Green Toolbox for Growing Sustainable Municipalities--January-February 2015

The Green ToolBox - For Growing Sustainable MunicipalitiesLeaf for Green ToolBox

From UNSM’s Municipal Sustainability Office

January-February 2015

 

Announcements

HRM IS HONORED AT FCM’S SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES CONFERENCE FOR ITS SOLAR CITY PROJECT

On February 11 at the Sustainable Communities Conference in London, ON, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) recognized innovation and excellence in municipal sustainable development by honoring 9 municipalities across the country.  Among the winners of FCM’s Sustainable Communities Awards was HRM for its Solar City Project.  Like the other municipalities recognized for their efforts, Solar City focused on partnerships and community engagement to ensure environmental, economic and social benefits.

"Together, this year's winning communities stand out as leading examples of how citizens, stakeholders and municipal councils can work together on a range of sustainability initiatives," said Brad Woodside, FCM President and Mayor of City of Fredericton, NB.  "It's one thing to have a vision for a sustainable project — it's quite another to engage citizens, stakeholders and council in making it a reality. These award-winning projects are inspiring for all community leaders, and they demonstrate that municipalities are on the frontlines in facing environmental challenges."

Solar City is the first community renewable energy project in Canada that enables residents to finance the installation of domestic solar hot water systems on their homes as a supplement to their property tax bills for up to 10 years, with the municipality arranging financing, rebates and contracting.  
    
Simplicity - the key premise of Solar City -  is proving to be a very sound component of the project.  Residents no longer need to be financing, technical or procurement experts – they just opt into the program and HRM makes it easy to participate.

Congratulation to Halifax Regional council and to the staff of HRM for their leadership and committed efforts to adopt sustainable solutions for the betterment of their municipality!

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY PUTS A HOLD ON NOVA SCOTIA’S COMFIT PROGRAM

The Government of Nova Scotia recently announced it plans to pause and evaluate the COMFIT program to ensure it continues to be community-based, innovative and contributes to the Nova Scotia’s future energy needs. New applications will not be processed pending this program review and the release of the electricity plan this fall.COMFIT has played an important role in helping Nova Scotia achieve its renewable energy targets. With over 90 COMFIT projects approved to date, the program will likely exceed its original goal to produce almost 100 megawatts of locally produced energy. Applications received before this recent announcement will continue to be processed and decisions will be made in the coming months.
 
For more information, visit: http://energy.novascotia.ca/renewables.

Events

NOVA SCOTIA SMART ENERGY SOLUTIONS FORUM (ORGANIZED BY QUEST NOVA SCOTIA)
MARCH 4
FOUR POINTS SHERATON, HALIFAX
COST:  $25

QUEST (Quality Urban Energy Solutions for Tomorrow) Nova Scotia, in collaboration with the Department of Energy, invites you to the Nova Scotia Smart Energy Solutions Forum.  This one-day event will highlight technologies, strategies and partnerships for advancing smart energy management across the Province.

Nova Scotia is at a key stage in planning its energy future. How can smart energy management improve the way we use energy? What is the potential for engaging energy customers through energy data access? And what are the local innovation and market opportunities? Three white papers will be provided in advance of the forum to identify where industry is regarding (1) hardware (2) apps and (3) monitoring systems.

The Nova Scotia Smart Energy Solutions Forum will address four topics (1) the future of energy data, (2) how hardware is shaping the energy landscape, (3) possible customer applications, and (4) how technologies can be integrated into energy monitoring networks.  Participate in this one-day session to build your knowledge and partnerships to advance smart energy management in Nova Scotia.

For more information, visit:  http://www.questcanada.org/nssmartforum

 

SHIFT RURAL CONFERENCE (ORGANIZED BY DALHOUSIE UNIVERSITY’S SCHOOL OF PLANNING)
MARCH 11-14

Shift Rural Logo

COST:  FREE

This year’s SHIFT conference will explore the unique challenges and opportunities that rural communities face and their relatio

nship with urban communities. It will also investigate practices for building capacity in rural areas, while exploring ways to enhance connectivity between communities of all sizes. Through a mix of speakers, panel discussions and workshops, the conference explores the importance of rural communities and how they are innovating in changing demographic and economic landscapes.

