Backgrounder Article from  Government of Canada

Greening Government

Canada is now a leader in the fight against climate change. Both overseas and at home, we are taking action to reduce carbon pollution, spark innovation, and create jobs during what many are calling the clean energy century.

But leadership starts with government itself. That is why we will reduce emissions from government operations by 40 percent by 2030, and we will strive to achieve this even earlier, by 2025. The federal government will use cleaner energy and become more energy efficient across many areas—from buildings, to transportation, to buying more sustainable products. Further, we will also make the government more resilient to the impacts of climate change.

An immediate first step is to reduce our emissions by using clean energy to power our buildings. By 2025, for all operations run by Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC), 100 percent of our electricity will be purchased from clean power. By using clean power, we send a strong signal that the Government of Canada will lead by example.

And while our buildings will use more clean energy, they must also use less overall energy. Government buildings can be found across Canada, in our big cities and local communities. When we repair and retrofit them, we reduce the energy used and the carbon emitted, and we save taxpayers money from lower energy bills. We also create thousands of good-paying jobs.

That is why Budget 2016 announced $2.1 billion for repairs, retrofits, and greening of government facilities.

These efficiencies will make a big difference. In Ottawa, for example, heating and cooling plants that service more than 80 buildings will be revitalized and modernized, cutting their emissions almost in half. Similar reductions will occur in federal buildings across the country, saving taxpayers money and creating good jobs.

Our assets, operations, and services also need to be able to withstand the impacts of a changing climate, both now and in the future. This will save costs in the long run, as our assets will last longer and require fewer repairs. It will also ensure that we can continue to deliver services to Canadians in the face of major disruptions caused by climate change, such as extreme weather events.

The provinces have also taken strong action to green their government operations. Since 2010, British Columbia’s public sector has made great strides in reducing emissions. In BC, buildings like Surrey Memorial Hospital are saving energy through air-to-water heat pumps, central-lighting controls, and even electric-vehicle charging stations.

In Winnipeg, Manitoba Hydro has the most energy-efficient building in Canada. Their new head office—which houses 2,000 employees—uses passive-energy technologies and innovative energy efficiency measures to reduce emissions. Employees working in the new building have fewer absentee days, and they are more productive.

The federal government will also invest in reducing emissions from our vehicles. That means shifting government fleets to electric and hybrid vehicles and installing charging station infrastructure in government buildings. Through these efforts combined, we will make significant progress in reducing government emissions and adapting to climate change, which will further drive sustainability actions, build resilience, and create jobs for decades to come.

To ensure we meet our goals, the Government of Canada is establishing a new team to look at practical measures and concrete action we can take to be at the forefront of green operations. The team will coordinate across government and provide leadership on meeting the government’s emissions targets.

Tackling climate change and growing a cleaner economy will mean taking action across the country. By greening our government, we will lead by example and take major steps to reduce pollution, support renewable energy, and promote clean growth in communities across Canada.

For information regarding reproduction rights, please contact Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Public Inquiries Centre at 1-800-668-6767 (in Canada only) or 819-997-2800 or email to ec.enviroinfo.ec@canada.ca.


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Hon. Scott Brison Hon. Catherine McKenna Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat Environment and Climate Change Canada Nature and Environment

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