As the province plans for recovery, the town is beginning to carefully and responsibly bring back services and reopen some public spaces, programs and services. Provincial emergency orders and the town’s physical distancing by-law remain in effect. We must all continue to follow guidelines from Public Health officials.
We act as leaders in research, development and implementation of innovative environmental programs; continually seek areas for operational efficiencies and environmental opportunities; follow established green procedures; promote partnerships with local businesses, schools and organizations; and seek continuous improvement in management and operational practices.
The town is committed to reducing the use of non-renewable energy sources at town facilities and improving air quality in Oakville. By using less electricity and natural gas, we not only save money, we also lessen our impact on the environment. We track our energy use at town facilities so we can evaluate our progress toward meeting our overall goal for reduced energy consumption.
The town’s baseline year of measurement is 2012, with a goal to achieve an overall target of 15 per cent reduction in energy consumption (electricity and natural gas) at town facilities by 2019. As of 2016, the town has seen a 3.7 per cent energy use intensity (EUI) reduction since 2012.
Education and outreach programs support increased awareness of environmental sustainability issues by both town staff and the community. Monitoring the number of events that the town hosts and/or participates in each year helps assess efforts in raising the profile of the environment and supporting households, businesses and town staff in their sustainability efforts. In addition to the events reported as part of this indicator, the town provides online education material and outreach through social media and also works to deliver programs with community partners such as Conservation Halton, Oakvillegreen and the Halton Environmental Network.
It is difficult to compare across years given the different nature of events, partnerships and objectives. The trend, however, is towards hosting fewer but larger events such as the Keep Calm and Adapt event and the Energy Fair which draw hundreds of participants each year.
Renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and geothermal can help replace non-renewable fossil based sources such as nuclear and natural gas. Most renewable energy sources produce little to no greenhouse gas emissions which results in substantially lower environmental impacts. Generating electricity from renewable energy rather than fossil fuels also offers significant public health benefits as air and water pollution emitted by coal and natural gas plants, for example, have been linked to a number of health issues including premature mortality.
In 2016, Oakville Enterprises Corporation (the parent company of Oakville Hydro) generated 27,336 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity from renewable energy sources. These sources included solar, gas capture from landfill and hydro.