One could be forgiven for believing Calgarians invented the saying “Making hay while the sun shines”. In a city with an average of 2,396 hours of sunlight each year, Calgary is leading the country in energy efficiency projects.
As the first large municipality in Canada to power all of its infrastructure with renewable energy, beginning with its city-wide, light-rail (C-train) network, The City of Calgary has for more than a decade been implementing trend-setting and cost-efficient solutions to traditional energy demand. Leveraging its historical strength in the energy sector, the city is leading the way among Alberta municipalities in developing buildings powered by solar, biogas and combined heat and power systems.
With the highest concentration of engineers and geoscientists in Canada and a widely-recognized entrepreneurial culture, Calgary is well-equipped to continue to realize its green energy vision. And the proof is in what the city has already achieved.
In 2008, The City of Calgary developed the Sustainable Buildings Partnership Program (SBPP) to improve the Triple Bottom Line performance of existing city infrastructure, requiring Council and City staff to address the sustainable principles of social, economic and environmental impacts in its operations. This supports the city’s Sustainable Building Policy, which identifies and improves the efficiency of existing corporate infrastructure through the use of audits, alternative energy technologies, conservation and energy efficiency upgrades.
The real bottom line is felt by residents, who benefit from enhanced indoor and outdoor environments with minimal impact on their community’s natural resources - and on their pocketbooks.
A natural at being first out of the gate in green technology, Calgary was also the first Canadian municipality to adopt a sustainable building policy, meaning City-owned and funded buildings need to meet or exceed the Gold Level of the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) New Construction rating system, encouraging ongoing improvements in the energy efficiency of city infrastructure.
ENMAX, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the City of Calgary, is North America’s market leader in renewable energy, with 14% of its total power generation from renewable sources. Calgary’s ENMAX has invested $425 million in renewable energy projects across Alberta, including 150 MW of wind-powered generation in Alberta, counting wind facilities in Taber, McBride Lake and Kettles Hill with more under development.
And it doesn’t stop at wind. ENMAX also leads the province in solar participation, with projects underway that will help Alberta reach its goal of reducing emissions by 40% by 2030. By the end of this year alone, Calgary will have the most installed solar rooftop in Alberta.
With continued passion, commitment and a lot of grit – plus a healthy dose of sunshine – Calgary will continue to set the path for a greener future.