On June 22, 2017, ClimateActionWR invited members of the community to hear about the progress made so far on reducing Waterloo Region’s carbon footprint. Supplemented by the progress report, the presentation highlighted the sectors in which there were reductions being seen, as well as sectors that needed improving.
In 2013, the three cities of Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge as well as the Region of Waterloo came together to set a greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction target. With the help of Sustainable Waterloo Region and Reep Green Solutions, ClimateActionWR was set up to work towards a 6% GHG reduction below 2010 levels by 2020. Between 2010 and 2015, the community footprint has already reduced by 5.2%, an equivalent of 58,000 cars being taken off the road. This reduction also came during a time of growth in population, employment, and GDP; a testament that community growth can simultaneously occur while emissions are reduced.
So, what helped? The biggest contributor was the phase out of coal fire electricity generation by 2014. From 2010 until then, electricity consumption reduced with 290 GWh of savings achieved. The adoption of electric vehicles was also seen to grow exponentially, putting the Region on track for having 1000 electric vehicles by 2020. This is an important trajectory, since the transportation sector was noted to have increased in emissions production by 5% between 2010 and 2015. And last but not least, homeowners are taking advantage of the programs and incentives that are available in the region to make bigger more environmentally conscious efforts. These include the Green Bin program, home renovation rebates, and energy efficiency incentives.
What’s next? Waterloo Region is currently completing the setup of the new Light Rail Transit system, and with this, a new transit hub that will help various modes of transport integrate seamlessly. Programs such as Project Neutral and Reep Green Solutions are available to help residents with their domestic carbon reduction. For businesses interested in understanding their environmental impact- whether it’s carbon, waste or water – the Regional Sustainability Initiative is a program that can provide support.
Waterloo Region must be commended on its accomplishments so far, but there is still more to do! Here are some programs that can support your call to action:
To learn more about Project Neutral and their community focused work, click here.
For updates on the Light Rail Transit System and the upcoming Transit Hub, click here.
Read more about the Regional Sustainability Initiative here.
To learn more about the rebates and services offered by Reep Green Solutions, click here.