The Town of Aurora is committed to a greenhouse gas emissions reduction target of 80% from 2018 levels by 2050.  To get there our municipality has taken important steps over the years to improve our practices and achieve our goal.  The Town of Aurora has several programs that both reduce the Town’s greenhouse gas emissions and also adapt to a changing climate.

Learn what we're doing to reduce our impact on climate change and how you can help by exploring the topics below. 

Electric Vehicle Showcase (& test drive!)
Join us for our first ever Electric Vehicle Showcase!

 

On Sunday May 1, 2022, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Stronach Aurora Recreation Complex, join us to see a variety of electric vehicles, test drive some of the latest models and talk to owners about their experience driving electric. Learn more at the Electric Vehicle webpage

Go Green Challenge

Join us for our Spring 2022 Challenge. More detail to come.

 

The Community Go Green Challenge encourages individuals, families, schools, organizations, and businesses to challenge themselves to reduce their environmental footprint. There will be great prizes for the top three participants and tons of fun and inspiration to make sustainable life changes.  

Blue Dot Initiative
The Town joined the Blue Dot movement in 2016. The Blue Dot movement is a campaign based on the idea that everyone in Canada deserves the right to a healthy environment, including clean air and water, and a say in decisions that affect our health and well-being.
Climate Emergency

In October 2019, the Town Council joined 457 Canadian municipalities and declared a Climate Emergency. Those cities, have established a goal of reducing GHG emissions by 80 percent by 2050, as per the Paris Accord.

The declaration solidifies the Town’s commitments to implementing all the environmental plans completed or under development, such as the Corporate Energy Conservation and Demand Management Plan, the Corporate Environmental Action Plan, the Community Energy Plan, the Natural Heritage System Study and the Climate Change Adaptation Plan.

Community Energy Plan
The community-wide energy plan is a GHG emission inventory. It forecasts and sets GHG emission reduction targets, and developed strategies on reducing those emissions. The analysis looked at residential, commercial and industrial energy use in the Town, and estimates different energy consumption scenarios in the future.

The Town engaged a stakeholder working group to support the development of the plan, which includes experts in the field, an Aurora Town Councillor and an Aurora resident. 

For more information the Community Energy Plan.

Corporate Environmental Action Plan (CEAP)
The Town of Aurora has a Corporate Environmental Action Plan (CEAP), a five-year plan that will allow the Town meet its environmental goals. The plan serves to protect and enhance the natural environment, promote environmental sustainability, integrity and conservation of resources and create a practice of environmental stewardship within the community. 

 Fiver-Year Action Plans and Annual Progress Reports

 

Aurora’s Energy Conservation and Demand Management Plan (ECDMP)
The Town completed a 5-year plan in the summer 2019 that focuses on energy conservation at Town’s owned facilities and fleet vehicles and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 16% by 2023. The Town has a reduction target of 80% of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This includes the Town Hall, community centres, library and other facilities that the Town owns and operates. Fleet vehicles include over 250 vehicles, heavy and light equipment for all operational divisions. In addition, the Town has been annually monitoring its energy consumption and GHG emissions since 2011. Plan progress can be found under the CEAP annual progress reports under “Energy and Climate Change.” 

 Annual Energy Consumption and GHG Emissions Report (two year lag as per O. Reg. 507/18)

Green Fleet Action Plan
The Town Fleet Division is electrifying the corporate fleet to produce zero emissions by 2051. The goal produces challenges that will need to be addressed through proper planning and innovation. Aurora’s GFAP focuses on shifting towards “green” operations, including strategies to purchase vehicles that have lower emissions, green maintenance products and options to reduce fuel consumption. This plan is intended to be a living document that will be reviewed every five (5) years with updates to access progress, technological advancements, and future opportunities. For more ways the Town is greening its fleet, see GFAP.
Electric vehicle charging stations

Electric Vehicle Charging Station

Town of Aurora is building a robust network of electric vehicle charging stations. Providing charging infrastructure in public spaces incentivizes the shift toward zero-emissions vehicles in Aurora and the greater GTA.

