Your source for new events and information on climate change and energy efficiency.
Your source for new events and information on climate change and energy efficiency.
Memorial University of Newfoundland Announces Energy Efficiency Initiative | July 5, 2017
Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN) is doing its part to help tackle climate change and improve the energy efficiency of its operations. Building on the first phase of an energy performance contract with Honeywell, which was first launched in 2008, on June 22, 2017, MUN launched phase two of the contract. The second phase is valued at $28.4 million and is fully guaranteed and funded by energy savings.
Phase two of the energy performance contract is targeted at 45 facilities on the St. John’s and Grenfell campuses, and focuses on energy efficiency upgrades designed to upgrade facilities, reduce operating costs, improve indoor air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Key upgrades include:
- Installing high-efficiency lighting systems and controls;
- Upgrading heating, ventilation and cooling equipment;
- Upgrading and optimizing building system and equipment controls; and
- Sealing air gaps in windows and doors.
Along with reducing its energy costs, MUN estimates the upgrades will result in an estimated annual greenhouse gas reduction of 1,634 metric tonnes, which they indicate is equivalent to taking 547 cars off of the road.
To find out more about MUN’s efforts to improve the environmental sustainability of its operations, visit: https://gazette.mun.ca/campus-and-community/saving-energy-and-costs/
If you are interested in learning more about energy performance contracting, check out: http://www.turnbackthetide.ca/taking-action/businesses/energy-management/performance-contracting.shtml
Federal Government Announces Low Carbon Economy Fund | June 30, 2017
On June 15, 2017, the Federal Government announced details of the $2 billion Low Carbon Economy Fund (LCEF), a key tool to support greenhouse gas reductions under the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change (PCF), which was adopted by Canadian First Ministers last December.
The LCEF will provide funding over the next five years to projects that will generate clean growth and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The fund is divided into two parts: the Low-Carbon Economy Leadership Fund, and the Low-Carbon Economy Challenge.
Low Carbon Economy Leadership Fund
The Low Carbon Economy Leadership Fund offers $1.4 billion to provinces and territories that have adopted the PCF to help them deliver on leadership commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including those outlined in the PCF. This includes a $44.7 million dollar allocation for Newfoundland and Labrador.
Over the summer of 2017, the Federal Government will be engaging provinces and territories on their proposed projects under the Fund.
Low Carbon Economy Challenge Fund
The remaining $0.6 billion is allocated for the Low Carbon Economy Challenge, which will be open to provinces, territories, municipalities, Indigenous governments and organizations, businesses as well as not-for-profit and for-profit organizations for projects that best reduce greenhouse gas emissions and generate clean growth. This program will be a competitive fujd and will be formally launched in fall 2017. Further details will be available at that time.
To learn more about the LCEF, visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/news/2017/06/low_carbon_economyfund.html
If you are interested in learning about Newfoundland and Labrador’s commitments under the PCF click here.
Canada’s First Zero Carbon Building Standard Launched | June 19, 2017
The Canadian Green Building Council (CaGBC) has developed Canada's first Zero Carbon Building Standard. Launched in May 2017, the standard is designed to help the building industry contribute to Canada's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction targets by allowing accurate assessment of carbon impacts and helping to guide investments in energy efficiency, heating technologies, and renewable energy.
A ‘zero carbon building’ is defined in the standard as “one that is highly energy-efficient and produces onsite, or procures, carbon-free renewable energy in an amount sufficient to offset the annual carbon emissions associated with operations.” The standard accounts for not only energy performance within the building, but also the level of GHG emissions associated with the electricity and fuel used by the building. For example, electricity generated from diesel would have more GHG emissions than electricity generated by hydroelectric projects, even though the building uses the same amount of electricity. The standard can be used to assess GHG emissions in commercial, institutional, and multi-family buildings and is designed to allow owners of both new construction projects and existing buildings to apply for certification.
- Certifications for both new and existing buildings require an annual zero carbon balance, where any GHG emissions generated by the building must be offset by generating onsite or purchasing emissions credits for an equivalent amount of renewable energy (e.g., wind, solar
- New buildings must also provide a minimum of five percent onsite renewable energy and meet a minimum level of thermal energy demand performance which requires minimizing heat loss through walls and the roof and ventilation systems), based on climate zone location.
- Reporting requirements of the standard for both new and existing buildings include reporting of energy use intensity, annual peak energy demand, and ‘embodied carbon’ (emissions associated with the production, transportation, assembly, use and eventual decommissioning of materials used in a building’s construction).
The Zero Carbon Building Standard was developed by CaGBC and Integral Group, in consultation with industry organizations, utilities, governments and companies across Canada. To find out more, visit www.cagbc.org/zerocarbon.
College of the North Atlantic to Improve Energy Efficiency | June 14, 2017
On May 26, 2017, the College of the North Atlantic (CNA) announced $6.8 million dollars in infrastructure investments focusing on energy conservation and building modernization. These investments are part of CNA's Modernization Plan 2019 and are funded by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Government of Canada.
To increase energy efficiency and reduce energy consumption, improvements and upgrades will be made to building envelopes (the physical separators between the interior and exterior of a building, such as walls, floors, roofs, windows and doors), lighting systems and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. In addition to these improvements, the funding will also be used to modernize campus shops, labs and classrooms. This investment will not only support environmental sustainability, but also improve the student experience. Ten campuses will receive upgrades, including Bay St. George, Burin, Carbonear, Corner Brook, Gander, Grand Falls-Windsor, Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Prince Philip Drive (St. John’s), Ridge Road (St. John’s) and Seal Cove.
