Leading by Example

Saanich’s pledge to take action on sustainability and climate change was first embedded into the Official Community Plan in 2008 and then the Saanich Climate Action mitigation and adaptation plans in 2010. To make progress on sustainability as a community, the Municipality recognizes that leading by example is imperative. Here are some examples of how Saanich looks to lead by example on climate change.

Carbon Fund

In 2007, Saanich developed the innovative Carbon Fund, a first in North America, providing a consistent funding stream for low-carbon municipal projects. Here’s how it works: each department in the municipality contributes to the fund based on their carbon footprint. The Fund is then used to implement new greenhouse gas reducing initiatives within Saanich operations. Most of the projects listed below were completed through support from the Carbon Fund.

Municipal Building Heating and Lighting Retrofits

 Through funding partnerships with BC Hydro and Fortis BC, Saanich has transitioned its buildings to become more efficient, leading to opportunities for renewable energy. The biggest opportunities come from four prominent recreation centres in the community, along with the Municipal Hall and our Police and Fire stations. Key project examples include:

  • In 2016, Saanich led a significant carbon reduction project at the Gordon Head Recreation Centre by replacing an existing inefficient heating system with a new high-efficiency air source heat pump and condensing boiler system.  The heat pump was commissioned at the beginning of 2017 and is expected to achieve significant energy savings, helping to reduce the Corporate GHG emissions by approximately 7%, a savings of 400 tonnes CO2e annually.
  • In 2016 Saanich purchased a REALice® System for the Gold rink at Pearkes Arena with support from Fortis BC.  This is a water treatment device for ice arenas to remove micro-air bubbles from water that is used when laying and resurfacing the ice. It makes it possible to flood the ice with unheated water to create hard & resilient ice in comparison to the previous approach of using heated water. Reclaimed heat is already used at the Pearkes facility for showers and as supplementary hot water for the arena’s resurfacing machines.  The installation of the REALice® System further reduced the Arena’s energy requirement and is anticipated to save 900GJ of energy use per year.
  • In 2016, Saanich began a 5-year program to convert 6,000 of their 9,000 street lights from High Pressure Sodium (HPS) lamps to energy efficient Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs). The program will result in a 51% reduction in overall electricity use and an annual savings of $214,000 and 26 tCO2e once fully complete.  The LED fixtures also have a longer life span than HPS fixtures reducing the need for maintenance.

Efficient and Low-Carbon Vehicles

Saanich has a fleet of over 200 vehicles and our Fleet Department has made significant fuel efficiency improvements by switching to high-efficiency diesel and electric vehicles. In 2013, Saanich achieved a fuel reduction of over 200,000 litres annually compared to 2007 consumption. This resulted in an annual carbon reduction of over 700 tonnes of greenhouse gas.

Since 2010, the District of Saanich has been an active adopter of electric vehicles and has continued to add vehicles each year. Saanich now operates 9 electric vehicles. The use of a pooled fleet maximizes the use of these zero-emission vehicles. The Saanich Police Department also uses a Mitsubishi EV for court liaison purposes, making them the first Police Department in Canada to incorporate an EV into its fleet.

The Municipality has also incorporated public EV charging stations at prominent Saanich owned facilities for public use. In 2015, Saanich was also the first municipality to bring a DC fast charging station to Greater Victoria Region, one of the most used stations in the Province.

The District of Saanich is also pleased to have signed a pledge with the Pacific Coast Collaborative (PCC), committing to procure at least 10% zero-emission vehicles for all new vehicle purchases. The PCC is a sustainability leadership initiative between the Province of BC and US states Washington, Oregon and California. Saanich is the first local government in North America to commit to the PCC pledge. To learn more about the Pacific Coast Collaborative and the EV Pledge visit www.pluginbc.ca/fleets.

Greener Garbage Collection

In 2014, Saanich launched the Greener Garbage Collection initiative to divert organics from the landfill and reduce community GHGs. Following the first full year of implementation, this added service has reduced landfilled waste by more than 50%.

In 2016 over 9,000 tonnes of organics were diverted from landfill through the curbside collection program, with an additional 8,000 tonnes of garden waste from the Municipal Yard and 2,500 tonnes of leaves collected curbside.

Learn more about the Greener Garbage Collection Program.

Preparing for a Changing Climate

Following the completion of the Adaptation Plan, two areas have been identified as the highest priority by residents. First, the combined potential impact of storm events and sea-level rise has been initially assessed. Secondly, food security impacts have been highlighted and will be further addressed in the development of the Saanich Agriculture and Food Security Strategy.


Saanich publicly reports its progress to several stakeholders:

In 2013, Saanich was awarded top honours in the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Partners for Climate Protection (PCP) program. The Municipality has reached five milestones for both corporate and community programs, making it the 8th municipality in Canada to achieve this status and the first on Vancouver Island.

With more projects pending in 2017, the municipality is also looking forward at the feasibility of 100% renewable energy in municipal operations and will share this process with the community in late 2017.

For Additional Information Please Contact:

Rebecca Newlove, Manager of Sustainability
Planning Department
Ph: 250-475-7118
Email: rebecca.newlove@saanich.ca