Currently Aurora residents, businesses and visitors can access 18, level 2 chargers at six Town-owned facilities. The new charging stations are part of the larger Ivy Charging Network, which is building Ontario’s largest and most connected network of electric vehicle chargers.

 

Locations:

  • Joint Operations Centre, 229 Industrial Parkway North
  • Stronach Aurora Recreation Complex, 1400 Wellington Street East
  • Aurora Town Hall, 100 John West Way
  • Aurora Family Leisure Complex, 135 Industrial Parkway North
  • Aurora Community Centre, 1 Community Centre Lane
  • Aurora Armoury, 89 Mosley Street

 

An additional four chargers are also set to be installed at Aurora Town Square. The date of installation has yet to be confirmed.

Cost:                      $2.50 per hour

For more information and on how to access these chargers, visit: aurora.ca/evcharging

 

LEED® Design at Town Facilities
All new facilities owned by the Town are being built to the LEED® standard (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). It is an internationally recognized green building certification system. It ensures that a building or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at improving environmental performance: energy savings, water efficiency, GHG emission reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, etc.

The Joint Operations Centre (JOC) received a LEED® Gold Standard.

Partners for Climate Protection
The Town is a member of the PCP program and is looking to fulfil the programs five-milestone framework. The Milestones include: completing a greenhouse gas (GHG) emission inventory and forecast, setting a GHG reduction target, developing a local action plan, implementing the plan, and monitoring progress and reporting results. 

The Town achieved PCP Milestones 1 to 3 through the development of Aurora’s Community Energy Plan (CEP), endorsed by Council in January 2021. Developed in collaboration with a Stakeholder Working Group and feedback from the public, Aurora’s plan is progressive and wide reaching. The CEP outlines a series of strategies that achieve a 22 per cent reduction of community-level greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 from 2018 levels and a 65 per cent reduction by 2050. These levels put Aurora on the path towards an 80 per cent emissions reduction by 2050. For more information visit, the Town's Community Energy Plan.

Members of the Clean Air Council (CAC)

The Town of Aurora is a member of the Clean Air Council (CAC), is a network of municipalities and health units that work collaboratively to combat air pollution and climate change. Since 2001, CAC members have worked to make our communities more livable, competitive, and resilient through actions that reduce energy use, minimize greenhouse gas (GHG) and air pollution emissions, and make the movement of people and goods more efficient..

Air pollution in Ontario is linked to premature deaths, hospitalizations, increases in chronic heart and lung diseases including lung cancer, and acute respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. In Ontario, air pollution results in over 5000 annual premature deaths, costing the province over $500 million yearly in direct health care costs.

Climate change adversely affects Ontario municipalities through rising temperatures and increased severe weather events which result in impacts to public health, infrastructure, industry, food production, and natural resources. Immediate action is required to mitigate GHG emissions and minimize these impacts.

Ontario municipalities are working to address climate change and air pollution while also strengthening their economies. The policies needed to fight air pollution and climate change can also produce health benefits and economic growth, reduce costs, and improve social equity in our communities. The CAC presents an opportunity to take a cohesive approach, pooling research findings, expertise, and lessons learned, while enabling actions that benefit our communities and beyond.

Ontario's Energy and Water Reporting and Benchmarking (EWRB) for Aurora Businesses
The Ontario’s Energy and Water Reporting and Benchmarking (EWRB) program requires owners of large commercial, industrial, multi-unit residential and other prescribed types to report their building's energy and water consumption data to the Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines.

It allows building owners to benchmark their building's energy and water consumption usage against industry trends, identify energy and water efficiency opportunities, and save money by tracking usage.Benefits of benchmarking your building’s energy and water include the ability to:

  • Reduce operating costs over the long term

  • Establish a baseline for measuring improvement in consumption

  • Set a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

  • Improve energy and water conservation awareness among building owners, tenants and visitors

  • Participate in green building certificate programs and other sustainability initiatives

Find more information on who needs to report and how to report it.