The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Government of Canada are each providing approximately $3.4 million for these investments, with the federal funding coming from the $2 billion Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund, which supports climate change objectives by encouraging sustainable and green infrastructure projects.
This initiative is one of several infrastructure projects being undertaken to improve campus facilities, as detailed in the CNA Modernization Plan 2019, which includes the development of a Strategic Facility Modernization Plan. Future activities will include engagement with both levels of government to develop new energy conservation and demand management plans.
To find out more information on the infrastructure investments, visit:
For more information on the CNA Modernization Plan 2019, visit: http://www.cna.nl.ca/about/pdfs/irp/Modernization-Plan-2019.pdf
Provincial Government Recognized Nationally for Promoting Sustainable Building Practices | June 8, 2017
On May 31, 2017 the Provincial Government was awarded the Government Leadership Award by the Canadian Green Building Council (CaGBC) as part of its Building Lasting Change Conference held in Vancouver, British Columbia.
The CaGBC and LEED
The CaGBC is a not-for-profit, national organization that has been working since 2002 to advance green building and sustainable building practices in Canada. The Government Leadership Award acknowledges leadership in the public sector to effect change and improve performance in sustainable building practices, such as through the adoption of a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) policy for government buildings. Recognized in over 160 countries, LEED provides independent, third-party verification that a building has been built to high-performing standards for sustainability.
Sustainable Buildings in Newfoundland and Labrador
The Government Leadership Award recognizes the Provincial Government’s contributions to accelerating green building in Canada, including through the implementation of the province’s Build Better Buildings (BBB) Policy, which requires government funded and constructed buildings to strive to achieve LEED Silver designation. Since the adoption of the BBB Policy, a number of buildings in the province have achieved some level of LEED certification, including, but not limited to:
- Corner Brook City Hall;
- Grenfell Campus Arts and Science Extension;
- Lewisporte Community Health Facility
- Memorial University Faculty of Medicine Expansion and the Centre for Human Genetics
- St. John’s and Corner Brook Long-Term Care Facilities; and
- Paradise Double Ice Complex
The Award also highlights government’s broader work within the public sector to promote sustainable building practices, including the development of technical guides on constructing energy efficient homes, small buildings and larger commercial buildings, and education and outreach initiatives such as Turn Back the Tide and Hotshots.
To read more about provincial actions to encourage green building, check out the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador's news release.
To find out more about the CaGBC Awards, visit: http://www.cagbc.org/News/EN/2017/20170601_News_Release.aspx
And if you are interested in learning about constructing energy efficient buildings, you can consult the Guide to Building Energy Efficiency Homes and Small Buildings or the Guide to Better Building Envelopes for Large Buildings.
What’s New: Celebrate Environment Week by Taking Climate Action and Getting Outside to Enjoy the Natural Environment | June 5, 2017
June 5th is Word Environment Day, which marks the first day of Canadian Environment Week (June 5-11). Canada is the host for World Environment Day 2017, themed Connecting People to Nature, and is at the centre of these global celebrations (see: http://worldenvironmentday.global/en/about/connecting-people-nature). Our oceans, forests and soils absorb a tremendous amount of greenhouse gases emissions, thus reducing the amount that enters the atmosphere and helping to mitigate the impacts of climate change. This year’s theme is an opportunity to reflect on the impact climate change is having on our natural environment, the services a healthy natural environment provide, and ways you can reduce your impact and take climate action.
Climate change is projected to bring warmer, wetter and stormier weather in Newfoundland and Labrador. The province is already about 1.1 degrees Celsius warmer than it was 50 years ago and by 2050, the province is projected to be warmer still. These changes in weather will result in increased coastal erosion, the introduction of new pests and invasive species, as well as permafrost and sea ice melt among other things.
World Environment Day and Canadian Environment Week provide a platform to showcase the importance of taking global action on climate change. For each day of Environment Week, the Turn Back The Tide Facebook page will share information about climate change in NL and suggestions of actions individuals can take to reduce their environmental footprint. Please follow our posts and explore the Turn Back the Tide website for more tips and resources on taking action.
Net Metering Provides New Opportunities for Small Scale Renewable Energy in Newfoundland and Labrador | May 30, 2017
The Public Utilities Board (PUB) has approved a net metering program for the province, which will come into effect on July 1, 2017. Net metering will permit utility customers to generate electricity from small scale renewable sources such as solar or wind, and allow users to both feed electricity into the grid when they generate excess, and to draw electricity from the grid when their own generation does not meet their needs. The value of any excess electricity will be credited to the customer’s bill, based on the marginal cost.
Net metering originated in the 1980’s to encourage investment in renewable energy sources. While the parameters of net metering policies may vary across jurisdictions, their essence is the same. Net metering allows excess electricity generated by utility customers through small scale, on-site renewable energy, to be sent back to the electricity grid. ‘Net metering’ refers to the billing system that makes this transaction possible. Utility customers only pay for their ‘net’ consumption of electricity, i.e. the amount of electricity that is used, minus the electricity that is provided back to the grid.
When the program comes into effect on July 1, 2017, utility customers in the province will be permitted to install renewable energy systems, sized to their electricity load, up to a maximum of 100 kilowatts/year (the average homeowner uses between 10-15 kilowatts/year). Net metering will provide residents in the province with new opportunities to use renewable energy, reduce their electricity costs, and will also support growth in the renewable energy sector.
