Just over one year ago, I was thrilled to have the Region of Waterloo join the Regional Carbon Initiative as an Observing Organization – the first step in working towards a corporate GHG reduction commitment. On the recommendation of David Roewade, their Environmental Sustainability Planner, Regional Council adopted a report that had the Region join both the Regional Carbon Initiative and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ “Partners for Climate Protection Program” as part of their long term sustainability strategy.  Fast forward to May 2011, and the Region has now approved a corporate GHG reduction commitment of 14% per Waterloo Region resident by 2019, based on a baseline inventory of 148,000 tonnes.

Personally, what makes this all the more exciting is that the size of the Region’s operations required such a substantial action plan, and one of the most thorough I have seen. Dave oversaw an incredibly comprehensive GHG inventory of the Region’s corporate emissions that includes everything from Region-owned landfills, Emergency Medical Services, police, Grand River Transit, admin buildings, and then some. He also developed a line-by-line action plan that breaks out the GHG reduction potential & financial implications (cost savings, capital required & payback period) of each project. On May 11th Regional Council gave the go-ahead to start implementing this action plan, which builds on previous reduction projects, like their 1,200 tonnes of GHG savings from retrofitting the Region’s traffic lights to LEDs.

The Sustainable Waterloo Region team was so impressed with the thoroughness of the Region’s approach that we quickly set aside our final Educational Forum of the 2010/11 event season to give Dave the opportunity to profile the Region’s corporate GHG action plan. We have no doubt that other RCI members and the community at large will benefit and will be inspired by an overview of the Region’s inventory & action plan this Friday May 27th.

The process the Region has undertaken is exactly what we hope all Observing Organizations of the Regional Carbon Initiative embark on (as detailed in our Milestone Guide). In so doing, the Region is well-positioned to not only set-out on an ambitious plan to reduce their GHG emissions, but they also have the steps in place to achieve it. And if you have questions about their process or resulting plan, Dave would be only too happy to share with you the details of the Region’s strategy to further reduce its GHG emissions by 40,000 tonnes over the next 10 years.

Registration for this event has been busier than usual, and will remain open online either until this coming Thursday May 26th at 5pm, or until we fill the room – whichever comes first.

The event is on the fifth floor of the Region of Waterloo’s Community Health and Social Services Building, 99 Regina Street South, in Uptown Waterloo. It runs from 7:30 – 9:30am and is free for Regional Carbon Initiative members. Non-members are also encouraged to attend. Registration for non-member is $40 ($20 for students). For more info, please contact our Events Manager, Helena Kwiecinski.

See you Friday!