Green Toolbox--Announcements and Information--February 2014

ACTIVE TRANSPORTATION ARTICLE SERIES:  ARTICLE # 2
COURTESY OF UNSM’S ACTIVE TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE

WALKING BENEFITS COMMUNITIES AROUND NOVA SCOTIA
By Renee Hartlieb
Active Transportation Committee ArticleWhen Stephanie Johnstone-Laurette was a teenager, she didn’t have the same kind of urge to get her driver’s license as other kids her age. Growing up in Sydney, Cape Breton, her parents encouraged her to walk and bike places, including school. It’s something she’s grateful for today.

“It provided me with a freedom and a sense of independence,” she says. “The fact that I walked, biked, and bussed my way around paved the way for many of my future modes of travel.” In fact, neither Johnstone-Laurette nor her husband Chris had a driver’s license until eight years ago.

Today, they have two kids and a car, but they don’t use it for short trips. “Over time, I’ve covered some pretty good ground on just two feet,” says Johnstone-Laurette, who works at the Ecology Action Centre in Sydney as a Youth Active Transportation Coordinator. “I find it hard to validate taking a car for a trip when I know I can easily get there without any environmental impact.”

Each day begins with a 30-minute walk to her daughter’s school and that’s just a primer! Although Johnstone-Laurette works from home, if the day calls for meetings, she usually walks. This means that she’s matching the average of 10,000 steps per day (roughly 7-8 km) that Heart & Stroke Walkabout™ recommends for health.

Given that heart disease and stroke are among the top causes of premature death among Canadians, Walkabout is committed to creating a walking culture in Nova Scotia. “People who are physically active are generally healthier, live longer, and have a better quality of life,” says Catherine Droesbeck, Community Health Promotion Lead at the Heart and Stroke Foundation. “One in three Canadians will die from heart disease or stroke. These odds can be greatly reduced through physical activity.”

Over the last six years, this innovative program has been spreading the good news about walking, by providing tools and resources to help make walking part of the daily routine of more Nova Scotians. One of their main modes of communication is Heart and Stroke Walkabout’s™ website where over 5500 website members have logged nearly two billion steps. Walking groups have sprung up all over the province and members use the website to connect, record their progress, and share walking routes and trails.

The hard-working staff of the Walkabout program also trains individuals to be walking leaders, or champions, in communities and workplaces (600 people trained to date!). “Walking in a group provides motivation for people to get healthy and also offers a social element,” says Droesbeck, who adds that a brisk walk at lunch is a wonderful antidote to the sedentary nature of most office jobs.

“Physical activity has been engineered out of our lives and it takes effort to work it back in, but it is worth it. When co-workers get together to walk, it breaks up the day and usually results in increased productivity.”

Heart and Stroke Walkabout™ also works with employers, municipalities, and the Ecology Action Centre to promote walking as a way of getting to and from work. “Walking provides more than just physical health benefits,” says Droesbeck. “We educate people on what active transportation (AT) is and how they can use it in their lives to enjoy the many benefits of getting around actively.  We also work with groups to create more walkable communities that are healthier, vibrant, and sustainable.”

Having parents who encouraged her to get around using her own steam was definitely inspirational but Johnstone-Laurette also had the benefit of experiencing one of the best examples of AT infrastructure in the world when was just twenty years old. “I went to a university in Sweden where they provided bicycles to students who lived on campus. What an amazing message to send to young people.”

A few years later, while living in southern Ontario, she took advantage of their excellent transit systems, as well as myriad urban biking and walking trails. “These communities invested time and resources to create a network that appealed to people who wanted to decrease their dependence on cars.”

Johnstone-Laurette envisions a day when people all over Nova Scotia are choosing to walk for many of their short trips. “Our whole family enjoys the ‘connecting time’ that walking together brings. We feel closer as a family, but also closer to our community and our surroundings.”


THE DISTRICT OF ST. MARY’S NEW ADMINISTRATION BUILDING IS CERTIFIED TO GREEN GLOBES STANDARDS

District of St. Marys Administration BuildingArticle provided by David C. Stewart & Associates Inc. (); Here is the case study for more information.

GREEN GLOBES PUTS BUILDINGS ON A CARBON DIET

The District of St. Mary’s new administration building in Sherbrooke is the most recent building in Nova Scotia certified to Green Globes standards. When the community of Sherbrooke outgrew their existing administration centre, they decided to pursue Green Globes certification to ensure that their new home would be affordable to operate long-term, as well as be environmentally responsible, healthy and comfortable.