For more information on the Order of the PUB on net metering, please visit: http://www.pub.nf.ca/orders/order2017/pu/PU17-2017.PDF
New Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Installed at the Avalon Mall | May 15, 2017
As of May 11, electric vehicle (EV) owners will be able to plug in their vehicle while visiting the Avalon Mall in St. John’s. Representatives from the Avalon Mall were joined by Green Rock Electric Vehicle Solutions and the Honourable Perry Trimper, Minister Responsible for the Office of Climate Change, to unveil two new Level Two EV charging stations located in the Mall’s underground parking garage.
The number of EV charging stations is continuing to grow in Newfoundland and Labrador. These two new stations join existing and planned installations across the province, including those located at 351 Water Street, the Beclin Business Park, the Janeway, and at various locations along the Trans-Canada Highway.
What are Level Two Charging Stations?
Level two chargers are considered one of the most practical ways to charge an EV. These stations can typically charge an EV in three to eight hours, and can add between 15 and 30 kilometres to its range per hour of charging.
If you are interested in learning more about EV’s, you can find a report developed by the Provincial Government on EV technology, infrastructure and market developments at: http://www.exec.gov.nl.ca/exec/occ/publications/electric_veh_report.pdf
New Report Highlights Canadians’ Awareness of Flood Risk | May 11, 2017
A new Report released by the University of Waterloo Faculty of Environment found that, in general, Canadians are not aware of their flood risks and are unprepared for flooding events, even though the costs associated with flooding continue to rise and flood risk is increasing due to climate change.
Researchers surveyed 2,300 Canadians from across the country that live in known flood risk areas. Amongst others, key findings revealed that:
- Only 6 per cent of respondents knew they resided in a flood-risk area;
- Less than 30 per cent of respondents are taking action to protect their property from flooding;
- 74 per cent of respondents did not think they are vulnerable to flooding, despite living in areas at a heightened risk of flooding; and
- Over 90 per cent of respondents believed that flood risk maps should be made publicly available, that sellers of property should disclose flood risk, and that property owners should be notified if their home falls within a flood risk area.
In light of these findings, the Report recommends that:
- Governments inform Canadians about what is expected of them, what could happen if a flood occurs, and which actions are best for their home;
- A national flood risk strategy be developed that encourages property-level flood protection by communicating the risks of flooding for homeowners though flood risk maps and disclosure during real estate transactions; and
- Governments, insurers and homeowners work together to develop policies that ensure insurance is available by sharing financial responsibility for flood damage in high risk areas.
To read the Report in its entirety, visit: https://uwaterloo.ca/partners-for-action/projects-and-programs/flood-risk-homeowner-awareness
Flood Risk Tools and Resources for Newfoundland and Labrador
The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has developed tools and resources to assist decision-makers in preparing for flooding events in the province. These include:
- Flood risk maps for various locations throughout the province;
- Flood alert system updates to help communities prepare for storms;
- Intensity-Duration-Frequency Curves for use by engineers and planners in designing and managing infrastructure; and
- Climate projections that identify how the province’s climate is projected to change by mid-century.
If you are interested in learning more about these resources, visit: http://www.turnbackthetide.ca/tools-and-resources/climate-data-and-tools.shtml
Senate Committee Seeks Views on Climate Change in Newfoundland and Labrador | May 9, 2017
Members of the Senate Standing Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources were in St. John’s on May 1, 2017 seeking views on the effects of transitioning to a low-carbon economy, as required to meet Canada’s 2030 target of a 30 per cent reduction below 2005 levels of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
In March 2016, the Committee was authorized to identify and report on the impacts of transitioning to a low-carbon economy across sectors, including households, business and large industry, and to provide recommendations to the federal government on how to achieve Canada’s GHG reduction target in the most sustainable and affordable manner.
Representatives from Fortis, Nalcor, the Newfoundland and Labrador Environmental Industry Association, the St. John’s Board of Trade and the provincial government met with the Committee to provide input into the review process. Feedback provided will be incorporated into a final report of the Committee, which is expected to be released by the end of 2017.
What is the Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources?
Committees are a central part of the Senate's work, and are often recognized for their contribution to federal legislation and public policy. The Committee is mandated to study issues related to energy and the environment, including mines, energy transportation and climate change.
Previously, the Committee has examined issues such as sustainable development, environmental protection, and implementation of the Kyoto Protocol.
To find out more about the Committee and its work, visit: https://sencanada.ca/en/committees/enev/41-1
Research Expedition Exploring Effects of Climate Change on the Northwest Atlantic Ocean | May 5, 2017
A group of international scientists departed St. John’s on April 27th, on-board the Celtic Explorer, to conduct a month-long research expedition examining the impact of climate change on the Atlantic Ocean.
Climate change is caused by an increased accumulation of greenhouse gases, largely resulting from the burning of fossil fuels, which are trapping heat in the Earth’s atmosphere. The Atlantic Ocean absorbs a significant amount of the world’s carbon dioxide, acting as a carbon sink, and thus plays a crucial role in regulating our climate by reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This not only helps control temperatures in Europe and Eastern Canada, but also supports aquatic ecosystems by delivering oxygen to the ocean interior. The absorption rate however is decreasing, and will likely pose impacts to both the ocean ecosystems and our climate.
