Regina, Saskatchewan, will become a net zero city by 2050 by utilizing renewable energy, net zero new construction and increased adaptation of low emissions vehicles among other efforts in line with its newly released energy and sustainability framework. The city says its goals may result in “a significant return on investment.”
The Canadian city plans to reduce emissions by 52% and cut energy use by 24% by 2030 through the framework. The city says the sustainability project will generate an estimated $9.8 billion in financial returns by 2050.
The target was set by the City Council in 2018 and the framework will be considered at a special meeting of Executive Committee on March 24.
The framework recommends seven large-scale goals and 31 related actions to reduce emissions, improve energy consumption and switch to renewable energy or low carbon energy sources.
The goals include building retrofits, clean heating, net zero new construction, renewable energy generation, low emissions vehicles, increased active transit use and promotion of clean industry. The city says the efforts are all based on proven technology and current legislation, as well as other actions that could impact consumer markets.
“The Framework provides an action plan to cut back on our energy use and continue switching to more energy efficient products and technologies,” says Greg Kuntz, Regina manager of energy and sustainability solutions. “While these actions are consistent with the moves other cities are making to reduce their carbon footprint and mitigate climate change, Regina has set an ambitious timeline which could result in a significant return on investment.”
Like other cities with ambitious net zero goals, making buildings energy efficient is at the forefront of Regina’s efforts. According to Architecture 2030, buildings account for nearly 40% of the world’s carbon emissions from operations, construction and materials.
New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Denver are all recent examples of cities that have taken on building efficiency to take on net zero goals. The World Economic Forum also produced a framework for net zero buildings including investing in smart technologies and renewable distributed energy.
Clean transportation goals are also common in cities, such as efforts like Montreal’s to add fuel efficient locomotives. Increasing renewable energy is a key as well and currently about 19% of Canada’s energy is produced from renewable sources.
Regina’s goals are similar to that of Canada’s Net Zero Accountability Act, which also aims for the country to reach net zero by 2050 and cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030 and be transparent in the actions to reach these achievements. According to CTV News, the city will seek funding from other levels of government to hit the 2050 goal.
Regina, which has a population of more than 215,000, began working on the net zero target in the fall of 2020 with the help of consulting firm Sustainability Solutions Group. The plan was developed through extensive community and stakeholder engagement to make sure it had input from businesses, community groups and residents.