We live in an era of climate responsibility. Climate change is a certainty, as is human responsibility for it.
Reducing Whistler's greenhouse gas emissions is one of the most significant moral actions we can take as a community to maintain a leadership role in solving the global climate crisis.
Community Energy and Climate Action Plan
Whistler welcomes over 2.7 million visitors annually and places significant reliance on snow and weather for the outdoor tourism and recreation-based economy.
Together with community stakeholders, the RMOW developed Whistler’s Community Energy and Climate Action Plan. The plan is designed to help Whistler become more energy efficient over the next 50 years through a phased, practical approach to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The plan also guides how Whistler will adapt to the impacts of climate change that are already heading our way. Implementing this plan will require cooperation from all agencies and residents in the community.
Why do we need to take action now?
Whistler's continued success relies on the collective commitment of residents, businesses, and decision-makers to take bold action to reduce energy use. BC’s and Whistler’s climate is already changing and more significant change is anticipated in the future. Research projects the following three key climate changes for Whistler over the next 25 to 55 years:
- Increase in frequency and intensity of heavy rain events
- Longer, hotter and drier summers
- Milder winters, with increased precipitation falling as rain near valley bottom, while snowpack at higher elevation sees limited change
Overall, the annual average temperature in the Whistler region is projected to warm by about 3°C by 2050, compared to the recent past. The potential impacts of a changing climate are:
- threat of wildfire
- changes in snow conditions and
- seasonal weather instability.
Official Community Plan
Whistler’s Official Community Plan (OCP) commits us to community-level greenhouse gas reductions of 33 per cent by 2020, 80 per cent by 2050 and 90 per cent by 2060, as compared to 2007 levels.
The plan includes policies across the following four goals:
- Substantially reduce GHG emissions from stationary sources;
- Substantially reduce GHG emissions from mobile sources;
- Substantially reduce GHG emissions associated with solid waste management; and
- Ensure municipal decision making is structured to achieve energy goal and GHG reduction targets.
In addition to the GHG reduction targets, the OCP also includes a commitment to lead a community-wide effort to reduce total energy consumption to a level 10 per cent below 2007 levels by the year 2020.
Through Whistler2020, Whistler’s vision and integrated community sustainability plan, Whistler has committed to the following sustainability objectives:
- Reduce and eventually eliminate the RMOW’s contributions to systematic increases in concentrations of substances from the Earth’s crust (E.g. by increasing energy efficiency).
- Reduce and eventually eliminate the RMOW’s contributions to systematic increases in concentrations of substances produced by society (E.g. through 100 per cent recycling).
- Reduce and eventually eliminate the RMOW’s contribution to systematic physical degradations of nature (E.g. by purchasing certified wood).
- Reduce and eventually eliminate our contribution to systematically undermining the ability of others to meet their basic human needs (E.g. by purchasing FairTrade).
Carbon Neutral Operations Plan
The Resort Municipality of Whistler’s Carbon Neutral Operations Plan commits the RMOW to GHG educations through a three-step process:
- Measuring and reporting annual corporate GHG emissions;
- Aggressively reducing carbon emissions across the organization according to the following target schedule: 10 per cent by 2010, 20 per cent by 2013, and 30 per cent by 2015; and,
- Responsibly offsetting all remaining emissions such that total emissions net to zero.
Learn more about Corporate Energy and GHG Performance.
Green Building Policy
RMOW adopted a Green Building Policy in 2008 to encourage the efficient use of energy and resources in building. In 2005, Whistler also developed the Whistler Green Building Rating System and associated builder checklists.
Learn more about building and development in Whistler.
- Cheakamus Crossing District Energy System
- Lost Lake PassivHaus: First certified passivhaus in Canada
- Seven publicly available electric vehicle charge stations in Whistler
- Heat recovery from the Whistler Compost Facility
- Meadow Park Sports Centre: Solar hot water for domestic hot water and geoexchange retrofit for pool heating
- Fleet Vehicle right-sizing across each department
- Whistler Public Library: LEED Gold certified
- Spruce Grove Field House: First geoexchange building in the RMOW’s corporate building inventory
- Spring Creek Fire Hall: First LEED certified building in the RMOW’s corporate building inventory
- Corporate building energy efficiency upgrade studies were undertaken in 2010 for Municipal Hall, Public Safety Building and Public Works Yard
- The RMOW was one of the first signatories of the BC Climate Action Charter and is a designated SolarBC community.
- The RMOW was the first community in Canada to complete an Integrated Energy, Air Quality and GHG Management Plan in 2003.