For over 20 years, Dalhousie’s School of Planning’s SHIFT conference has addressed pressing issues concerning where we live. The conference is organized entirely by students who believe that the exchange of new ideas can bring positive change. The conference’s purpose is to bring together a diverse group to discuss important community issues and advance awareness of current topics, best practices and innovation in planning and community design. For more information, visit:  http://www.dalhousieplanningconference.com/about

 

Resources

INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS TO SAVE WATER, ENERGY AND MONEY

The Ecology Action Centre (EAC) is pleased to release a new report, Creating a Culture of Water and Energy Efficiency in Nova Scotia Communities.  This report describes water consumption, water leakage, and energy use at water utilities, and provides recommendations that will allow communities to save water, energy and money.  

“Communities are finding innovative solutions to provide clean, affordable drinking water to their clients,” stated Jennifer West, Geoscience Coordinator at EAC and author of the report.  “But they are facing significant challenges that are unique to each area.”  

The project compared energy used to provide water services, for example in the pumping, transport, treatment and delivery of water into residents’ homes.  “There is a clear connection between conserving water and conserving energy, and utilities are working hard to save both,” stated Ms. West.  

“Our biggest finding was that there is very little data to work with regarding our water use.  It’s impossible to understand and protect a resource that isn’t being properly monitored.” she said.  The report lists seven recommendations for water leaders at the municipal level, starting with the expansion of water metering into more communities.  

To read and download the report, please visit:
http://www.ecologyaction.ca/water-energy-nexus

For more information on the Creating a Culture of Water and Energy Efficiency in Nova Scotia Communities report, contact Jennifer West at or (902) 538-0520.

 

ENERGY STAR PORTFOLIO MANAGER FOR BENCHMARKING ENERGY PERFORMANCE

In today's marketplace, superior energy management is a significant competitive advantage.  Understanding your municipality's energy consumption is the first place to start when considering any energy efficiency effort. It is a known fact that millions of dollars are wasted every year by energy inefficient buildings. By implementing a proven energy management strategy, such as energy benchmarking, you can positively - and relatively quickly - impact your bottom line and make sure your municipality comes out on top.ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager Text Box

Energy benchmarking is a key energy management best practice that enables municipalities to identify poorly performing buildings, invest strategically in energy efficient upgrades and track the effectiveness of the improvements you undertake. More to the point, it will help lower operating costs and save money.

Through benchmarking, the key metrics for assessing the performance of a building or portfolio of buildings can be identified along with a facility's key drivers of energy use. Benchmarking is an important tool that cannot be overlooked for improving energy performance.

What is Portfolio Manager?
Portfolio Manager is a free, interactive energy management tool that allows you to track and assess energy and water consumption across your entire portfolio of buildings in a secure online environment.  It can help you set investment priorities, identify under-performing buildings, verify efficiency improvements, facilitate accreditation in Canadian green building programs, and more.

Join the energy benchmarking movement
Natural Resources Canada is spearheading a national energy benchmarking initiative for the commercial and institutional buildings sector. Through this initiative, municipalities have the ability to compare their building's energy consumption against equivalent buildings - and use that knowledge to make informed decisions about energy performance.

For more information about the Portfolio Manager, e-mail: 

 

Funding Opportunity

THE MUNICIPAL ACTIVE TRANSPORTATION PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT GRANT

The aim of the Municipal Active Transportation (AT) Professional Development Grant is to increase the level of technical expertise in AT facility planning, design and implementation among professionals with direct or potential impact on AT in Nova Scotia.  The grant is a partnership of the Ecology Action Centre and the NS Department of Health and Wellness.The grant is for Nova Scotia municipal employees (including planners, engineers and community developers) who are working or will work on AT facility planning, design and implementation. The grant will assist in covering costs of attending professional development experiences to increase technical expertise in AT facility planning, design and implementation.This grant is open on an ongoing basis in 2015 until the funds are used up.  Applicants must apply at least six weeks prior to the event they wish to attend.For more information on the Municipal AT Professional Development Grant, visit:  https://www.ecologyaction.ca/issue-area/Mun-AT-PD-Grant

 

  For more information about the initiatives included in the Green Toolbox, please contact Debbie Nielsen, Municipal Sustainability Coordinator by telephone (423-8312)or e-mail ().