The city of Coquitlam is on track to meet its target to offset greenhouse gases in civic buildings by 30%, energy manager Trevor Billy said.
In 2007, the city was one of dozens of B.C. municipalities that signed the provincial government's Climate Action Charter, pledging to cut consumption of electricity, natural gas and gasoline by a third by 2015 over 2005 levels.
"We expect to meet the goal. We've got a plan and we are committed to doing it," Billy told The Tri-City News.
Since 2008, the city has completed 37 projects that have reduced emissions by 898 tonnes, equal to 225 cars being taken off the road. Billy said this was achieved through a new heat-recovery system at the City Centre Aquatic Complex, lighting retrofits and better controls of power-sucking machines.
The next 900 tonnes or so will come by using systems more efficiently in civic buildings. These include turning off computers and lights at the end of the day or when a room is empty, and minimizing the use of personal handheld devices.
"It's creating a daily mindset that energy conservation is here every day," he said. "It's not just a one-time thing - we have to build it into our daily activities."
Billy, a mechanical engineer, said Coquitlam is also one of five municipalities piloting the BC Hydro Workplace Conservation Awareness Plan (the other cities are Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Richmond and Vancouver).
Still, despite Coquitlam's recent energy-efficiency gains, Billy said his job is challenged when new city buildings go up or are expanded, such as the renovated Poirier Sports and Leisure Complex and the main fire hall, which has a new administrative wing.
"For cities that are already built out, they have their infrastructure there," he said, "whereas we have whole new neighbourhoods coming.... which means we're going to have to be more proactive."