The trans-Atlantic voyage from St. John’s to Galway, Ireland is part of a Global Ocean Ship-based Hydrographic Investigations Program (GO-SHIP) survey. Every 30 miles, the research vessel will collect water samples from the sea floor, offering a tremendous amount of data to help the research team study the present and future impacts of climate change, the movement of nutrients and oxygen by ocean currents, and acidification rates on the ocean’s ecosystem. This expedition is being led by the Marine Institute of Galway, Ireland - a partner of the newly formed Ocean Frontier Institute (OFI), which was co-founded by Memorial University, University of Prince Edward Island, and Dalhousie University.
This research expedition provides a unique opportunity for scientists across the globe to collaborate and share their technology, expertise and also results from the on-board measurements, ultimately improving our understanding of the impacts of climate change, and creating tangible outcomes.
Provincial Government Announces Two New Energy Efficiency Programs | April 27, 2017
As part of Budget 2017, the Provincial Government announced $9 million in funding over three years for two new home-energy-efficiency programs: The Home Energy Savings Program (HESP) and the Home Energy Efficiency Program (HEELP). Together, these programs are intended to assist homeowners reliant on electric heat and improve the energy efficiency of their homes. Energy efficiency improvements can reduce household energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions.
Home Energy Savings Program (HESP)
The Home Energy Savings Program (HESP) is a provincial initiative designed to assist low-income households heating their home with electricity. HESP will be delivered over three years by the Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation (NLHC) and will provide non-repayable grants of up to $5,000 to assist eligible households in making energy efficiency upgrades to their homes, including insulation and air sealing.
To be eligible for HESP, households must satisfy the following criteria:
- The applicant must own the home in which the products will be installed
- The home must be an existing home;
- Applicants must have an annual household income of less than $32,500;
- The home must consume a minimum of 15,000 kWh of electricity annually or more; and
- Prior to receiving the grant, the applicant’s home must undergo a home energy assessment by an NLHC auditor.
The program will be open for applications on July 4, 2017. Applications and further program details can be obtained in July 2017, by visiting http://www.nlhc.nf.ca/programs/programs.html or calling NLHC at (709) 724-3000.
Home Energy Efficiency Loan Program (HEELP)
The Home Energy Efficiency Loan Program (HEELP) is a joint initiative between the Provincial Government’s Office of Climate Change and takeCHARGE, to be delivered in partnership with Newfoundland Power and Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro over three years.
Through HEELP, eligible applicants can receive low-interest financing of Prime plus 1.5 per cent for up to $10,000 over five years towards the purchase and installation of heat pumps and insulation. Approved applicants will be required to repay the loan through their electricity bill.
To be eligible for HEELP, households must satisfy the following criteria:
- The applicant must own the home in which the products will be installed;
- The home must be an existing home;
- The home must consume a minimum of 15,000 kWh annually or more; and
- The applicant must pass a credit approval process.
The program will start expecting applications in October 2017. Applications and further program details can be obtained beginning in October 2017, by visiting https://takechargenl.ca/ or by phoning Newfoundland Power at 1-800-663-2802 or Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro at 1-888-737-1296.
Provincial Greenhouse Gas Emissions for 2015 | April 20, 2017
The Government of Canada released its 2015 Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions estimates, including detailed information for provinces and territories, on April 13, 2017. Newfoundland and Labrador emissions for 2015 were 10.3 megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). This is 2.5 per cent lower than 2014. On a per capita basis, emissions also decreased from 2014 by 2.6 per cent to 19.5 tonnes per person.
Nearly half of all of the province’s GHG emissions in 2015 came from large onshore industry (namely, Iron Ore Company of Canada, North Atlantic Refining, Voisey’s Bay and the Long Harbour hydromet facility), the Holyrood Generating Station, and the three offshore oil platforms (Hibernia, Terra Nova, White Rose). Transportation is the second largest contributor followed by fuel use in buildings and waste .
In the Way Forward, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador committed to releasing a new Climate Change Action Plan in 2017/18.
For more detailed information, the full National Inventory Report 1990-2015: Greenhouse Gas Sources and Sinks in Canada and supporting documents can be found at:
BuildGreen Atlantic 2017 Being Held in St. John’s | April 5, 2017
The annual BuildGreen Atlantic Conference is taking place at the Holiday Inn in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador on April 6, 2017. This annual conference is hosted by the Canadian Green Building Council’s (CaGBC’s) Atlantic Chapter, and brings together a variety green building professionals, including architects, engineers, policymakers and individuals in the construction industry to network and share best practices.
The event will include a luncheon keynote address delivered by Dr. Drury Crawley, a Bentley Fellow and Director of Building Performance, with Bentley Systems Inc. who has over 35 years of experience in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and sustainability. Dr. Crawley will speak about getting from Advanced Energy Design Guides (AEDGs) to Net-Zero Energy Buildings.
Among other events, BuildGreen Atlantic will include a workshop focused on how projects in Newfoundland and Labrador can qualify for recognition under the Leadership and Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building certification system, as well as a series of presentations on other topics such as:
- Energy benchmarking;
- Resilient design and achieving green building standards with air movement; and
- Available takeCHARGE rebates for commercial customers, including new lighting rebates.
