Create a greenhouse gas emissions inventory

What Is an Inventory?

An inventory brings together data on energy use, transportation and solid waste generation in a municipality over a one-year period.

What Emissions Are Tracked?

The inventory tracks three principal greenhouse gases from combustible fossil fuels and decomposing organic waste in landfills:
Carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide (N2O), methane (CH4) expressed as a CO2 equivalent (eCO2)

Inventory Components

A corporate inventory includes municipal government facilities and operations, the municipal fleet and corporate solid waste. A community inventory includes residential, commercial, industrial, transportation and solid waste sectors.

A community inventory includes residential, commercial, industrial, transportation and solid waste sectors.

Eco­West Can Help You Create an Inventory

Action Required

  • Provide Eco-West with a copy of the resolution passed by the municipal council, including the date of endorsement.
  • Provide Eco-West with data on municipal accounts so that it can obtain data on streetlights and traffic light energy consumption.*
  • Provide Eco-West with data on water/wastewater facilities and equipment.*
  • Provide a complete list of all vehicles and heavy equipment used by the municipality, including fuel consumption and mileage for each vehicle/piece of equipment.
  • Provide the weight of all waste and recycling sent to the landfills or transfer stations.

*These data are typically provided by your gas and electricity providers. A letter must be sent to them requesting that they give Eco-West access to the municipality’s accounts. Eco-West will provide a sample letter.

Set an Emissions Reduction Target

Once the inventory is completed, your community is ready to move on to the next step – Milestone 2: setting an emissions reduction target for your region.

How do we set our emissions reduction targets?

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) recommends the following targets:

  • A 20 per cent reduction of GHG emissions below baseline year levels for municipal operations and this, within 10 years.
  • A 6 per cent reduction of GHG emissions below baseline year levels years for the community and this, within 10 years.

Action required:

  • Choose reduction targets for municipal and community operations.
  • Have the municipal council adopt the targets and the timeline for achieving them. Submit this information to FCM for recognition purposes.

Develop a GHG emissions reduction action plan

The Climate Change Local Action Plan (CCLAP) is a strategic document that explains how your municipality will meet its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction target.

Key CCLAP components

  • Public and stakeholder feedback.
  • Baseline GHG emissions inventory (Milestone 1) and the emissions reduction targets (Milestone 2).
  • Existing and proposed new GHG emissions reduction measures.
  • Your projects’ implementation strategies, cost considerations, stakeholder responsibilities, timelines and sources of funding.

Action required:

  • Manage the municipal administration consultation process and take part in developing consultations with the public and key stakeholders in your community.
  • Set up a steering committee to identify green projects for reducing GHG emissions within municipal operations.
  • Set up a second steering committee to identify green projects for reducing community GHG emissions (residential, commercial and industrial sectors).
  • Organize a town hall meeting to present the measures proposed by the two steering committees.
  • Submit a copy of the CCLAP endorsed by your municipal council to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM).

Implement a climate change local action plan

Action required :

  • Assign one staff person to act as your main liaison with FCM.
  • Communicate PCP and CCLAP objectives internally and externally, particularly to the municipal council.
  • Obtain adequate resources (establish the budget and identify the funding/staff and outside assistance required).
    For budgeting purposes, the following questions should be answered:

    • Which measures can be incorporated into existing projects or expenditures?
    • Which measures will require new expenditures?
    • What is the payback period? Paybacks of five to seven years generate deeper reductions.
    • What are the potential savings over the lifetime of the improvement?
    • Is funding available in the existing municipal budget?
    • What alternative funding resources exist?
    • What are the projects’ life cycle costs?
  • Prepare an implementation schedule that meets the emissions reduction goal and integrate the schedule with existing processes and responsibilities.
  • Consider establishing a community task force to ensure stakeholder engagement.
  • Recruit volunteers to assist with implementation and promotion of the plan to the public.

Monitor progress and report results

Action required :

Quantify the reduction in energy consumed or waste generated. And calculate the quantity of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that was avoided.

Update the inventory every three to five years to enable you to account for outside factors contributing to your emissions profile, such as growth, economic development, legislation and behaviour change.

Report to stakeholders and to FCM to provide them with the results of their initiatives. The quantifiable can be included in existing reports produced by your municipal government.

Just the beginning…

Reaching Milestone 5 is a significant achievement, but it doesn’t signal the end of your community’s emissions reduction efforts. A local action plan is a living document that is revised as information, ideas and circumstances evolve.