Carbon count easing

Trail is decreasing its greenhouse gas emissions as it works towards being carbon neutral by next year.

Trail is decreasing its greenhouse gas emissions as it works towards being carbon neutral by next year.

According to a report by the Carbon Neutral Kootenays project, the city has cut its carbon emissions by more than 10 per cent since 2008.

While there isn’t a set ranking system as to how well communities are doing, local contact for the project Adam James said Trail is on the right track.

“They’ve certainly taken the initiative on most of their recent projects to include carbon emissions as part of their decision process.”

The project aims at assisting communities to reach their requirment of becoming carbon neutral under the provincial Climate Action Charter. Phase 1 was completed last year, where inventories of energy and carbon emissions were taken and action strategies developed.

Phase 2 is set to wrap up in November 2012 and aims at supporting and maintaining the inventories and implementing carbon neutral actions.

City manager David Perehudoff said most of the reductions have come from new initiatives to cut power and gas use, such as converting to energy efficient lighting, replacing pumps and installing GPS in the city’s fleet to track movement and idling times.

“With that, we have a policy in place where you can’t idle a vehicle for more than one minute, so with that we’re hoping to see an owngoing reduction in our fuel consumption,” he explained.

The government is providing carbon tax rebates to communities, based on consumption and carbon taxes previously paid.

And if the city keeps reducing its emissions and estimates for 2012 pan out, the city could actually see a minor surplus from that grant after purchasing carbon offsets (reductions made by others) next year. Perehudoff said that money would then be reinvested into other initiatives to further reduce emissions.

“There’s no way to be at a zero carbon production so in our operations we’re sensitive to the requirement to reduce our carbon output by modifying our operations wherever possible,” said Perehudoff.

The two largest city emitters were the Memorial and Aquatic centres, according to the report. The replacement of the H-VAC system at the aquatic centre early next year will result in a $55,000 reduction in gas purchase costs according to Perehudoff.

“It’s a fairly significant reduction based on our current budget — we’re talking almost 40 per cent reduction in our tonnage at the aquatic centre once we get that system fully up and running.”

No plans are in place for the Memorial Centre just yet.

To track their emissions, the city will have to purchase SMARTTool, an electronic software that will use all consumption data to compute how much carbon is produced. The city can then use the data to apply for more grants in the future and prove that they are complying with Charter regulations.

The cost of the tool is based on the community’s population and the amount of tonnage produced, which means that it will cost the city roughly $1,500 each year to use.