Township of Uxbridge, Ontario
|Population||PCP member since||GHG reduction target|
"The Township of Uxbridge staff did an outstanding job recognizing and addressing areas within our municipal infrastructure where improvements could be made — and were made. This not only saved huge tax dollars, but made a big difference in the environment. Our Council will continue to make investments that protect the environment and save taxpayers money."
In 2009 the Township of Uxbridge, in collaboration with the townships of Brock and Scugog, and supported by the Region of Durham, developed its Integrated Community Sustainability Plan (ICSP) to address the region's common needs and priorities.
Durham Sustain Ability (DSA), a non-profit organization that supports individuals, organizations and communities with environmental and social enterprises, helped the townships develop the ICSP. Not only did the three townships collaborate on the plan, but the targets are the same for all three, and were based on the targets set by the Region of Durham, which helps with cooperation and coordination. Since approving and adopting the ICSP, Uxbridge has exceeded its community emissions target, achieving a 15.2 per cent reduction on a target of 10 per cent.
Uxbridge's corporate plan was developed as part of the ICSP process. The township set high-level corporate emissions reduction targets as well as sector-specific targets for buildings, fleet, street lighting and waste. To meet those targets, Uxbridge has also developed and launched a number of programs and initiatives in each of those sectors.
Uxbridge received support from FCM's Green Municipal Fund to develop the North Durham Integrated Community Sustainability Plan (GMF 10206) and to conduct an energy conservation study for the Uxbridge Arena and Swimming Pool (GMF 1922).
Key projects and results
Streetlight replacement program saves energy and money
Street lighting represents 12.5 per cent of Uxbridge's energy use. To address this issue, a coordinated streetlight replacement program has been underway since 2009. As streetlights reach the end of their lifespan, they are replaced with high-efficiency LED lighting. The first replacements focused on the downtown area (about 8 per cent of the township's streetlights), and Uxbridge is now beginning to replace the streetlights in other parts of town. In addition, Uxbridge will use a Canada 150 Community Infrastructure grant to replace lights in its parks, where major festivals and other community events are held.
- To date, the bulb replacements have saved approximately 194 GJ per year and reduced GHG emissions by approximately nine tonnes per year.
- LEDs require less maintenance and have a longer lifecycle than older bulbs. To date, the annual cost savings from LED streetlights are about $9,000.
- The downtown lights were replaced not only with LEDs, but with decorative fixtures that improve the street front's appearance.
Arena retrofit pays for itself in less than two years
The Uxbridge Arena and Swimming Pool was one of the township's biggest culprits for energy consumption. Over three years, from 2008 to 2010, it was retrofitted to be more environmentally friendly. Measures included switching to more energy-efficient lighting (from metal halide to high-efficiency T8 fluorescents), replacing hot water tanks and furnaces with high-efficiency models, building a new roof and upgrading the insulation.
A new infrared ice monitoring and compressor system was also part of the retrofit, helping to save energy and water. The infrared system monitors the surface temperature of the ice rather than the concrete pad below it, as the previous system did. It automatically sends a message to the compressors to begin pumping brine to freeze the ice — but only when cooling is needed. This reduces the energy needed to pump by about two-thirds, offering significant cost savings. The system also allows for nighttime setbacks, reducing overnight use of the compressors.
- Based on 2013 data, and compared to the 2007 baseline, the retrofit has reduced energy consumption at the arena by 1,959 GJ per year, and GHG emissions by 94 tonnes.
- Using glycol instead of water to cool the compressors cuts back on water use and energy consumption.
- Energy cost savings from the retrofit are approximately $67,000 per year, and Uxbridge earned back the project's capital costs of $78,000 within 1.2 years.
- The new compressors do not run as often, preserving the machinery and extending its lifespan.
- Using glycol instead of water to cool the compressors reduces water consumption costs.
- The infrared monitoring and compressor system freezes the ice faster, providing better performance for hockey games. The enhanced lighting systems also improve safety.
- In developing its ICSP, energy management and corporate action plans, Uxbridge identified several future challenges. These include fewer local jobs, a lack of funding and an aging infrastructure that is often too expensive for a small population to properly service and maintain.
- Information overload can be both a challenge and an opportunity. Municipalities must be ready to explore new avenues of information and apply what makes sense for their context. For example, most of Uxbridge's intel about arena upgrades came from speaking with local refrigeration experts and representatives from other municipalities.
- Gather information from as many sources as possible. There are low-cost solutions to most challenges; staff and council should reach out to make new contacts and stay current on the latest technologies.
- Always consider ongoing maintenance costs when planning energy efficiency upgrades.
- Share lessons learned with other sectors. Uxbridge participates with DSA's Durham Partners in Project Green (DPPG), a growing community of businesses working together to green their bottom line. The township recently held a session, in partnership with DPPG, on LED lighting for its industrial park.