How can we reach our 2020
Greenest City Targets?

GC 2020

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  1. Host an sustainability ideas series (e.g. films, lectures, how to sessions)

    Sustainability is a complex and difficult topic. Many people get a sense about what it is, some don't get it at all and many others think green consumerism (e.g. cloth bags, CFL lightbulbs) is all that's required to build a friendly and safe global future. A multimedia ideas series, perhaps at community centres, would be a great tool to inform people about what is actually required (e.g. reducing overall consumption) for us to build a sustainable global civilization.

    10 votes
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    2 comments  ·  Lighter Footprint  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  2. Develop a Vancouver Food Action Plan

    An Action Plan would provide an overall strategy to guide the City’s response to urban agriculture and food system issues.

    177 votes
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    6 comments  ·  Encourage local food  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  3. Extend food waste collection program to include apartments and condos

    While the curbside food waste program is terrific, detached homeowners already have the option of composting in their yards. Extending the program to include apartments dramatically reduce municipal waste and will finally make composting available to the growing number of Vancouverites living in high-density buildings (which is also great for the environment).

    770 votes
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    25 comments  ·  Reduce waste  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

    The City supports Metro Vancouver’s plans to ban food scraps from the incinerator and landfills by 2015. The City will collaborate with Metro Vancouver to develop and implement a plan to ensure apartments, condos, businesses and institutions have access to food scraps collection programs before the ban comes into effect.

  4. Encourage deconstruction to recover used building materials & reduce construction waste

    Construction waste accounts for a huge proportion of waste in our landfills. The majority of materials can be reused, recycled or repurposed. Deconstruction offers job creation opportunities and supports a new market for used building materials

    202 votes
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    10 comments  ·  Reduce waste  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

    The Draft Greenest City Action Plan includes an action to develop a building deconstruction policy. The City is piloting a building deconstruction project and is exploring options for an incentive program to encourage deconstruction.

  5. Work with existing district steam heating systems to switch to renewable energy sources

    Half of Vancouver’s greenhouse gas emissions come from burning natural gas to heat our buildings. The large district steam heating systems found at the hospitals and downtown are significant users of natural gas. Converting these existing systems to renewable energy sources would reduce reliance on natural gas and help to lower our greenhouse gas emissions.

    11 votes
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    under review  ·  1 comment  ·  Reduce greenhouse gas emissions  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  6. Change the Building Code to require water efficient fixtures in a wider range of house renovations

    The building code specifies the kinds of efficiencies required by water fixtures in all buildings. Currently a home owner has to be undertaking a significant renovation ($95 000 value) before permits are required. The code could be changed to lower that threshold (to $50,000), thereby increasing the number of homes that would be required by law to install fixtures with a high degree of water efficiency.

    12 votes
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    0 comments  ·  Use less water  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  7. Change the Building Code to require rainwater collection & water efficient irrigation systems

    Outdoor water consumption represents a significant portion of residential water use. In particular, the watering of lawns and gardens is one of the more water intensive of outdoor water activities. Requiring installation of rainwater harvesting devices for irrigation purposes would decrease the dependence on treated water for irrigation purposes. In addition, specifying the installation of water efficient irrigation systems would further reduce water demand.

    314 votes
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    11 comments  ·  Use less water  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  8. Introduce water conservation rebates to encourage purchase of water-saving fixtures and appliances

    The City could introduce water conservation rebates to encourage the purchase of appliances and fixtures that use innovative water-saving technology. High efficiency toilets and fixtures, rain sensors, rainwater harvesting, water efficient appliances among other initiatives are proven to reduce water consumption.

    Water efficient rebate programs would be targeted towards homes and businesses built before 1995 when the City Plumbing Code began to mandate high efficiency fixtures. Since this time, the City Plumbing Code has required low flow toilets, showerheads, and aerating faucets in all new construction. The industry standard for new toilet installations is now to use six litres of…

    33 votes
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    6 comments  ·  Use less water  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  9. Require residential water metering

    The City of Vancouver could expect to achieve about a 20 % reduction in water use if residential meters were installed. However, the average water bill for single and two family homes would increase by about 30 %. These costs are related to the installation and maintenance of the meters and to the fact that the majority of the cost of water is related to the filtering and distribution infrastructure - the cost of which remains the same regardless of how much water is used.

    In other cities where water meters are used for billing, people have a better understanding…

    196 votes
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    12 comments  ·  Use less water  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  10. Enforce lawn sprinkling restrictions during summer months

    In the summer months, water use can double, with most of this water being used on lawns. Sprinkling restrictions have been in place since 1998 without strict enforcement. By implementing an education and enforcement strategy, Vancouver could expect to achieve a 15 % reduction in outdoor water use.

    The cost of an education and enforcement program would be off-set by the revenue from the ticketing program. Additional revenues could be reinvested into other conservation measures, like incentives for low flow toilets and shower heads.

