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Quick Facts

Burnaby's Community Energy and Emissions Plan (CEEP) is a plan to reduce the community's overall energy use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions so we can address climate change, improve local air quality, save money, and improve health and community livability.

The Burnaby CEEP was created and adopted by Council to support the Environmental Sustainability Strategy (ESS). The ESS is a green plan for Burnaby's future. Although the CEEP was developed through a parallel process to the ESS, its recommendations were integrated into the ESS to address climate change and to complement other goals for community health and livability.

Why Reduce Energy Use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions?

Climate change is one of the most pressing challenges currently faced by society. Burning fossil fuels, including for heating our homes and businesses and powering our cars and trucks, is one of the main sources of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, a key driver of climate change. Burnaby's CEEP will help to reduce our community's GHG emissions and meet other goals like improving local air quality, saving money, and improving heath and community livability.

Why is the CEEP important?

  • Climate change is one of the most pressing global issues of our time.
  • We are already experiencing the effects of climate change, from more wildfires to intense storms to summer droughts.
  • We can do many things locally to help.

Additional Benefits

  • Reducing air pollution can improve air quality and also help to make us healthier.
  • Improving transportation choices can help everyone get around Burnaby safely.
  • Reducing energy use helps Burnaby businesses and residents save money.

Burnaby's Energy and Emissions Today

In 2010, City of Burnaby residents and businesses used over 21 million gigajoules (GJ) of energy (electricity, natural gas, gasoline and diesel) and produced almost one million tonnes of greenhouse gases.

For the same year, Burnaby residents and businesses spent over $300 million on energy. Saving energy will help us all save money and reduce emissions.

2010 Emissions and Energy Use in Burnaby

Per person emissions - Burnaby compares well

Burnaby had one of the lowest 2010 emission rates per person in the province (4.3 tonnes per person), well below the BC average (5.0 tonnes per person).

Low carbon hydro electricity, compact land use and a high rate of transit use (23% of daily trips compared to a regional average of 14%) have contributed to Burnaby's relatively low per person GHG emissions.

GHG Emissions Per Person

What are the biggest sources of GHGs?

The largest sectors are transportation (50%), buildings (45%), and solid waste (5%). Passenger vehicles are the largest single source at 37% of the City’s emissions. Single-family and attached homes are second at 17% of the City’s total emissions, and make up just over 50% of Burnaby’s residential units. Low-rise and high-rise apartments account for only 6% of total emissions, and make up just under 50% of residential units.

Breakdown of GHG Emissions Per Person

The challenge ahead: reducing emissions while the population grows

Burnaby has made great progress in wise energy use and emissions management, particularly with the planning and building of compact land uses around SkyTrain stations. However, the City also faces several challenges in reducing total community emissions over time, which require careful consideration:

  • Significant population growth (120,000 more people by 2041) - see graph below (red line at the top).
  • Limited control of several key ways to reduce energy and emissions, such as improving transit service and vehicle efficiency standards.
  • Limited local government resources, both human and financial.
The Challenge Ahead

Burnaby's challenge is to reduce community emissions, even as our population grows (over 50% by 2041 as shown by the red line at the top). Even with each person forecast to produce fewer emissions in the future (a reduction of more than 20% by 2041 as shown by the blue line at the bottom), the City's total emissions are estimated to increase by over 20% by 2041 (as shown by the green line in the middle).

Meeting the Challenge - How to Reduce Emissions

Reducing energy use and emissions is a shared responsibility and requires effort from the federal and provincial governments, regional organizations like TransLink, the business community, the City of Burnaby and citizens. The CEEP is a plan for the community (City, residents, businesses) to all take action.

Recommended Targets

As shown above, Burnaby's approach of setting two targets is unique. A City Only target and a further City Plus Others target makes it clear how the City can take action and how others can take action.

The City Only target calls for a 5% reduction in GHGs by 2041 (compared to 2010), which amounts to reducing total community emissions by over 20% in 2041. The City has control over these actions.

The City Plus Others target calls for further reduction in GHGs by 2041, which amounts to reducing total community emissions by over 40% in 2041. Reaching this target would depend on actions by other levels of government as well as the City.

Estimated Targets Per Capita

As shown above, emissions can also be calculated per-person (per year). Today, average per-person emissions in BC's communities are approximately 5 tonnes and in Burnaby they are 4.3 tonnes. Per-person emissions could be reduced to 2.6 tonnes with City Only actions, or further to 2.0 tonnes with City Plus Others actions. The BC target is 1.0 tonne per person by 2050.

How was the recommended target set?

The CEEP process evaluated energy, emissions and costs using the Climate Action Navigator (CAN) tool. Proposed strategies were considered by staff, community stakeholders and industry experts in workshops. City objectives were determined by assessing jurisdiction: who can do what. The City also considered Burnaby's ability to implement and deliver, resulting in an achievable target with feasible objectives and actions.

