkit for Municipalities (2010)

Municipalities in Nova Scotia and in the rest of Canada are working to eliminate unnecessary idling as an easy way to improve air quality, contribute to climate protection and save fuel costs. Municipalities are well positioned to demonstrate leadership and effectively implement coordinated, community-based, idle-free compaigns. The Idle-free Toolkit for Municipalities (9.7 MB) developed by Clean Nova Scotia with funding from Nova Scotia Environment's Climate Change Directorate and Air Quality Branch, provides a framework to help municipalities develop effective programs to eliminate unnecessary idling. The toolkit highlights local and national idle-free initiatives, provides guidance on by-law creation, enforcement and public education, and offers links to valuable idle-free resources.

Community Energy & Emissions Toolkit (2010)

The Community Energy & Emissions Toolkit is a companion to the corporate version. It allows municipalities to track energy use and community-wide emission levels for its residential, commercial/industrial and transportation sectors. Click Community Energy And Emissions Spreadsheet V1 (585 kB) for the latest version.


The Community Energy and Emissions User Guide (137 kB) has been designed specifically to accompany the Community Energy and Emissions Spreadsheet.

Corporate Energy & Emissions Toolkit (2008)

Many municipal governments struggle to manage energy costs and undertake measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as they often lack the resources, both financial and human, to put into practice energy-saving initiatives even though there is a strong business case to do so. Before municipalities can implement initiatives to conserve energy and reduce emissions, they must calculate their energy use to provide a starting point or baseline for tracking future reductions.

In 2007, UNSM, in partnership with Nova Scotia Energy/Conserve Nova Scotia, Service Nova Scotia & Municipal Relations, and Nova Scotia Environment, commissioned the development of an emissions and energy tool-kit for Nova Scotia municipalities to track their energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. The Corporate Energy & Emissions Toolkit has three components: a spreadsheet to calculate energy use and greenhouse gas emission from all municipal operations, an instruction manual to provide guidance on using the spreadsheet and educational materials.

The UNSM Community Energy and Emissions User Guide (395 kB). This is a calculation and quantification tool based on the Inventory Quantification Support Spreadsheet, developed by the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) and administered by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM). The ICLEI tool was modified with permission from FCM and ICLEI. It will assist municipalities in quantifying both their greenhouse gas (GHG) and air pollutant (AP) emissions of their operations. This includes emission from your municipal buildings, fleet and service delivery operations. Please note that an updated version of this spreadsheet was uploaded on October 25, 2011.

The Corporate Energy and Emissions Instruction Manual (125 kB) This manual has been designed specifically to accompany the Corporate Energy and Emissions Spreadsheet. You should read this before you use the Corporate Energy and Emissions Spreadsheet.

The Corporate Energy and Emissions Education Materials (529 kB) This is a power point package to help explain the system for municipalities. It will be used as the basis for training workshops on the Tool-Kit in 2008, however, municipalities may find it a useful to use internally in the coming weeks.

Green Office Procedures Toolkit (2009)

A group of Dalhousie University graduate students in the Faculty of Management Program worked with the Municipal Sustainability Office to develop a toolkit to help municipalities reduce their energy and resource use from their daily operations. The Green Office Procedures Toolkit (695 kB) is the result of the students’ efforts.

Energy Efficient Street Lighting Strategies for Nova Scotia Municipalities Report (2009)

Street lights are a significant expenditure and source of greenhouse gas emissions for municipalities. With in the province, Nova Scotia Power Inc. owns and maintains the majority of street lights and municipalities pay the utility a flat fee based on the number and size of street lights they lease.

To provide Nova Scotia municipalities with options for reducing the costs and energy use associated with street lights, UNSM, in collaboration with Nova Scotia Power Inc., Halifax Regional Municipality and Conserve Nova Scotia, commissioned a study to explore energy-efficient street lighting strategies.

The Energy Efficient Street Lighting Strategies for Nova Scotia Municipalities report (7.3 MB) contains extensive information on the purposes and benefits of roadway lighting, design standards and practices, and how to determine where and when to light roadways. In addition to the background and technical information, the report offers a review of energy efficient lighting by providing a comparison of the various technologies and practices, along with consideration of barriers and opportunities for their implementation.

In terms of recommendations, the report offers the following to improve street lighting efficiency and design practices within Nova Scotia:

  1. Consider assessing and testing new adaptive lighting or dimming controls which vary the levels of lighting during non-peak traffic flow periods.
  2. Since all street lighting products do not perform equally, use the Canadian Standards Association guide (CSA-C653) to compare products and choose the right one for each application.
  3. In terms of “how” to light, adopt industry standard design practices and develop a common Street Lighting Design Criteria based on the Transportation Association of Canada’s Roadway Lighting Design Guide.
  4. In terms of “where and when” to light, develop a standard practice based on the report’s recommendations to create a more consistent application of lighting.

Save Money, Save Energy & Cut Emissions: Quick and Easy Steps for Nova Scotia Municipalities Report and Brochure (2005)

In 2005, UNSM’s Sustainable Practices Committee commissioned the development of a guidebook (1.3 MB) and brochure (817 kb) on how to cut greenhouse gas emissions and reduce energy use entitled, Save Money, Save Energy, and Cut Emissions: Quick and Easy Steps for Nova Scotia Municipalities.