Taking a “whole building” approach, all aspects of the structure were taken into consideration, even down to the selection of cleaning products to be used through the life of the building, and the training and education to the building occupants. Local materials, including the lumber, labour and concrete were utilized to reduce the impact of transportation needed to bring them to the site. The Athena life-cycle impact calculator was used to determine the global warming potential, carbon accounting and embodied energy of the building, generating a cradle-to-grave, life-cycle inventory profile for the whole building.

Rather than having propane or heating fuel delivered to the site at considerable expense, the design team decided to install a ground source heat exchanger, which saves money and reduces the environmental burden. The annual energy costs are estimated to be $ 16.22 per m2 ($1.50 per ft2).

Originally, the Province of Nova Scotia’s Federal Gas Tax program provided funding to municipalities for new construction if the building achieved at least LEED-Silver certification. In June 2012, the Canada-Nova Scotia Infrastructure Secretariat (CNSIS) reformed the existing Gas Tax Program requirements to allow the use of Green Globes as well as LEED in the Community Energy category with respect to building construction and retrofits. If a building choses the Green Globes rating system, it is required to achieve at least three Green Globes certification to qualify for funding under Nova Scotia’s Federal Gas Tax program. The building qualified for full funding of the $1.8 million construction costs under Nova Scotia’s Federal Gas Tax program because it achieved four out of five Green Globes.
 
The Green Globes consulting/facilitation and energy modelling services were provided to the design team of Archibald and Fraser Architects Ltd. (Architect) provided by David C. Stewart & Associates Inc.. AH Roy & Associates Ltd. were the Mechanical and Electrical Engineers, CJ MacLellan & Associates Inc. were the Structural Engineers and ECD Energy and Environment Canada provided the third party review.  The General Contractor was Tate Construction Ltd.

TOWN OF SPRINGHILL TO OPEN NOVA SCOTIA'S FIRST MUNICIPAL GEOTHERMAL PROGRAM

Springhill has final provincial approval to open Nova Scotia's first municipal geothermal program.
Natural Resources Minister Zach Churchill signed a special lease to give the project the go-ahead.

"This is about supporting jobs and the community, while helping Springhill businesses and property owners benefit from this efficient, clean energy source," said Mr. Churchill.

Historic underground coalmine workings in Springhill contain about 49 billion litres of water.
The water is heated by geothermal energy from the Earth. The mines' depths make underground water as much as 11 C higher than normal groundwater temperatures. The water can be used to heat buildings and is then returned underground to be reheated by natural processes.

"With this special lease, we can exploit a vast renewable and sustainable green energy source for the Town of Springhill and the Municipality of the County of Cumberland," said Mayor Maxwell Snow. "This program will help to develop Springhill's geothermal resource and possibly lead to creating a utility that will help all of Nova Scotia, the economy and the environment."

The Province is committed to exploring alternative energy sources and reducing its reliance on fossil fuels.

For more information, click here.

OUTDOOR OPPORTUNITIES AWAIT ON TRAIL FOR HALIFAX TO LUNENBURG:  DESTINATION TRAIL TO STRETCH 109 KM

Article courtesy of ACOA.

Nova Scotia is upgrading, unifying and branding seven of its trails as a new outdoor adventure tourism product: a continuous 109km hiking and cycling route from Halifax to Lunenburg. The destination trail will be promoted as a new way for visitors to experience two of the province’s most popular destinations—and all the scenic communities in between.

Representatives from each of the seven trail systems have formed the Halifax to Lunenburg Steering Committee to spearhead the project, which includes the development of a trail brand, wayfinding signs, information kiosks, improved access points, amenity and rest areas and a mobile-compatible website. The committee is collaborating with communities along the trail corridor and using local suppliers for goods and services related to the project.

The Government of Canada is investing $83,000 in the project, through ACOA’s Innovative Communities Fund (ICF), as announced today by Parliamentary Secretary and local MP Gerald Keddy. The Province of Nova Scotia is contributing $65,000 through Nova Scotia Economic and Rural Development and Tourism. Additional support for the project includes $20,000 from Halifax Regional Municipality, $5,000 from the Municipality of the District of Chester and $5,000 from the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg.

