City Energy Strategy

Demonstrating ongoing leadership

To support the Climate Action Framework, demonstrate leadership and ensure a healthy, green, livable and prosperous community, the City is advancing a City Energy Strategy that will see us use our own facilities and fleet to showcase carbon neutral operations. The strategy commits the City to meeting the carbon neutral climate target across corporate operations by 2040, 10 years ahead of the community target.

The Burnaby City Energy Strategy Progress Report 2023 below documents the actions we took during the past year and our progress toward achieving our goals.  

Key actions to date

The City has completed its Green Fleet Action Plan which includes exploring different technologies, looking into market trends and assessing the City’s needs. We are making progress in transitioning from fossil fuel-powered vehicles and equipment to low or zero-emission vehicles and equipment. Our progress to date includes:


  • Replaced 37 light duty gas cars with electric vehicles (EVs) 
  • Purchased 2 electric E-Transit vans
  • Purchased one electric garbage truck and 3 compressed natural gas (CNG) trucks as part of a pilot to reduce GHG emissions.

Medium to large equipment:

  • Most electrification of medium to large equipment has taken place at Burnaby’s City-owned golf courses where over 50 pieces of gas-powered equipment have been replaced with electric models—including golf carts, fairway mowers and greens rollers.

Small equipment:

  • Over 100 pieces of gardening and other small equipment have been replaced with electric models, including leaf blowers, hedge trimmers, chainsaws and pole saws.

The City is providing workplace electric vehicle charging at City facilities for staff, to demonstrate leadership on the energy transition. In 2022, with funding support from the Government of Canada, we installed 100 EV chargers in the City Hall west parking lot, making it one of the largest designated electric vehicle parking lots in Canada. The City Hall EV lot is also equipped with a large-scale solar canopy, which provides a portion of the charging power required with emissions-free energy.

The City is also installing level 2 and fast charging stations at other civic facilities including the Rosemary Brown Recreation Centre, Fire Hall #1, and the Laurel Street, Still Creek and Norland works yards. Those installations will be complete in the spring of 2025. Where possible, staff charging facilities will double as fee-based public use charging stations during non-staff hours.

Incorporating a variety of sustainability strategies into the design of new civic facilities, while at the same time reducing natural gas demand at existing facilities through efficiency upgrades and increased electrification, allows the City of Burnaby to add new facilities without increasing carbon emissions.

An example of a high efficiency building is the new Rosemary Brown Recreation Centre in south Burnaby. The following strategies have been incorporated into the design and operation of this new facility:

  1. Minimize building energy intensity and space heating/cooling demand by lowering heating and cooling loads, adopting more efficient mechanical systems, light fixtures and plug loads, and educating building occupants on how to operate the facility efficiently.
  2. Reduce indoor and outdoor potable water use by tracking consumption and identifying opportunities for installing efficient fixtures.
  3. Optimize daylight to reduce the need for electric lighting.
  4. Reduce transportation emissions intensity through public transit availability and access, parking management and incentive schemes, walkability and bicycle accessibility.

Recognizing the need to integrate carbon emission considerations into budget requests, in 2021 Council adopted an Internal Carbon Pricing Policy that guides applicable City decisions and processes with GHG emissions consideration in mind. The amount of GHG emissions emitted from the project or initiative can vary significantly based on the decision made. By evaluating the operational emissions from a project or new initiative, the City can assess the true cost of a project or initiative over the project’s lifetime to make informed, low-carbon decisions.

A carbon emissions evaluation first estimates the volume of emissions released directly from an activity (i.e. tailpipe emissions from gasoline or diesel vehicles) or from the production of electricity and/or heat required for an activity (i.e. emissions from heating a building via a boiler, furnace or heat pump). The identified emissions are then multiplied by the carbon price (set in alignment with Metro Vancouver’s carbon price) to calculate the operational carbon impact for each project option. 

As buildings and transportation account for most of the organization’s GHG emissions, applying the Carbon Pricing Policy allows the City to evaluate replacing its fleet and equipment with electric alternatives or replacing building components with systems that are not dependent on fossil fuels.

Burnaby was the first municipality in Metro Vancouver to convert all streetlights to energy-efficient light-emitting diodes (LEDs). The conversion of 11,600 streetlights reduces energy consumption by approximately 60 percent and saves the City approximately $750,000 a year in energy costs. With those savings, the cost of the project is expected to be recovered in 6 years and will save $900,000 in maintenance costs over 20 years. 

In terms of climate, reducing electrical use results in small carbon emissions savings due to BC's low-carbon hydroelectricity. However, the LED conversion demonstrates leadership and fiscal responsibility and makes clean electricity available for other uses.

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