Important EWRB Updates 

For the 2020 reporting year, the Government of Ontario will accept the submission of data to the EWRB initiative until October 1, 2020. 

Please note that the ministry has amended O. Reg. 506/18 to delay the roll-out of the Energy and Water Reporting and Benchmarking initiative to buildings between 50,000 and 100,000 square feet until 2023, allowing three additional years for small building owners to prepare for reporting their energy and water usage data.

Help with Reporting 

ENDM website has a reporting checklist and guide available for more information.

For more information on how to report your buildings energy and water consumption, visit Guide to Energy and Water Reporting.

You can update your building’s reporting lead contact information on the website.

Contact

You can learn more about the regulation by visiting Province of Ontario's Energy and Water Reporting Benchmarking. If you require further assistance support is provided by:

Mayor's Energy Challenge
Mayors Energy Challenge logo with green and black with words that say Mayors Energy Challenge

 

Ontario’s Energy and Water Reporting and Benchmarking (EWRB) program is designed to help building owners and managers make decisions on how to improve their building’s efficiency. You can take part in the EWRB program if you own or manage commercial, industrial or multi-unit residential buildings over 50,000 square feet. Benefits of benchmarking your building’s energy and water include the ability to:

  • Establish a baseline for measuring improvement in consumption.
  • Set a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Reduce operating costs over the long term.
  • Improve energy and water conservation awareness among building owners, tenants and visitors.
  • Participate in green building certificate programs and other sustainability initiatives.

Ontario’s Ministry of Energy Northern Development and Mines will distribute program instructions via mail in early 2020.


Important EWRB Updates

For the 2020 reporting year, the Government of Ontario will accept the submission of data to the EWRB initiative until October 1, 2020.

Please note that the ministry has amended O. Reg. 506/18 to delay the roll-out of the Energy and Water Reporting and Benchmarking initiative to buildings between 50,000 and 100,000 square feet until 2023, allowing three additional years for small building owners to prepare for reporting their energy and water usage data.

Help with Reporting

ENDM website has a reporting checklist and guide.

For more information on how to report your buildings energy and water consumption,  visit Guide to Energy and Water ReportingClick here to update your building’s reporting lead contact information.

Contact

You can learn more about the regulation by visiting Province of Ontario's Energy and Water Reporting Benchmarking. if you require further assistance support is provided by:


 Reference

Municipal Building Challenge

 

ClimateWise

 

Aurora has joined the ClimateWise Building Challenge to take action on climate change. This friendly competitive amongst other York Region municipalities and local businesses supports the implementation of the Town’s corporate energy plan and its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050 from 2018 levels. 60 municipal buildings and 15 commercial buildings have joined this friendly award and recognition competition.

Under the challenge, Aurora staff meet regularly with other local municipal staff, share building operations best practices, learn from each other and receive training on new tools available to help reduce energy consumption from municipal operations. 

The ClimateWise Building Challenge is a York Region wide, friendly awards and recognition competition created to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve building energy efficiency through collaboration, education, and innovation.

This free initiative is open to building owners, property managers, and tenants who want to take climate action. Recognition and achievements will be presented throughout the competition at a regional level. As a Regional Ally of BOMA Toronto, participants of the ClimateWise Challenge   can also be recognized provincially at the BOMA Toronto Commercial Real Estate Trailblazers (CREST) awards.

The ClimateWise Challenge is modelled after the successful Energy Star Battle of the Building competition, a U.S Environmental Protection Agency program. Learn more about the ClimateWise Challenge by visiting the F.A.Q. page https://windfallcentre.ca/climatewise-challenge/faqs/   

Solar PV systems at Town Facilities
Solar Photovoltaic (PV) systems have been installed at a total of four Town facilities as a means of renewable generation and reducing the Town’s carbon footprint. Agreements are in place using the Microfit, Net Metering and lease agreement models.

