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Partners for Climate Protection

Town of Richmond Hill, ON

Milestone Five

Population PCP member since GHG reduction target
185,541 2000
  • Corporate  target of 20% below 2000 levels by 2009
  • Community target of 6% below 2000 levels by 2010

Kids playing in Richmond Hill’s Crosby Water Park

Members of the community and partner organizations have been crucial to the success of our environmental initiatives. Over the last year, we heard from more than 2,000 people on what matters most about our local environment. Greening the Hill truly reflects the values and vision of the community.
 Dave Barrow, Mayor of Richmond Hill

 

For nearly 15 years, the Town of Richmond Hill has been a leader in climate action and clean air, winning awards for its programs and surpassing its corporate GHG targets in only five years. The Town first adopted its GHG reduction targets in 2004 and, by 2009 its corporate emissions had fallen by 33 per cent relative to the 2000 baseline, with the largest reductions coming from improved building efficiency and energy-efficient street lighting. Richmond Hill was Ontario's first  municipality to reach its target under the PCP program.

In 2014, council approved Greening the Hill, the town's environment strategy. The strategy was developed in partnership with stakeholders, which included feedback from more than 2,000 residents. Its action areas include sustainable energy, transportation and water management, land development and the natural environment.

The town received support to complete Milestones 2 and 3 from FCM's Green Municipal Fund (GMEF 3217), as well as funding for three other projects (GMF 9729 and 7200 and GMEF 2189).

Key projects and results

Geothermal energy

Between 2000 and 2009, the town reduced emissions associated with its corporate facilities by 36 per cent. The new Centre for Performing Arts is a case in point. A ground source heat pump was installed to serve the heritage component (old school house) of the building. Ground source heat pumps offer a compelling alternative to traditional forced air systems from both an economic and environmental standpoint. 

Environmental

  • Reduces electricity consumption by over 96,000 kWh/year
  • Annual CO2e emission reductions of approximately 16 tonnes

Economic

  • Electricity savings of approximately $15,000/year.
  • Its $200,000 geothermal component was wholly funded through the federal Gas Tax Fund

Social

  • The theatre serves regional community groups along with local and touring performers. 

Dry-O-Tron temperature control unit upgrade

In 2009, Richmond Hill replaced its aging dehumidifier in the Lois Hancey Aquatic Centre Wavepool facility with a newer enery-efficient Dry-O-Tron model.

Environmental

  • Electricity savings of more than 182,000 kWh/year
  • Reduced GHG emissions of approximately 31 tonnes  

Economic

  • $76,000 saved in annual energy costs,
  • $30,000 saved in annual equipment maintenance costs
  • Project cost of $600,000  was funded through the federal Gas Tax Fund  

Social

  • Improved the environment for pool users

Green Fleets

Since 2000, Richmond Hill has implemented a number of measures that have reduced its fleet vehicle fuel consumption and costs including: using ethanol blend gasoline and biodiesel, purchasing hybrid and electic vehicles,and equipping all fleet vehicles with idling monitoring equipment. Parks equipment such as trimmers were also replaced with more efficient engines.

Environmental

  • With anaverage fuel efficiency of 15 L/100 km,the town saves more than 5,000 litres of gasoline
  • Reduced GHG emissions of  89 tonnes   

Economic

  • Annual fuel cost savings of over$10,000
  • Hybrid engines are typically less  expensive to operate and maintain than conventional gasoline engines

Social

  • Improved local air quality
  • Promotion of fuel-efficient vehicles and equipment. 


Challenges

  • Waste management will be a challenge for this growing community.
  • Increased urbanization and  periods of drought.
  • Difficulties in collecting and coordinating data in order to measure and monitor progress.
  • Stakeholders can be reluctant to support initiatives due to a lack of awareness, differing opinions, or competing interests.

Lessons learned

  • Ground source heat pumps are a cost-effective option for retrofitting smaller facilities.
  • For other municipalities interested in implementing a similar project, the town stresses the importance of ensuring that bore hole locations are accurately placed to avoid interference with any future development on the site.
  • Town staff was able to learn from others by actively seeking out best practices from other jurisdictions.

Stay committed to the [PCP] program. Richmond Hill experienced significant growth from 2000-2009. Our population grew by 50,000 and there was a 33% increase in total square footage in facilities, a 32% increase in fleet size, and a 26% increase in the number of streetlights, yet the Town was able to achieve a 33% reduction in GHG emissions. 
 George Flint, Manager, Air Quality and Solid Waste

 

Page Updated: 17/09/2015