To learn more about the BuildGreen Atlantic Conference or to register to attend, visit: http://www.cagbc.org/CAGBC/Chapters/Atlantic/BuildGreen_Atlantic.aspx
2017 Federal Budget Provides Funding for Climate Change and Clean Growth | March 28, 2017
On March 22, the Federal Government’s 2017 budget was tabled in the House of Commons. The Budget reaffirms federal commitments to transition to a low-carbon economy, and includes a number of investments to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, spur clean technology growth, and help communities and individuals adapt to a changing climate. Highlights include:
Climate Change Infrastructure Investments
- $21.9 billion over 11 years to support green infrastructure and the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change. This includes:
- $9.2 billion to support priority provincial and territorial projects, including those that reduce GHG emissions, help adapt to climate change, and improve electricity systems;
- $5 billion for green infrastructure projects, including those that reduce GHG emissions, deliver clean air and safe water systems, and promote renewable energy; and
- $2.8 billion for a series of national programs, including:
- $2 billion for a Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund to support national, provincial and municipal infrastructure required to deal with the effects of a changing climate;
- $100 million to support smart grid, storage and clean electricity technology demonstration projects;
- $220 million to reduce the reliance on diesel fuel for rural and remote communities;
- $120 million for electric vehicle charging stations and demonstration projects; and
- $182 million to develop and implement building codes for retrofitting existing buildings and building new net-zero energy buildings.
Additional GHG Reduction Investments
- $11.4 million over four years to accelerate the phase-out of coal-fired electricity generation by 2030.
- $21.4 million over four years to continue the Northern Responsible Energy Approach for Community Heat and Electricity Program.
- $56.9 million over four years to develop GHG regulations in the marine, rail, aviation and vehicle sectors.
- $17.2 million over five years to develop and implement heavy-duty vehicle and off-road regulations, as well as a clean fuel standard.
- $67.5 over four years million to renew and continue existing energy efficiency programs.
Additional Adaptation Investments (Over 5 Years)
- $83.8 million to support climate change adaptation measures in Indigenous communities.
- $73.5 million to establish a new Canadian Centre for Climate Services to improve access to climate science and regional climate resilience centres.
- $47 million to develop a national action plan to respond to the health risks of climate change.
- $18 million to implement a climate change and health adaptation program for First Nations and Inuit communities.
Clean Technology Investments
- $1.4 billion over three years in new financing to help clean technology firms grow and expand.
- $75 million over two years to address challenges such as helping Canada’s rural and remote communities reduce their reliance on diesel as a power source.
To read more about the 2017 federal budget’s investments in clean growth and climate change, visit: http://www.budget.gc.ca/2017/home-accueil-en.html
WMO Releases 2016 “State of the Global Climate” Report | March 27, 2017
On March 21, 2017, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) released its annual State of the Global Climate report. The report presents a detailed analysis of global climate trends based on multiple datasets from climate research centres and institutes from around the world.
The report found that 2016 was the warmest year on record globally, and one in which carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere reached new highs while Arctic sea ice was at record lows for large parts of the year. Key findings from the WMO report include:
- Global temperatures in 2016 were 1.1 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial period, and 0.06 degrees Celcius above the previous record set in 2015;
- Atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide – one of the main greenhouse gases causing climate change – reached new highs at 400 parts per million;
- Global sea ice extent dropped more than 4 million square kilometers below average;
- Global sea levels rose to new record highs in early 2016, during the 2015-16 El Niño;
- Global ocean temperatures were the second highest on record;
- Severe droughts and floods displaced hundreds of thousands of people;
The report notes that temperatures in 2016 were "substantially influenced" by a powerful El Niño year, which contributed an additional 0.1 to 0.2 degrees to the longer-term warming driven by greenhouse gas emissions. However, even without a strong El Niño this year, extreme weather events have continued in 2017, including the Polar equivalent of “heatwaves” in the Arctic and record lows in Antarctic sea ice.
While global temperatures have continued to rise, average temperatures in Newfoundland and Labrador have not experienced the same dramatic changes in recent years, although they have been higher than historical averages.
The full report is available online at http://library.wmo.int/opac/doc_num.php?explnum_id=3414
Participate in Earth Hour this Saturday March 25th at 8:30 p.m. | March 23, 2017
On Saturday, March 25th, shine a light on climate action by switching off your lights and switching on your social power. At 8:30 p.m. (in your local time zone) individuals and organizations across the province are encouraged to participate in Earth Hour by turning off their lights for one hour to show a commitment to the cause of climate action.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of Earth Hour, a worldwide movement to unite people to take action against climate change, one of the biggest environment challenges of our time. Since its inception in Sydney, Australia, in 2007, Earth Hour has engaged hundreds of millions of supporters in over 175 countries and territories worldwide.
The Earth Hour movement is an opportunity to raise awareness and take action against climate change.
Earth Hour traditionally involves turning off your lights as a symbolic gesture, from 8:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. but there are lots of ways you can participate. You could let your friends know about action you are taking to reduce your carbon footprint, coordinate an environmentally-themed event, or promote action through social media by donating your Facebook feed to Earth Hour or by using their logo on your website and social media platforms. Turning off the lights is just the beginning! For more information and resources on how to get involved, visit www.earthhour.org.
As the world stands at a climate crossroads, it is powerful yet humbling to think that our actions today will decide what tomorrow will look like for generations to come.
FCM Launches Two New Climate Change-Oriented Programs | March 8, 2017
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) has announced two new programs that will provide funding, training and learning opportunities to help municipalities across Canada take action on climate change and build their capacity for infrastructure planning and management. Both programs are funded by the Government of Canada.
