Village wants to be at energy forefront

  • Mar. 7, 2008 4:00 p.m.

The Village of Queen Charlotte wants to be in the forefront of BC’s plans to reduce energy emissions. After the village’s success at reducing energy use by 48 per cent during BC Hydro’s summer Turn it Off challenge, council has been working on several more fronts, including signing up for a pilot project, Community Action on Energy and Emissions. Queen Charlotte is one of 14 BC communities given $15,000 to work on energy conservation, greenhouse gas emission reductions and unique policy approaches, says councillor Greg Martin. Some of the policy approaches will be addressed in the Official Community Plan he says, such as building standards that require energy efficient ratings on new homes. The village has also committed to reducing energy use in all existing civic buildings and fleets by 15 percent, and energy consumption in all homes by 3 percent by 2010 and 20 percent by 2020. Under the CAEE project, the village also aims to provide 10 per cent of the community’s energy needs from a clean energy source. Mr. Martin says they are exploring micro-hydro run of river projects. At the March 3 council meeting, councillors agreed to use $1000 of the $15,000 to help pay for a micro-hydro assessment course for Jacques Morin, who has been volunteering his time on the energy efficiency initiatives. Mr. Martin says heat pumps are also considered a renewable heating system and he’s doing research into the savings such technology can bring. The village is also committed to preparing a community sustainability plan and has partnered with Royal Roads University Sustainable Community Development department in Victoria. Mr. Martin says professor Chris Ling is in preliminary talks with the village about having his graduate students work on a model for a sustainability plan, using Queen Charlotte as its guinea pig. At the March 3 meeting, council agreed to another initiative called Energetic Olympics created by a Smithers-based organization One Sky: The Institute for Sustainable Living. Mr. Martin says council accepted the challenge and will now participate in the five events with the following themes: food security, heating, electricity, goods and services and transportation. One Sky will provide the materials and Mr. Martin says he will be the lead volunteer on this public education exercise. In other energy news, Queen Charlotte council agreed to participate in Earth Hour on March 29, when people around the world will shut off their power for an hour between 8 and 9 pm.

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