B.C. has been ranked as the country’s most energy efficient region, according to a new national report which scores each province’s efforts to save energy.
Efficiency Canada, a Carleton University-based advocacy organization, launched the country’s first-ever energy efficiency scorecard Wednesday, as a way to track annual progress across the country to meet national climate change commitments.
The scorecard takes five measurements into consideration: each province’s policy progress on energy efficiency programs, enabling policies, buildings, transportation and industry.
“Imagine thinking of all that energy waste from our homes, businesses and industry as a ‘resource’, just like natural gas, oil or wind turbines,” the organizations executive director, Corey Diamond, said in a news release.
“Now imagine harvesting that ‘resource’ in every community across Canada, creating jobs and meeting our climate change commitments. At a time when much of the country is at odds on our energy future, boosting energy efficiency is surely something all Canadians can agree on.”
B.C. earned 56 points out of 100 for its efforts, including the Energy Step Code program, which gives incentives to developers to create net-zero energy buildings with a goal of making it a requirement within the province’s building code by 2032, explained Brendan Haley, the study’s lead author.
Another key policy that earned B.C. high marks was FortisBC’s increasing natural gas program savings, which rose from 0.2 to 0.5 per cent of sales this year making it the second highest target in the country.
But the researchers said the province does have room for improvement, as well.
The report says that despite the CleanBC Plan foreseeing a need for new generation plants to meet the growing need for clean energy to power buildings and transportation, BC Hydro has ramped down program savings in recent years. Instead, “increasing electricity savings now will help manage a higher peak demand in the future and avoid the need to build expensive and risky hydro generation projects in the future,” the report reads.
Researchers also suggested that B.C. implement a mandatory building energy rating program in order to inform consumers of the true value of properties based on its energy efficiency – a commitment referred to in B.C.’s Climate Action Plan.
Quebec scored in second place, with 48 points, because of its high number of registered drivers with electric and hybrid vehicles, as well as its number of public charging stations. Quebec is the only province that has an energy savings target related to transportation fuel.