UXBRIDGE: The Town of Uxbridge has proven to go above and beyond to reduce it’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Uxbridge has now completed all 5 milestones set by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), becoming one of only just a handful of municipalities in Canada, with a population size under 25,000, to do so.
The Partners for Climate Protection (PCP) program is a network of Canadian municipal governments that have committed to reducing greenhouse gasses (GHG), by taking part in a 5-step process that helps municipalities in creating GHG inventories, setting reduction targets, and creating action plans to meet set reduction targets. Since the program's inception in 1994, over 250 municipalities have joined PCP to help battle climate change. There are 70 members in the coalition in Ontario alone
Michael de Rond, Deputy Clerk at the Township of Uxbridge said the town is always looking for ways to improve.
“Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from municipal operations is part of being more efficient, while also doing our part for the environment. Council has always been very supportive of these initiatives.”
The local action plan was created in 2010, when the three municipalities of North Durham (Brock, Scugog, Uxbridge) undertook the Integrated Community Sustainability Plan. The objective is to reduce GHG emissions in each municipality by 30 percent per capita by 2015 from the baseline year of 2008.
Some of the measures in place in Uxbridge to reduce emissions are: fitting GPS systems in all Works Department, By-law, and Building trucks, and over 50% of Parks Department trucks.
These units measure efficiencies, as well as idling time. Uxbridge conducted energy audits in 2014 which resulted in 23 energy efficiency projects, and are also switching to LED light bulbs in township facilities.
“We have also made an effort to educate our staff on simple ways to reduce our emissions. Small things like reducing idling times and even just turning off lights in rooms that are not being used all help reduce our footprint”, said Mr. de Rond.
Becoming a more environmentally friendly town has come at no cost to taxpayers. “When we started the ICSP and first 3 Milestones, FCM split the cost with us 50/50. We were fortunate to receive some corporate donations from St. Mary's Cement and Ontario Power Generation, that covered our costs. Durham Sustain Ability has completed our submissions to FCM at no cost,” said Mr. de Rond.
This program is expected to have real results. The town is looking at savings in two ways. The first opportunity to save for the township will be on energy costs.
Uxbridge estimates energy retrofitting alone will save the municipality over $63,000 a year. The second savings measure comes from the upgrades to township vehicles, and is expected to save Uxbridge over $10,000 a year.
“It's fair to say that measures to reduce our environmental footprint has saved the township over $200,000, thus far”, said Mr. de Rond.
Although the target date was 2015, Uxbridge will not know whether these targets were reached until at least the Fall of 2017.
“In July 2017, we will upload the 2015 information, and then spend some time analyzing to see how we did,” the clerk added.
The township would like to thank Durham Sustain Ability who has compiled most of the information for the submissions to FCM. As well, they would also like to thank the corporate partners whose contributions were integral to getting this program off the ground.