Regina's 7 Big Moves
The City of Regina has committed to becoming a 100 per cent renewable energy city by 2050. Achieving this goal requires a three-pronged approach:
- Reducing energy consumption
- Improving energy usage and efficiency
- Switching to renewable or low carbon energy sources
Through analysis of Regina’s current community greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the targets necessary to achieve net-zero, consultant Sustainability Solutions Group has identified the seven ‘Big Moves’ that will make Regina renewable by 2050. View SSG's presentation at the October 19, 2021 Virtual Community Forum and read more below.
Big Move #1: Retrofitting Existing Buildings
Energy use in buildings accounts for 69 per cent of GHG emissions in Regina. Emissions include those resulting from heating and cooling spaces, for lighting, and for electricity to run appliances and equipment in homes, schools, offices, and industrial warehouses. To reach net-zero in Regina, all existing buildings in the community will need to be retrofitted to less energy and be more energy-efficient.
Big Move #2: Net-Zero New Builds
Ensuring that new buildings are not sources of carbon emissions is key to reaching an ambitious emissions reduction target. Buildings and the systems within them (eg. heating, cooling) are long-lasting assets. If we continue to build buildings that are carbon-emitting, we are locking ourselves into those emissions over the span of 25 years or more, unless costly upgrades are completed before the buildings’ systems are at end of life.
Big Move #3: Fuel Switching our Heating
Most of the emissions from buildings in Regina currently come from natural gas used for heating. For new and retrofitted buildings, energy systems will need to be converted to limit emissions. Switching to efficient electric systems, such as heat pumps, is key because grid electricity can be decarbonized with the addition of renewable energy at the individual building or community scale.
Big Move #4: Renewable energy generation
One of the most significant low-carbon transition opportunities the community can pursue is to increase renewable energy generation. This means investing in individual and community-scale wind and solar power. Moving to these sources will allow the community to decrease emissions from the electricity grid, which is directly related to emissions levels from electricity use in homes and businesses and in electric vehicles. It also maximizes the emissions reduction benefits of building retrofits and fuel-switching.
Big Move #5: Reducing Vehicle Emissions
Regina, like many Canadian cities, is heavily reliant on individual automobile trips to get around. The transportation sector makes up 23 per cent of community emissions on a yearly basis. While we cannot avoid all vehicle trips, there are viable alternatives to gasoline-fueled vehicles. The technology continues to evolve for battery electric vehicles while prices decrease. Other technologies such as hydrogen vehicles are in rapid development. Both solutions require new infrastructure to support their widespread adoption.
Big Move #6: Increasing Active Transportation and Transit Use
While low emissions vehicles can help us reduce emissions, increased active transportation and transit use are also important strategies to help us reduce transportation emissions. A well-thought-out active transportation and transit network can help decrease congestion, promote active and healthy lifestyles, and complement urban intensification and mixed-use developments while decreasing emissions.
Big Move #7: Cleaning and Re-energizing Industry
Our industrial sector represents one-third of our energy consumption and GHG emissions in Regina. The City needs to continue to have a positive ongoing dialogue with industry stakeholders to encourage industry to consider what their energy transition looks like and to discuss collaborative solutions to mitigating the economic transition risk to a low carbon economy.