Municipalities for Climate Innovation Program
This program will help municipalities adapt to the impacts of climate change, such as more extreme storms, rising temperatures and sea levels, coastal erosion, and flooding. It also provides supports for municipalities who are seeking to tackle climate change by reducing their greenhouse gas emissions.
The program offers funding and learning opportunities designed to enable municipalities to address challenges related to climate change, including:
- Plans and studies grants;
- FCM’s Climate and Asset Management Network;
- Regional and national-scale climate initiatives;
- Demonstration project grants; and
- Staff support grants
For more details on the Municipalities for Climate Innovation Program, see http://www.fcm.ca/home/programs/municipalities-for-climate-innovation-program/
Municipal Asset Management Program
This program is a five-year, $50-million program designed to help Canadian municipalities make better informed infrastructure investment decisions using sound asset management practices. It will help municipal decision-makers get the most out of their infrastructure investments, including supports for taking account of the impacts of climate change in the design and construction of assets such as roads, recreational facilities, and water and wastewater systems.
The program will be focused on initiatives in three key areas:
- Training opportunities delivered by FCM and partner organizations;
- Funding to help municipalities adopt asset management practices; and
- Knowledge sharing and networking
For more details on the Municipal Asset Management Program, see https://fcm.ca/home/programs/municipal-asset-management-program/
To learn more about these funding and training opportunities, call or e-mail an FCM advisor at 1-877-997-9926 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Join the Youth Innovation Challenge! | March 7, 2017
What is your idea to tackle environmental issues and spur environmentally sustainable economic growth?
On February 21st the Commission for Environmental Cooperation launched the North American Youth Innovation Challenge. This is a call for youth to present their ideas on how to tackle key environmental issues in a way that can also grow the green economy.
More specifically, the challenge is seeking proposals related to any of the following:
- Reducing air emissions
- Reducing and diverting food waste
- Preventing and managing invasive species
- Reducing and managing marine litter
- Mitigating the impacts of ocean acidification
Submit your bold idea for the chance to receive $5,000 in seed funding and present your innovation to North America’s top environmental officials in Charlottetown, PEI. Youth aged 18-26 from across Canada, Mexico and the United States are encouraged to apply.
The Youth Innovation Challenge has two key phases: the idea and proposal phase. In the idea phase, participants share their ideas in an online portal, which can be commented on and voted by other registered participants. These will be evaluated by a Joint Public Advisory Committee, who will then evaluate the ideas and select a limited number to advance to the proposal phase. Semifinalists are invited to build a proposal on the idea, which will be submitted to a panel of judges consisting of government officials from Canada, Mexico and the United States. Three proposals will be selected to present their proposal to North America’s top environmental officials at the Commission for Environmental Cooperation Council Session, scheduled for 27–28 June 2017, in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. Further to this, they will receive $5,000 in seed funding to get their initiative off the ground.
- Tuesday, February 21: Challenge begins
- Sunday, April 30: Last day to comment and submit ideas
- Friday, May 5: Top ideas selected for refinement
- Monday, May 22: Full proposals for the top 6-9 ideas are submitted to the judges
- Wednesday, June 7: Winning ideas announced
- Wednesday, June 28: Winning individuals or group leads present their ideas to top environmental officials in Charlottetown, Canada
For More information please visit: https://cec.ideascale.com/
Applications for ACOA’s Clean Technology Initiative due March 31 | March 3, 2017
The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s (ACOA’s) Clean Technology Initiative is currently accepting proposals from companies, communities and non-profit organizations across Atlantic Canada. This Call to Action is seeking innovative projects that accelerate clean growth and support the transition to a low-carbon, sustainable economy.
This initiative is part of the Atlantic Growth Strategy – a federal-provincial initiative announced in July 2016 that included Clean Growth and Climate Change as a key action area. ACOA has allocated $20 million for clean technology projects in 2016-17. Applications should be submitted on or before March 31, 2017.
Clean technology refers to products, processes and services that enhance environmental performance, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions and using energy more efficiently. Such technologies support sustainable development and foster new opportunities for innovation and economic diversification.
To find out more about ACOA’s Clean Technology Initiative and to seek funding for your project, visit http://www.acoa-apeca.gc.ca/eng/ImLookingFor/ProgramInformation/Pages/Clean-Technology-Initiative.aspx
takeCHARGE Launches Initiatives Aimed at Electricity Customers and Municipalities | February 10, 2017
Two initiatives were recently launched by takeCHARGE to help promote energy efficiency and conservation amongst municipalities and electricity customers across the province. The new MyHome tool helps customers understand and find ways to reduce their electricity costs, while the annual "takeCHARGE of Your Town" initiative is offering a grant to cities and towns for energy efficiency projects. Both initiatives are outlined below.
takeCHARGE is a collaboration of the province’s two electricity utilities – Newfoundland Power and Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro – that raises awareness on energy efficiency and delivers rebate programs to Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.
New MyHome Tool
takeCHARGE’s new MyHome tool helps electricity customers understand and reduce their electricity use. It provides new insights into how a home uses electricity, how it compares to similar homes in a given area, and will offer users personalized energy-saving advice.
