The Corporation of Delta, the City of Prince George, the City of Surrey and the T’Sou-ke First Nation, recognized as energy efficient communities through the Community Action on Energy and Emissions (CAEE) Gold award program, will receive a total of $200,000. Each community will receive a funding allocation of $50,000 to reflect the community’s commitment to implement measures to conserve energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and integrate smart-growth principles into their land-use planning.

“These communities are leaders in advancing energy efficiency, energy conservation and emissions reduction measures,” said Blair Lekstrom, Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources. “The innovative, low-cost solutions that these communities develop will be a model for other communities across the province to become more energy efficient and save money though increased conservation.”

The CAEE program supports local governments and First Nations in undertaking community-level energy efficiency, energy conservation and greenhouse gas emission reduction measures through new policy and planning tools. The CAEE Gold program emphasizes a higher level of innovation and implementation in policy and planning initiatives, which advances conservation and energy efficiency. These innovations can be used by other communities who face similar challenges.

“Leadership and innovation are vital to the development of efficient, green technologies,” said Barry Penner, Minister of Environment, and Kevin Krueger, Minister of Community Development. “As our province moves towards a low-carbon, more environmentally responsible economy, it is crucial to encourage growth in the renewable energy sector, and to applaud and support the communities that are already making sizeable strides in the development of green initiatives and projects.”

Highlights of the 2009 CAEE Gold initiatives include the following:

The City of Surrey is developing a District Heating/Sewer Recovery strategy to support a network of high-efficiency district heating systems, including sewer heat recovery and geoexchange heat.

The City of Prince George is expanding its Green Building policy to include an incentive program for energy efficient new homes and an energy labelling program for existing homes to reduce residential greenhouse gas emissions.

The T’Sou-ke First Nation is designing a policy and planning tool to share their experience of installing a 75 KW photovoltaic solar energy system in their community and to help other First Nations to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels.

The Corporation of Delta is creating development permit guidelines and incentives for the Zone C area to demonstrate how existing industrial areas can successfully redevelop into sustainable, eco-industrial areas.

CAEE is a collaboration among the provincial ministries of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Environment, and Community Development, together with BC Hydro, the Fraser Basin Council, Community Energy Association, FortisBC, Terasen Gas and the Union of BC Municipalities.

“This funding acknowledges the terrific work that local governments and First Nations are undertaking,” said Krueger. “Such efforts as expanding green building policy, installing solar energy systems, and exploring sewer heat recovery strategies are just the type of practical solutions we need. Communities across the province can benefit by looking at these innovative approaches in facing their own energy planning challenges.”

Funding for the CAEE Gold program comes from: Ministry of Energy, Mines and petroleum Resources – $40,000, Ministry of Environment – $40,000 and BC Hydro- $120,000

CAEE supports British Columbia’s Energy Efficient Buildings Strategy: More Action, Less Energy. The strategy aims to transform the market to achieve energy efficiency targets for existing and new buildings in British Columbia, thereby significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions. British Columbians will benefit from net energy savings of approximately $3.4 billion by 2020.

Provincial energy efficiency programs help British Columbians lower their energy costs, while creating new, skilled jobs and increasing British Columbia’s economic competitiveness.