There are several stages in PCP Measures reporting. Data on GHG-reduction measures are collected between August and December. During this period, municipal government liaisons are contacted by the PCP Secretariat with an initial offer of participation, followed by detailed instructions and a data-collection form. PCP participants are encouraged to submit information on any municipal government initiative — either corporate — or community-oriented — that had resulted in a net reduction in GHG emissions. Naturally, this process of voluntary data submission presents several methodological challenges. Should the PCP Secretariat impose a minimum information requirement for data submissions? Should reported GHG reductions be standardized based on a particular methodology or a common set of emission factors? These and other aspects of the report's development are discussed below.
A standard data-collection form is sent to all municipal governments participating in the PCP program. The form solicits information on a variety of project details, including total implementation cost, annual savings in energy (or waste diverted), project payback and the annual reduction in GHG emissions achieved as a result of the initiative. In addition to these project specifics, participants are asked to list their data sources, as well as any assumptions with respect to the data. The inclusion of these data fields allows PCP staff to assess the reliability of the data received, and to verify reported calculations.
To facilitate accurate and consistent comparisons, the GHG reductions presented are standardized, wherever possible, based on emission factors contained in Environment Canada's National Inventory Report 1990-2009. Energy-related GHG reductions are quantified using the following standard equation:
|GHG Reduction (tonnes/yr) = Annual Energy Savings x Emissions Factor (combustion only)|
Carbon Dioxide Equivalent
Gases that have a warming effect on the atmosphere are commonly referred to as greenhouse gases (GHGs). Some of the most common GHGs are carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulphur hexafluoride, and several hydrofluorocarbons and perfluorocarbons. Each of these gases has a different capacity for trapping heat in the atmosphere. For example, methane is approximately 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide. This warming capacity is known as the Global Warming Potential (GWP), and can be applied to different gases to provide a standard GHG value, measured in carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). The GHG reductions listed throughout this report are reported in CO2e.
Following PCP protocol, each measure is categorized as "corporate" (municipal) or "community". Corporate measures are those targeting municipal government operations, including buildings, street lighting, water and wastewater treatment, fleet vehicles, and corporate solid waste. These are areas over which municipalities have direct control or influence. Community measures are those targeting the industrial-commercial-institutional (ICI) sectors, community transportation, residential energy and water consumption, and community solid waste. These are areas over which the municipal government may not have direct control, but can nevertheless exert its influence.
This categorization makes the data manageable, allowing PCP staff to make observations and discern trends. PCP staff also analyze the data in relation to participant information (e.g., population size, geographical location, etc.); type of measure (e.g., energy efficiency, renewable energy, etc.); cost savings; and municipal payback. The uneven level of detail between data submissions limits the ability of PCP staff to make definitive observations.