Canada wants all buildings powered by green electricity by 2025
The Canadian government intends for all its buildings to be powered by green electricity within a decade.
The pledge is part of a wider plan for the federal government to cut its own greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030, which it aspires to accomplish by 2025, according to Market Business News.
Scott Brison, president of the Treasury Board, announced the plan in the House of Commons on Nov. 2.
The Treasury Board secretariat is also setting up a Centre for Greening Government to track government emissions, coordinate efforts and drive results.
Moving toward a cleaner, more innovative economy not only reduces emissions and protects the environment, it also creates better-paid jobs for the middle class, the government maintains, officials say.
The reduction in emissions will come from using clean energy to power government buildings – which are owned and run by the government’s main landlord Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) – and also from a range of other green strategies. These include investing in infrastructure and vehicle fleets, purchasing more sustainable products, and supporting clean technology.
“These actions demonstrate our leadership and dedication to improving the environment and the quality of life of Canadians,” said Judy Foote, minister of Public Services and Procurement.
The federal government already has announced $2.1 billion in Budget 2016 will be set aside for repairs and retrofits of government buildings.
Greener and more efficient
The intention is not only to make building greener, but also more efficient, so they use less energy overall.
Improving the energy efficiency of government buildings will make a big difference. For instance, in Ottawa, modernizing the heating and cooling systems in more than 80 buildings is expected to cut emissions by nearly 50 percent.
Joyce Murray, parliamentary secretary to the president of the Treasury Board, outlined the Canadian government’s plans to reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions in a speech to the Zero Waste 2016 Conference in Vancouver on Nov. 3.
Renewable energy sources currently provide nearly a fifth of Canada’s total primary energy supply.
With its large land mass and diverse geography, Canada is well-endowed with sources of renewable energy, such as moving water, wind, biomass, geothermal, solar and ocean.
At present, moving water provides nearly 60 percent of Canada’s electrical energy – in fact Canada is the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the world.
Wind and solar – which currently account for less than a 20th of the country’s electrical power – are the fastest growing renewable energy sources of electricity in Canada.
Shift toward a greener economy
Last year, the Green Economy Network (GEN) set out a plan for the greening of Canada’s economy. GEN members include Canadian-based environmental, social justice and labor organizations such as the Canadian Labour Congress.
The GEN plan includes detailed proposed strategies for: renewable energy development; green homes and green buildings; and national public transportation.
GEN note that not only would implementing such a plan result in the creation of many jobs, and make a substantial contribution toward Canada’s emissions reductions, it “would generate opportunities for the transition toward a more equitable, as well as a more sustainable, economy.”