The Climate Action Plan for Waterloo Region, which was released in 2013, established a target of reducing our local greenhouse gas emissions by 6% by 2020. This target is a critical first step on our way to achieving the long-term goal of an 80% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2050.
In 2017, ClimateActionWR completed a re-inventory of our Waterloo Region’s carbon footprint to monitor progress toward the 6% reduction by 2020 target. This re-inventory revealed that by 2015, Waterloo Region had reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 5.2% below 2010 levels! The graph below shows the breakdown of our community’s emissions in 2015 by sector.
The full results of this re-inventory can be found in Our Progress, Our Path.
As Waterloo Region works to reduce our community’s greenhouse gas emissions, a number of local programs and initiatives have contributed significantly towards achieving our 6% emission reduction goal by 2020. On this page, you will find just some of the many actions that have been taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions within each sector. Click the links below to jump to a specific sector:
If you are looking for additional resources to support you in reducing your own emissions, check out our Sustainability Resources page.
At 49%, transportation is the single largest contributor to our greenhouse gas emissions! Access and incentives to sustainable methods of transportation are key to achieving our reduction target. Below are some of the projects and programs working towards reducing this part of the region’s footprint:
- Moving Forward: 2018 Transportation Master Plan – The Region of Waterloo’s Transportation Master Plan, which was approved by council in June of 2018, identifies the policies and projects that will meet the Region’s long and short term transportation needs over the next 25 years.
- ION Light Rail Transit – With service beginning in June of 2019, the ION rapid transit line is a significant part of the Regional Transportation Master Plan.
- TravelWise – TravelWise provides organizations with tools and services to reduce the number of employees driving alone to work.
- Carsharing – Community CarShare, which has recently joined VRTUCAR, offers an affordable and hassle-free alternative to owning a car.
- And more.
How our workplaces operate can make a big difference. Together the industrial, commercial, and institutional (ICI) sector make up 27% of Waterloo Region’s greenhouse gas footprint. The following initiatives are underway to make change in our organizations:
- Regional Sustainability Initiative – The Regional Sustainability Initiative helps organizations transform their sustainability interests and ambitions into actions and results.
- evolv1 – The Cora Groups’s evolv1, which opened its doors in 2018, is Canada’s largest net-positive multi-tenant commercial building. Click here to read the feasibility study that provided the foundation for this project.
- Conservation and Demand-side Management Programs – Our local electricity distributors – Energy+, Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro and Waterloo North Hydro, along with Union Gas and Kitchener Utilities – have many incentives and programs in place to help local businesses conserve energy and use energy efficiently.
- And more.
Real change begins at home! The cumulative greenhouse gas footprint of Waterloo Region homes equals 18% of our community emissions. Helping us all to reduce our residential impact are these projects and programs:
- Water Efficient Technology (WET) – The Regional Municipality of Waterloo offers local homeowners water audits for free. Delivered by Reep Green Solutions, residents can have simple water-saving technologies installed at the same time as the water audit.
- EnerGuide Home Evaluations – EnerGuide is a home evaluation service designed to increase energy efficiency and comfort for homeowners. Reep Green Solutions offers a home energy coach who can help you understand the options for saving energy at home.
- And more.
Where our food comes from and how it’s made play an important role in reducing our impact on the environment. The greenhouse gas (GHG) impact of the local agricultural sector is estimated based on data available from Statistics Canada regarding methane emitted from livestock. Currently, the methane emitted from livestock accounts for 5% of Waterloo Region’s total emissions. Although the current methodology does not include emissions from fuel used in agricultural equipment, crop and fertilizer emissions, or the energy costs associated with importing/exporting food over long distances, these activities do impact global sustainability.
We can strengthen our local food security by optimizing the efficiency of local food production on the farmland available to us in Waterloo Region. When we reduce the environmental impact of the food choices we make, we will unlock economic opportunities associated with a robust local food production, processing and distribution system – from farms to forks. Proper manure management and land stewardship within agricultural resources helps to protect water quality and sensitive environmental areas as well as potentially mitigating climate change.
Everything we use creates waste, which fills up our landfills and creates emissions. Methane and other greenhouse gases (GHGs) released during decomposition account for 1% of Waterloo Region’s footprint. The following initiatives are underway to divert waste and reduce emissions:
- Green Bins – When organic waste decomposes, it creates methane which is a potent greenhouse gas. The Region of Waterloo has been diverting household organic waste from the landfill at a community-wide scale since 2010.
- And more.
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