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City creates new Climate Leadership Division, seeks public input to develop Residential Energy Retrofit Program

Photo by Dominic Owens.

With “demonstrating leadership on climate change” being a priority of City Council’s strategic plan, the City of Kingston has created a new division to focus on this particular issue.

The Climate Leadership Division will be focused on actions combating climate change which were identified in Council’s strategic plan, and will report to the Commissioner of Business, Environment and Projects. According to the City of Kingston, the new division was created with existing staff resources that have experience working on climate action projects.

With Council having already declared a climate emergency, and making climate leadership a strategic priority, the new division already has a full list of task to carry out, some of which are already underway, the City said in a press release on Monday, Jan. 27, 2020. Some of that work includes:

  • The introduction of a home energy retrofit program to help residents reduced their home’s carbon footprint
  • The development of a community climate fund
  • The creation of a net-zero new build policy
  • The development of the Climate Leadership Plan

According to the City, the Climate Leadership Plan will act as a corporate and community climate change management strategy to help inform how everyone can reduce carbon emissions.

“We have a lot of work ahead of us, and we will be working with all departments and residents in order to realize drastic reductions in GHG emissions. Climate change is a global issue, and we have the opportunity here in Kingston to introduce local solutions that will benefit our community, and inspire others,” said Julie Salter-Keane, Manager of the Climate Leadership Division.

On the heels of this announcement, the City has created a survey for residents to provide input on the development of a Residential Energy Retrofit Program. The program will aim to assist residents in making improvements in their homes that reduce energy use and their carbon footprint. According to the City of Kingston, the energy consumed to heat, cool, and power homes represents 14 per cent of Kingston’s greenhouse gas emissions.

“Saving energy on home heating, cooling, and hot water heaters, can have a tremendous impact on reducing our community’s greenhouse gas emissions – and will also help control residents’ energy costs,” said Dave Roewade, City of Kingston Climate Leadership Project Manager.

The survey, which takes about 10 minutes to complete, will help the City decide the structure of the Energy Retrofit Program, which could be piloted as early as this year. The survey will collect information from home owners on:

  • Details on home heating/cooling and water heating systems used
  • The barriers residents face in making energy-saving choices
  • How homeowners might be motivated to make energy-saving changes.

The survey, which is available here, is open until Monday, Feb. 17, 2020 at 4 p.m.

“As a City, we’re committed to achieving a 15 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over 2018 levels by 2022, and carbon neutrality by 2040. These are ambitious targets!” said Mayor Bryan Paterson. “It’s important that we have resources and staff dedicated to climate action. I’m pleased to see a City division created that will work hard to achieve these goals and make sure we are examining future decisions through a climate lens.”

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