Energy & Greenhouse Gas Management
What the City is doing
The City of Saskatoon is taking action on climate change and working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The City is a member of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Partners for Climate Protection program to lower greenhouse gas emissions and improve the quality of life for Saskatoon residents.
The Partners for Climate Protection program, of which Saskatoon is a member, is a network of over 250 Canadian municipalities that have committed to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and to acting on climate change. The program uses a five milestone framework to help guide municipalities to lower their GHGs.
The five milestones are:
- Milestone One: Create a GHG Emissions Inventory and Forecast
- Milestone Two: Set a Reduction Target
- Milestone Three: Develop a Local Action Plan
- Milestone Four: Implement the Local Action Plan
- Milestone Five: Measure Progress and Report Results
Meeting the milestones...
- Create a GHG emissions inventory and forecast - the City of Saskatoon achieved Milestone One in 2005. A full copy of the report City of Saskatoon Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory, Forecast & Target is available for review.
- Set a reduction target - Milestone Two was achieved in 2005 when City Council adopted targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 6% below 1990 levels by 2013 for the community of Saskatoon, and 10% below 1990 levels by 2013 for the City’s corporate operations. A new corporate target of 30% below 2006 levels by 2020 is currently under consideration; a new community target may also be considered using 2006 as the baseline year for GHG target setting.
- Develop a local action plan - Milestone Three was achieved in December 2007 when City Council adopted the Energy & Greenhouse Gas Management Plan. The Plan guides how the initial corporate and community GHG emissions targets could be achieved.
- Implement the local action plan - The City began implementing the Plan in 2008.
What can you do?
Climate change and greenhouse gas reduction are terms we hear a lot about these days. But do you know how to get started on reducing your greenhouse gas emissions? It’s easier than you think! It means reducing the energy we use, recycling, and using everyday items more efficiently.
- Get a programmable thermostat. You can program the thermostat to automatically lower the temperature in your home when you are not normally there or when you are sleeping. For every 1 degree Celsius you lower your thermostat, you save 2% on your heating bill.
- Get a new air conditioner filter. Cleaning or replacing your air conditioner filter increases the efficiency of the unit. Filters can be found along the length of the return duct in walls, ceilings, furnaces or in the air conditioner itself.
- Turn down your water heater. Every 10 degrees that you lower your hot water heater, you reduce your energy consumption between 3 and 5%. Most homes can set their heater between 46C and 50C and still enjoy hot water.
- Space heaters are energy consumption monsters. Consider applying plastic to windows to keep out drafts.
- Area rugs and carpets help insulate from the ground up. If your feet feel warm, you’ll feel less like turning up the thermostat.
- Buy Energy Star appliances. They meet strict energy guidelines and reduce energy bills.
- Shut off your computer when you aren’t using it. It could save you $55 per year!
- LED light bulbs are a great way to save on emissions and cash! Replacing ten 100-watt bulbs with LEDs saves as much carbon dioxide in a year as a SUV would produce in the same period of time and can save you up to $450 per year!
- Open your curtains! Sunlight is brighter than light bulbs and it’s free.
Waste and Recycling
- Think about what you throw away. Reduce, reuse and recycle whenever possible. Did you know garbage generates greenhouse gases in a landfill? Landfill garbage produces methane, a gas 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
- Use recycled paper – recycled paper requires less energy to produce. Every pound of recycled paper you buy prevents 4 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions. Look for the highest available post-consumer content.
- Compost – not only does composting kitchen and yard waste invigorate the soil, it also reduces the amount of waste going to the landfill.
- Xeriscaping– designing a yard and garden specifically to conserve water.
- Collect rain water – use a rain barrel to capture and store rainwater for irrigation. Make sure your barrel is covered to keep mosquitoes out!
- Water conservation – think about when you water. More than half of the water applied to lawns and gardens can be lost to evaporation and run-off due to over-watering. Water when it is cool in the evening or early morning.
- Leave grass clippings on your lawn when you mow. Clippings will quickly break down, helping your lawn retain moisture, adding nutrients and reducing the need for fertilizers.
- Plant trees on your property. They provide shade to help keep your house cool in the summer and remove carbon dioxide from the air.
- Is there another way to get where you need to go? For the average person, vehicles are one of the biggest contributors of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Think about carpooling to work, starting a walking school bus for your kids, taking a City bus on your errand or walking to the local grocery store.
- Think about a Hybrid vehicle for your next vehicle purchase. Hybrids are great for city and highway driving. On average you will double your mileage on highway trips and triple your mileage driving in the city!
- Slow down – Driving at 115 km/h uses 13% more fuel than 100 km/h.
- Don’t idle your car – You will save gas and significantly reduce your emissions. In the winter, running your car for one minute before driving is sufficient. Plug your car in but use an outdoor timer. Set the timer to start up 4 hours before you need to drive your car.
- Regular maintenance – a clogged air filter can increase gas consumption by 10%!
- The right tire pressure can make a huge difference on your fuel costs. If your tires are under-inflated by 10 pounds, you’re losing 4% fuel mileage.
- Aligning your tires saves gas, reduces inefficiencies and extends the life of your car.
Thanks to Drive Neutral, SaskPower and the City of Regina for some of the information provided.