To learn more and sign up, visit https://takechargenl.ca/residential/rebate-programs/myhome-web-portal/. Complete your home profile by February 28, 2017 for a chance to WIN an iPad.
takeCHARGE of Your Town 2017
takeCHARGE of Your Town is aimed at encouraging residents and municipalities across Newfoundland and Labrador to reduce their electricity use. Over the past five years, this initiative has awarded more than $55,000 to successful cities and towns.
This year, a grant of $7,500 is available to be won, and takeCHARGE is inviting municipalities to submit proposals that promote energy conservation or energy efficiency. Eligible projects could include energy efficiency upgrades to a town hall or municipal building. Last year, two winners were selected:
Town of Bay Roberts/Bay Arena
- New LED light fixtures for the ice surface of the Bay Arena will provide higher-quality lighting for skaters, and save over 60 per cent in annual energy costs.
Town of Roddickton-Bide Arm
- The Town arena’s lighting will be upgraded to save energy, reduce operating and maintenance costs, and do a better job of lighting the rink.
The application deadline is February 24, 2017 at 4:00pm, and successful proposals will be announced in spring 2017. To find out more or to submit a proposal, visit https://takechargenl.ca/news-events/town-challenge/.
New Climate Change Challenge Trivia Contest! | February 9, 2017
Enter to win a Climate Action Prize Pack by testing your climate change and energy efficiency knowledge. All the answers can be easily found on www.turnbackthetide.ca.
There will be five questions over five days with grand prize draw on February 20, 2017, for a Climate Action Prize Pack which includes:
- Programmable thermostat
- Energy monitor
- LED lightbulbs
- Low-flow showerhead and faucet aerators
- Weather stripping
- Reusable lunch bag, tote bag and recycled pencils
To enter, visit www.facebook.com/turnbackthetide and:
- LIKE the trivia question posts (and follow us to keep up!)
- COMMENT with your answer each day
- MOST-LIKED COMMENTS will get a bonus entry – so share with your friends!
For the complete set of contest rules, see: Climate Change Challenge Trivia Contest Rules.
Western Health Completes Energy Efficiency Upgrades | February 6, 2017
Western Health is doing its part to help tackle climate change and improve the energy efficiency of its operations. The regional health authority recently announced the completion of a $5.8 million energy-saving and facility renewal program with Honeywell spanning 12 buildings across the region. Facility upgrades and conservation measures completed include:
- Lighting upgrades;
- Building automation system recommissioning and expansion;
- Various mechanical equipment upgrades;
- Building envelope improvements; and
- Central plant upgrades including new steam boiler and chiller.
These improvements are expected to reduce Western Health’s utility bills by $374,000 per year, representing 10.3% of electricity and oil costs, and these savings are guaranteed through a 12-year performance contract with Honeywell. As a result of these energy savings, Western Health estimates that their greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced by nearly 523 metric tons per year – which they indicate is equivalent to taking 175 medium-sized cars off the road.
Recognizing that energy-efficient buildings are also more comfortable for staff, clients, patients and residents, the health care sector is showing leadership on sustainable buildings in Newfoundland and Labrador. Long term care facilities in St. John’s and Corner Brook have achieved Silver status under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) rating program for sustainable buildings, and several other health care facilities across the province are actively seeking certification.
Commercial and institutional buildings, like those operated by Western Health, account for approximately 6 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions in Newfoundland and Labrador. In addition, the commercial and institutional sector accounts for approximately 10 per cent of the province’s total energy usage.
To learn more about how buildings and energy efficiency are being considered in the development of a new provincial climate change action plan, visit www.gov.nl.ca/TalkClimateChange.
Climate Change Consultations “What We Heard” Document Released | January 24, 2017
The Provincial Government has released a “What We Heard” document summarizing the ideas and suggestions of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians on how to tackle climate change. The document outlines key issues and themes that emerged during public consultations to inform a provincial climate change action plan set for release in fall 2017.
The public consultations were held from June to September 2016 and included:
- 11 in-person and virtual sessions;
- Over 200 participants;
- 43 written and online submissions;
- 20 stakeholder meetings; and
- Over 1,000 comments received.
The “What We Heard” document is available online at www.gov.nl.ca/TalkClimateChange, along with all of the unedited comments that were recorded by note takers at the public consultation sessions, as well as all of the written and online submissions that were received.
For more information about the process and what comes next, see the Provincial Government news release.
CaGBC Launches 2017 Greenest School in Canada Competition | January 18, 2017
The Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) and the Canada Coalition for Green Schools are looking for the greenest school in Canada, and your school could be it! This annual competition highlights K-12 schools across Canada that demonstrate how sustainability can be integrated into a school’s buildings, culture, and curriculum. Winning entries in previous years have included various climate change initiatives, such as awareness-raising events and campaigns, waste reduction and composting programs, and student-led renewable energy projects.
As shown by 2016’s winning school in Calgary, a green school is about more than just sustainable buildings and infrastructure. A truly green school considers the environment in many ways including: empowering educators to engage and inspire environmentally-literate students, creating healthier spaces for learning and playing, and working with communities to foster more sustainable neighbourhoods. So even if your school is in an older building, you can still compete.
Read on to learn more about what’s up for grabs, which schools are eligible to enter, judging criteria, and how to apply.
What Does the Greenest School in Canada Win?
- The winning school will receive $2,000 in prize money to put towards a green activity, as well as the prestigious title of Greenest School in Canada; and
- The winner will also be submitted as the official Canadian entry into the Greenest School on Earth competition, held by U.S. Green Building Council’s Center for Green Schools.
Which Schools are Eligible?