Actions by the City

The City's proposed reduction target is based on a strategic approach. There are five areas of action, each with its own section, within the CEEP – Live, Move, Build, Conserve and Manage. Each section starts with the related goal from the ESS to ensure the two policies are closely aligned. The supporting CEEP strategies and suggested CEEP actions within each section of the CEEP focus more on energy and emissions than those within the ESS.

Live (listed first) and Manage (listed last) provide the framework or structure that lets us achieve results in the other three areas of action - Move, Build and Conserve.

Move, Build and Conserve provide most of the detailed strategies and suggested actions as well as provide most of the estimated emission reductions.

Percent of total Emission Reductions

It is estimated that the total net cost to the community (all of us in total - residents, businesses, the City and others) of the proposed City Only target would be a savings of $1 for every tonne of GHGs we reduce. Cost savings in some areas like more energy efficient buildings and reduced travel would offset increased costs in other areas like district energy, vehicle electrification, and waste.

Actions by Others

Others would include action by the federal and provincial governments, TransLink, BC Hydro, Fortis, and financial institutions. The are actions suggested for others for each of the five areas of action - Live, Move, Build, Conserve and Manage, shown below.


The City has already made great progress in planning and building an urban structure that supports lower GHG emissions, using higher density Town Centres and Urban Villages linked by SkyTrain and frequent transit service. This strong ‘backbone’ allows for deeper emissions reductions in the Build and Move sections of the CEEP. For example, by providing a mix of residences, offices and amenities near SkyTrain stations, people can get around within walkable neighbourhoods without driving a car, which reduces their transportation emissions.

There are also many new things the City can do to improve overall sustainability and livability, and these are identified in the ESS. For these reasons, the Live section of the CEEP has less detail, but still contains a number of Live strategies and suggested actions.


50% of Burnaby’s 2010 emissions come from transportation, and for this reason the Move section of the CEEP includes a larger number of strategies and suggested actions. The approach taken for Move is based on a hierarchy, shown below.

Transportation Hierarchy

First need to reduce the distances travelled by designing communities to be compact, efficient and complete, for example, neighbourhoods where people can live, work and go to school nearby.

Second, we need to reduce reliance on automobiles by providing efficient transit, and safe walking and cycling routes.

Third, recognizing that vehicles for personal and commercial use will still be a part of our community for some time, we need to improve vehicle efficiency and reduce their emissions as much as possible.

Finally, we need to switch fuels to low-carbon fuels and zero emission vehicles like electric vehicles.

Improving how we Move could result in over a third of our proposed emission reductions or 33% of the City Only target.

The CEEP contains a number of Move strategies and suggested actions.


45% of Burnaby’s 2010 emissions come from buildings, representing another large opportunity for specific strategies and actions to reduce emissions in this sector. The Build section is also based on a hierarchy, shown below.

The first priority is to ensure that buildings are designed to use land efficiently, again emphasizing compact communities instead of letting development ‘sprawl’.

Second, we need to reduce demand for energy by doing things like using ‘passive’ design to improve building envelopes and insulation. This ensures that a building can remain energy efficient over its lifetime, rather than relying on mechanical systems that can fail.

Third, once demand has been reduced, we need to use efficient systems to heat and cool our buildings so they can be designed to be smaller and more efficient. In some cases, opportunities to reuse waste heat should also be encouraged, such as from a nearby industrial or commercial source or through a purpose-built district energy system.

Finally, we can then make best use of renewable energy like solar power. This hierarchy helps to ensure the most efficient, economical and long-lasting gains in energy efficiency and emission reductions.

Build is Burnaby’s biggest opportunity for reducing greenhouse gas emissions at 51% of the City Only target and using District Energy to heat buildings in a few key locations could result in an additional 3% of the City Only target.

The CEEP contains a number of Build strategies and suggested actions.


Solid waste (garbage) accounts for 5% of Burnaby’s 2010 emissions. The City and region are already leaders in this area, therefore the approach for this section of the CEEP is to continue to look for opportunities to improve and expand existing programs.

Although improving how we Conserve is something we need to tackle together as a region, there are steps Burnaby can take to reduce our emissions from solid waste to achieve 13% of the City Only target.

The CEEP contains a number of Conserve strategies and suggested actions.


The ESS already contains a number of strategies and actions for Manage, so this section of the CEEP has fewer details. However, this section is still critical, as it ‘frames’ the other CEEP goals by identifying opportunities to demonstrate leadership and work with others to effectively implement the CEEP. This can help to build support from the community and from other levels of government to take further action.

The CEEP contains a number of Manage strategies and suggested actions.

Questions or Comments

Thank you for your interest in the draft CEEP! If you have any questions or comments about the Draft CEEP, please contacts us at or 604-294-7400.