Solar PV generation summary:

  • Aurora Town Hall: 10 kW

  • Aurora Public Library: 10 kW

  • Joint Operations Centre (JOC): 36 kW

  • Stronach Aurora Recreation Complex (SARC): 500 kW

Annual electricity generation from all sites from 2014 to 2019:
 LibraryTown HallJOCSARC
 Year

Electricity Generated (kWh) 

2014 736 3529  0 0
2015  6649  12142  0 0
2016  8766  11601  0  144794
2017  7454  10833 31721   592695
2018  4869  10115 44372  615159
2019  297   10809  42408  599190

 

Green Initiatives Reserve Fund
The Green Initiatives Reserve Fund was established to receive and hold donations or budgetary contributions for purposes of funding or lending funding for projects or initiatives which further the objectives or support the strategic directions of the Town’s Corporate Environmental Action Plan as amended from time to time.

Council may direct that portions of revenues or saving arising from certain projects are to be contributed to the Reserve Fund. Balances in the Fund are planned for specific projects recommended to or by Council during the annual budget process, or other times throughout the year, having consulted with the Environmental Advisory Committee.

The Green Initiatives Reserve Fund was established in September of 2012.

Green Procurement Policy

The Green Procurement Policy sets high-level framework for the Town to use for procurements related to green initiatives. This includes considering climate change impacts for the goods and services being procured for eligible procurements. The Town plans to start by focusing on procurements for capital projects and operating initiatives which include specific climate change considerations based on their budget approval. The strive to expand to more procurements in the future as more green initiatives are approved through capital projects and operating budgets.

Idle Free Aurora

In support of Aurora’s commitment to the health and safety of its residents and businesses, Aurora Town Council approved an Anti-Idling Policy and education campaign in Fall 2020.

All motorists in Aurora must turn their cars off after five consecutive minutes but are encouraged to turn off after 30 seconds. The policy makes exceptions for extreme weather conditions, as well as mobile workshops where the vehicle motor powers work-related equipment.

Greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles account for 37% of Aurora’s community emissions. For every 10 minutes of idling you cut from your life, you’ll save one pound of carbon dioxide — a harmful greenhouse gas and major contributor to climate change — from being released into the atmosphere.

You will also help us reach our goal of reducing Aurora’s emissions by 80% by 2050.

Fact: Idling is polluting. It’s not good for the environment, it’s not good for our health and it’s not good for our wallets. Need more reasons to ditch this bad habit? Visit: aurora.ca/idlefreeaurora.

The Economic Value of Natural Capital Assets

In 2013, the Town made an important assessment that estimated an initial baseline of the benefits provided to residents of Aurora from the existing stock of natural capital in the Town through the The Economic Value of Natural Capital Assets.

From this baseline analysis, economic costs associated with changes to the features related to natural capital can be factored into future land use decisions and other Town initiatives. The value of Aurora’s natural assets is estimated at approximately $7.4 million annually. This amount does not include the value of street trees and other urban trees.

This is a significant value attributed to the protection of environmental features, reduction in greenhouse gases and other ecological benefits. The entire budget for Aurora in 2012 including water rates, was approximately $62 million. Without the values of Aurora’s natural capital assets it is possible that the overall budget of the Town could potentially be increased by $7.4 million, which is a 12.4 per cent increase per year, to replicate or replace the ecosystem services and other benefits that Aurora’s Natural Capital Assets provide. Typically natural assets provide economic benefits that do not require an outlay of tax dollars to maintain.

Protection and investing in Natural Capital Assets along with the implementation of Low Impact Development (LID) standards can yield significant overall economic benefits to The Town of Aurora. These include the environmental benefits listed within this report, as well as the significant physical and mental health benefits associated with reduction of greenhouse gases, promotion of active transportation/recreational pursuits and appreciation of nature.