    32 votes
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    5 comments  ·  Use less water  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  11. Work with rail yards to encourage them to reduce rail engine idling and other pollution

    Rail traffic can contribute to local air pollution, specifically when idling in Vancouver rail yards. Should expand the idling by-law to rail traffic and work with rail yards to explore voluntary options to reduce idling.

    10 votes
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    0 comments  ·  Improve air quality  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  12. Regulate non-road emission sources like diesel generators, lawn mowers and leaf blowers

    Diesel particulate matter (PM) is one of the biggest air quality threats to human health in the city. Its health impacts include lung cancer, heart and respiratory disease, and even premature death.

    Non-road emissions, which are a significant source of diesel PM, come from a broad range of sectors including industrial, construction, recreational, lawn and garden, agricultural and other sectors. Their emissions often occur close to ground level and close to where people live, work and play. While emission standards for new non-road engines are already in place, older equipment will continue to be used for decades.

    The city should…

    82 votes
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    4 comments  ·  Improve air quality  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  13. Ban woodstoves through by-laws

    Wood-burning fireplaces and stoves can emit substantial amounts of air pollutants (mostly particulate matter). Health Canada reports that the health-impacts of wood smoke include: eye, nose and throat irritation; headaches, nausea and dizziness; and it can cause or worsen symptoms for people with asthma or respiratory problems. The CIty could update its building code so that woodstoves are not allowed in new home construction or limit permitted appliances to advanced combustion technologies only.

    58 votes
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    11 comments  ·  Improve air quality  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  14. Increase incentives for people to trade in old woodstoves for more efficient ones

    Metro Vancouver already offers a $250 rebate to trade in their old uncertified wood burning appliance for a new low emission appliance. This could be increased and/or more heavily advertised.

    http://www.metrovancouver.org/services/air/health/Pages/WoodStoveExchangeProgram.aspx

    5 votes
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    2 comments  ·  Improve air quality  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  15. Improve air quality monitoring and make it educational

    Metro Vancouver is responsible for monitoring air quality across the region. There are only two permanent air quality monitoring stations within the City and their readings aren't representative of the rest of Vancouver because of point sources nearby. Building another air quality monitoring station in a better location could help assess trends in ambient air quality across the City. Mobile monitoring studies could also be conducted along major traffic corridors or near suspected point sources to inform policy decisions.

    Educational features such as signage and real-time displays could be incorporated into existing or new monitoring stations. This would help inform…

    14 votes
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    1 comment  ·  Improve air quality  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  16. Reclaim road and/or parking space to create plazas and parklets.

    Over 30% of the city's land is street space, and about half of that area is paved for roads. Vancouver should follow in the steps of cities like New York, San Francisco, and Paris, redefining public space to put people first.

    Public plazas and parklets could be created by temporarily and inexpensively reclaiming paved areas using things like simple barriers, paint, potted plants, and movable furniture. If the new public spaces are successful, permanent reclaimation could be considered. San Francisco's Pavement to Parks program provides a great example for how this could be pursued.

    Links: http://sfpavementtoparks.sfplanning.org/ (San Francisco Pavement to…

    394 votes
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  17. Unbundle parking and housing costs

    Many people assume parking is free or inexpensive since it is usually included in the cost of housing. In reality, it is a significant hidden cost -- by some estimates, the cost of a single residential parking space can be $40,000 to $50,000 or even greater. People are more likely to own a car and to drive if they've already paid for a parking space.

    Vancouver should explore policies that separate (or 'unbundle') the cost of parking from the cost of housing. This gives home-owners or renters an opportunity to pay for housing without paying for attached parking, increasing both…

    176 votes
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    The City has supported projects that have voluntarily unbundled parking (e.g. Spectrum), and is actively working to gain authority to require unbundling in new development — this requires changes to Provincial legislation. In 2008, the City proposed the Unbundled Parking Resolution to give BC municipalities the authority to require unbundling in new development. This was passed by the Union of BC Municipalities. Provincial response to date: The Ministry of Community Development will review the proposal and refer the issue to the Development Finance Review Committee for discussion.

  18. Provide abundant & secure bicycle parking at transit stations & other key locations.

    For many people who live too far from a transit station to walk, cycling could be a great option--if they only had a safe place to leave their bike. Unfortunately bicycle theft is a common occurance in major cities, and Vancouver is no exception.

    Abundant and secure bicycle parking (e.g. 'bike stations') should be provided at transit stations and other key locations throughout the city (e.g. downtown Granville Island). Security can be enhanced through smartcard access, security cameras, and/or an attendant. Depending on the location and demand, additional end-of-trip amenities such as lockers, showers, and repair shops could also be…

    360 votes
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    This is acknowledged as a key strategy to better integrate cycling and transit. In 07/2009 the City committed some funding for secure parking facilities at Broadway-City Hall and Olympic Village Canada Line stations. The City has also conducted a feasibility study for a downtown bike centre.

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