Introduction

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Communities play a central role in the quality of life that Canadians enjoy. They also account for close to 60 percent of the nation’s energy consumption. In recent years, communities have begun to identify significant opportunities for improving their energy performance through cross-cutting sector integration while enhancing quality of life and realizing financial benefits. This Roadmap for Action presents the role Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial governments can play in working with communities and stakeholders to advance Integrated Community Energy Solutions.

Integrated Community Energy Solutions (ICES) have the potential to significantly improve community energy performance while contributing to the achievement of federal, provincial and territorial governments’ energy efficiency and climate change objectives. These solutions capitalize on the cross-cutting opportunities and synergies available at the community level by integrating physical components from multiple sectors, including energy supply and distribution; transportation; housing and buildings; industry; water, waste management and other local community services; and land use and community form. Delivering the full potential of ICES also requires the creation of a supportive environment that governments can foster in two capacities: as investors in programs that stimulate actions and as policymakers and regulators who help shape the marketplace and reduce barriers to action.

Cross-cutting opportunities were introduced in Moving Forward on Energy Efficiency in Canada: A Foundation for Action, released by the Council of Energy Ministers in September 2007. In Moving Forward, Ministers recognized the vital role that governments can play in advancing energy efficiency in key sectors, including the built environment, transportation and industry. This sector-specific work is ongoing and needs to continue.

This document builds on Moving Forward to capture the additional potential of fully-integrated community solutions. The Roadmap represents the collaborative efforts of the provincial, territorial and federal governments, with important input from a wide cross-section of representatives from outside government, including non-governmental organizations and industry. The Roadmap also recognizes the essential role of municipalities, developers, energy utilities and providers, non-governmental organizations, industry, citizens and other stakeholders in bringing ICES to fruition.

ICES can be scaled to meet the needs of all types of communities, ranging from rural and small remote towns to medium-sized municipalities and large cities. ICES apply to new developments, existing neighbourhoods and even whole regions. In every case, the potential results are the same: improved energy performance, a sharply reduced carbon footprint, job creation, improved air quality, improved quality of life and many other benefits. As shown in this report, a growing number of early ICES successes from across the country offers examples upon which to build.

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