Quick Facts

  • According to the Nova Scotia Tourism Agency, the outdoor enthusiast visitor stays longer and spends more than other tourists—$1,960 versus $1,290 on average per person.
  • The seven Nova Scotia trails being combined to create the destination trail are: the Chain of Lakes Trail, the Beechville Lakeside Timberlea (BLT) Trail, the St. Margaret’s Bay Area Rails-to-Trails Trail, the Aspotagan Trail, the Chester Connecter Trail, the Dynamite Trail and the Bay to Bay Trail.
  • The use of local suppliers for the project will inject an estimated $170,000 into local economies.
  • The vision of the Nova Scotia Trails Federation is for all Nova Scotians and visitors to have access to well-managed trails for the pursuit of health, recreation and tourism.


NOVA SCOTIA'S ELECTRICITY FUTURE - A COMPREHENSIVE REVIEW OF ELECTRICITY SYSTEM

In the fall of 2013, the Government of Nova Scotia announced that the first comprehensive review of our province’s electricity system in over a decade would begin in 2014. The review is a legislated commitment under the Electricity Reform Act, which was passed by the Nova Scotia Legislature on December 12, 2013. The Minister of Energy stated that the review would begin with expert reviews and would flow into public consultations on what Nova Scotians want the market to look like in the future.

The Electricity Reform Act has two parts: the first opened up the market for low impact renewable electricity suppliers to compete for the sale of electricity to Nova Scotia Power’s (NSP’s) retail customers. Work on implementing that portion of the act is currently underway.

The second part of the act requires the Minister of Energy to complete public consultation on the future policy plans and regulations for electricity in the province of Nova Scotia.

The Act outlines three specific areas for consultation:
a.    Emerging technologies that may affect the supply and demand for electricity in the Province;
b.    Market trends in the supply and demand for energy that may affect prices for electricity in the Province, including those relating to energy efficiency and conservation; and
c.    Emerging trends in utility governance, organization, performance and accountability.

The review will be conducted in two phases:
Phase 1 - Technical Study & Review:  To gather technical and expert analysis to evaluate global factors and experience that impact Nova Scotia’s electricity system and establish Nova Scotia’s system and economics within a local and regional context.
Phase 2 - Public Consultation and Engagement:  To integrate the various technical studies and expert views. This information will be available for the public and key stakeholders. Public engagement will be led by the Government of Nova Scotia, but also at times will be hosted by stakeholders. The studies commissioned during the first phase of the review will form the basis of broad public consultation and engagement on our electricity system.

The Department of Energy will enable broad participation by Nova Scotians through a variety of engagement tools including surveys, interactive websites and expert forums. Multiple opportunities for engagement are planned over the course of the review and will include targeted stakeholder sessions as well as public meetings. A detailed public engagement plan will be made available as the review progresses.

The Province will release a final report outlining the findings of the electricity review in the spring of 2015. This report will form the basis of Government’s future plans for Nova Scotia’s electricity sector.

For more information on the review, click here.

NEW REGULATIONS ANNOUNCED TO HELP GUIDE NOVA SCOTIA AS TIDAL ENERGY LEADER

New provincial tidal energy regulations will allow early stage projects to connect to Nova Scotia's power grid.  Energy Minister, Andrew Younger, announced the regulations that will help developers invest hundreds of millions of dollars to build a new renewable industry in the province.

"Nova Scotia is becoming a world leader in innovation for in-stream tidal turbines and other emerging technologies, and I am fully committed to advancing this industry here and around the globe," said Mr. Younger. "I made a commitment to the tidal industry that we would get these regulations done by the end of January and I am pleased we now have them approved.

"These regulations will help ensure the industry can invest money and create jobs to install 15 to 20 megawatts of tidal-power capacity in Nova Scotia over the next five or six years, and more in years to come."

The government worked with industry to develop the regulations for large-scale tidal developments connected to the electricity grid with a capacity of at least 500 kilowatts.  The regulations were developed after the province's Utility and Review Board set a feed-in tariff for the tidal projects last fall.

It will likely be early 2015 before a turbine, or a group of turbines, are in the water at the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy (FORCE) in the Minas Channel and producing electricity on a trial basis. The timeline estimate will be updated after successful bidders for berths at FORCE are announced in March.

The regulations for the application and approval for a feed-in tariff is available by clicking here.