Going green to save dollars

Burns Lake GHG reductions can make a difference to your bottom line.

Peter Robinson, Community Energy Planner for the B.C. Community Energy Association, was in Burns Lake recently to present Village of Burns Lake (VBL) council with some recent statistics specific to area residents.

The drive towards a reduced environmental footprint has been heavily championed by the province through multiple incentive programs at the community level.

Since 2007, 13 different programs and acts have been rolled out in communities across the province. Although some controversy surrounded elements of the roll-out – like forced payments into a carbon offset program – some large municipalities have been showing progress in desired results.

The city of Vancouver, for example, is on track to meet its target of bringing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to six per cent below 1990 levels. Since 2000, Vancouver has dropped almost 500,000 tonnes worth of emissions annually. This has occurred as the city’s population continues to grow.

Overall, between 2007 and 2010, the province has, according to its own published statistics, seen a four and a half per cent decrease in GHG emissions, while experiencing a five per cent population growth, and a four and a half per cent increase in gross domestic product (a measure of productivity) in the same time frame.

In Burns Lake, the vast majority of GHG emissions come from on-road vehicles registered in the community. Seventy-one percent of all GHG emissions in 2010 came from transportation sources, 24 per cent from buildings, and five per cent from solid waste disposal.

To put that in context, the CEA has assigned dollar values to what those emission levels mean to local pocketbooks.

In 2010, Burns Lake residents spent approximately $15 million – about $6900 per person including municipal taxes – on fuel, electricity, natural gas, propane, wood and heating oil. Those numbers include municipal emissions made on our behalf, but the take-home message, according to the CEA, is that reducing green house gas emissions reduces your cost of living, over and above the benefits to the environment.

According to Robinson, Burns Lake, as a municipality, has been progressive in implementing GHG reduction strategies. Projects like energy-efficient street lighting, a new furnace at the village office, and the innovative bioenergy systems at the arena were held up as signs of GHG-conscious facility upgrades.

Although less immediately translatable into dollar savings, improvements to pedestrian infrastructure and downtown revitalization all contribute to energy-saving habits that may see more foot traffic and less automotive traffic.

“We want to compare apples to apples,” counc. Frank Varga said. “How many communities the size of Burns Lake are doing as much as we are doing?”

Although Robinson didn’t have the exact stats on hand, he had a sense for where Burns Lake stood in comparison.

“You’re probably number one,” Robinson said. Burns Lake emissions data for 2012 will not be available until 2014.

According to VBL development services coordinator, Jeff Ragsdale, the village’s climate charter commitment is to reduce emissions by 33 per cent below 2007 levels, by 2020.

Our 2010 GHG emissions – the most recent statistic available – stood at 30,204 tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions. The commitment to a 33 per cent reduction in emissions will require dropping 9634 tonnes of emissions.

Small municipalities face significant challenges when it comes to reducing overall emissions. With the largest portion of emission coming from transportation sources, there is little the municipality can do about required service levels in town.

Ragsdale added that community engagement and participation are among the critical factors that must fall into place for Burns Lake to meet its GHG reduction targets, as well as sufficient budget, identification of priority GHG reduction measures that the community wants to support.

Local hardships and poverty levels are another challenge Burns Lake faces.

Snowplows and sand trucks have to run, and our local economy is tied to forestry and the industrial traffic and emissions that go with it. But the village has been aggressive and successful in thoughtfully pursuing energy-efficient options, like bio-energy heating at the Tom Forsyth Arena, installing an electric vehicle charging station downtown.

The village also elected in 2012 to start a local fund for local GHG reduction projects with money that otherwise would have been paid out in purchasing carbon offsets.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

This photo of approximately 10 years ago shows Laureen Fabian, on the left, and daughter Caterina Andrews. Fabian went missing last October and her daughter is looking for answers. (Contributed photo)
Laureen Fabian’s disappearance remains a mystery

It’s been a year since she went missing

Adam Schmidt is currently at the BC Children’s Hospital. (GoFundMe/Laurel Miller)
Community comes together for a 15 year old Burns Laker admitted at BC Children’s hospital

A fundraising campaign to support the family is being run now

Last year’s Halloween saw a sunny day and in-person costume contests. (Blair McBride photo)
What’s Burns Lakes’ spooktacular plan for this Halloween?

Trick or treating, online contests and more for this season

WKE students pose with carpentry tools in front of the ADST trailer that will allow the school to have a fully operational mobile wood shop. (Karen Ware photo/Lakes District News)
William Konkin Elementary school undertakes project to teach intentional kindness

Students to learn to build crates, grow produce and share it with community

Daylight savings time ends at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 1 2020. (File Photo)
Clocks ‘fall back’ one hour Saturday night

Remember to set your clock back one hour on Saturday night, as… Continue reading

A woman wears a face mask and plastic gloves while browsing books as a sticker on the floor indicates a one-way direction of travel between shelves of books at the Vancouver Public Library’s central branch, after it and four other branches reopened with limited services, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
B.C. reports 234 new COVID cases, 1 death of senior who had attended small birthday party

Roughly 5,700 people are isolating due to being exposed to a confirmed case

Burnaby RCMP responded to a dine-and-dash suspect who fell through a ceiling in March 2020. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Suspected dine-and-dasher falls through ceiling of Burnaby restaurant

A woman believed to be dashing on her restaurant bill fell through the kitchen ceiling

A can of Canada Dry Ginger Ale is shown in Toronto on Thursday Oct. 29, 2020. The maker of Canada Dry Ginger Ale has agreed to pay over $200,000 to settle a class-action lawsuit launched by a B.C. man who alleged he was misled by marketing suggesting the soda had medicinal benefits. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Joseph O’Connal
B.C. man’s lawsuit over marketing of Canada Dry ginger ale settled for $200K

Soda’s maker, Canada Dry Mott’s Inc., denied the allegations and any liability

Vancouver Island-based Wilson’s Transportation has expanded to fill some of the routes left unserviced by Greyhound as of Nov. 1, 2018. (Black Press files)
B.C. bus companies say they need help to survive COVID-19

Like airlines, motor coaches have lost most of their revenue

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A deer was spotted in October 2020 in Prince Rupert, B.C., with a bright pink yoga ball stuck in its antlers. (Kayla Vickers/Chronicles Of Hammy The Deer Official Page)
Hammy 2.0? Prince Rupert deer spotted with bright pink yoga ball stuck in antlers

The BC Conservation Officer Service is aware of the deer roaming around the city

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Kelowna Mountie hit with 2nd lawsuit in 2 months for alleged assault

Const. Julius Prommer is accused of breaking a woman’s knee during while responding to a noise complaint

Hirdeypal Batth, 24, has been charged with sexual assault and forcible confinement in relation to an incident in August 2020. (VPD handout)
Man, 24, charged with sex assault after allegedly posing as Uber driver in Vancouver

Investigators believe there could be more victims outside of the Vancouver area

B.C. Premier John Horgan and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee arrive for annual Cascadia conference in Vancouver, Oct. 10, 2018. They have agreed to coordinate the permanent switch to daylight saving time. (B.C. government)
B.C. still awaiting U.S. approval to eliminate daylight saving time

Clocks going back one hour Nov. 1 in Washington too

Most Read