- All Canadian schools offering any grade from kindergarten to grade 12 are eligible for the Greenest School in Canada competition.
What are the Judging Criteria?
- Efficient use of resources and reduced environmental impact;
- Enhanced health and learning among students, teachers and staff; and
- Emphasis on sustainability and resource-conservation education.
How can I Apply?
- Get a school official, such as a teacher, principal, staff or member of a parent advisory council, to complete and submit the online application form. Applications are due by April 30, 2017.
For more information or to get started on your application, visit the CaGBC’s website. CaGBC is also offering a free “Tips and Tricks” webinar on January 25 for schools looking for extra help with their submission, hosted by two teachers from winning schools in previous years.
Post-Secondary Academic Institutions Combating Climate Change | January 17, 2017
Through research, programming, and energy efficiency retrofits, post-secondary academic institutions across the country are working to tackle climate change, including here in Newfoundland and Labrador. Some highlights from Memorial University, Yukon College, and Thomson Rivers University in British Columbia include:
- A Memorial University waste audit revealed that 70 per cent of the main dining hall’s waste was organic food waste. Driven by student demand and supported by the university, a pilot project was launched to gather and transport all organic food waste from the dining hall to the nearby Botanical Garden for composting. Finished compost is then used for the community garden, reducing the need for added fertilizer which emits nitrous oxide – a potent greenhouse gas. The pilot’s success has led to the continuation and expansion of this initiative. For more information, see this article published in the university’s Gazette.
- Yukon College launched a new post-graduate degree in Climate Change Policy. The program combines theoretical and applied learning in a northern, Yukon-focused context. The certificate is an online, part-time program, offered largely through distance education with a two-week field school component in Yukon. The program is interdisciplinary, and will focus on climate change science and the associated impacts on socio-economic systems, particularly as it relates to policy. For more information, see the program description.
- Thomson Rivers University was recognized as an energy conservation leader by British Columbia Hydro. By identifying sustainability as one of its five strategic priorities, and establishing a five-year Campus Strategy Sustainability Plan with ambitious energy management goals, Thomson Rivers saved $500,000 in utility costs in 2016. These savings, as a percentage of total energy consumption, are higher than those achieved by any other post-secondary institution in British Columbia. For more information on this energy-saving initiative, as well as the Campus Strategy Sustainability Plan, see this article.
For more information on post-secondary sustainability programs and initiatives across North America, visit the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s website at http://www.aashe.org/
National Building Code Training to be Held in St. John’s | January 9, 2017
The Canadian Home Builders’ Association-Newfoundland and Labrador (CHBA-NL), in partnership with the National Research Council of Canada, is offering training on the major technical changes to the 2015 edition of the National Building Code of Canada (NBC) on Tuesday, January 31, 2017 at the Holiday Inn in St. John’s. This one-day seminar is designed to raise awareness of, and help code users better understand new features and technical updates to the NBC, including energy efficiency requirements. In 2013, the NBC was updated to include energy efficiency requirements. Legislation in Newfoundland and Labrador requires that municipalities adopt the NBC and any amendments, including energy efficiency provisions.
The intended audience for this session includes:
- Building code officials and inspectors;
- Architects and engineers; and
- Any others with an interest in construction codes.
Interested participants must register by January 23, 2017 by phoning (709) 753-2000, or by emailing email@example.com
For more information on this session, visit: http://chbanl.ca/
Cold Weather Driving Tips to Get Through a Harsh Winter | January 5, 2017
With winter setting in across Newfoundland and Labrador, vehicle fuel economy is starting to drop along with the temperatures. See the list below for some practical winter driving tips that can help save energy and reduce emissions across a variety of different vehicles.
- Limit idling. Most cars need less than a minute to warm up the engine, and will start warming up the cabin faster when they are driven. Limiting idling time will help save fuel, reduce emissions, and warm up your car faster.
- Keep your tires properly inflated. Cold temperatures lead to lower tire pressures, which can lower your fuel economy. Check your tires against the recommended pressure posted on the inside of the driver's side door and in the owner's manual.
- Choose the most efficient winter tires. Make sure your tires are appropriately rated for conditions in your area, and if it's time to replace them, look for low-rolling resistance tires for improved fuel economy.
- Keep up with your maintenance and oil changes. Harsh winter conditions can make car appointments a real pain, but they can also really take their toll on a poorly maintained car. Regular maintenance can help boost fuel economy and avoid costly repairs down the road.
Electric Vehicles and Plug-in Hybrids
- Warm up the car while it's still plugged in. Pre-conditioning the cabin before you unplug your electric vehicle saves battery power, which can help extend your all-electric range and boost your overall fuel economy.
- Use heated seats instead of cabin heaters. Unlike a conventional car, most electric car heaters are battery-powered and can't recover waste heat from the engine. Heated seats are a more efficient way to keep warm while saving energy and improving range.
- Allow extra time to charge. Battery performance generally drops in colder temperatures, and that can increase the time it takes to charge. Where possible, plan ahead and make sure you have a topped-up battery before you leave.
- Park in a sheltered or sunlit area. Parking in a heated garage is ideal for battery charging and pre-conditioning the cabin, but if you don't have access to one, try parking in direct sunlight instead.
To learn more about cold weather driving and how it affects different types of vehicles, visit http://www.canadianfuels.ca/Blog/November-2016/Cold-weather-tips-for-electric-vehicles-and-hybrids/.