Tuesday, November 14, 2006

"Greening Government" continues

Further to my last post, and to Scott's complaints that the government is not doing anything substantive on the file, here is an article from today's Times & Transcript (emphasis added by me):

N.B. gov't goes green
Liberals push aggressive plan to make gov't buildings more environmentally friendly

As published on page a1 on November 14, 2006

FREDERICTON - The new Liberal government is pushing forward with an aggressive greening of government initiative aimed at curtailing harmful greenhouse gas emissions created by the province's buildings.

Almost 20 government-owned buildings in Moncton, Saint John and Fredericton have been converted to natural gas, a decision Supply and Services Minister Roly MacIntyre said is targeted at cutting pollution, but not necessarily power bills.

"It's not always more cost-effective but it is a major reduction in greenhouse gases," MacIntyre said.

The environmental push by the province is taking two distinct tracks, according to the minister, one for existing building stock and another for new construction. MacIntyre said new projects, such as the new justice centre in Moncton, are easier in the sense that they will be built with helping the environment in mind.

"The architects know that is what we are looking for (with Moncton justice centre). These are huge projects. We are going to make sure that building is state of the art," he said.

The proposed justice centre is among a growing list of green buildings owned by the provincial government.

For instance, new district ranger offices in Bathurst and Florenceville, the new Havelock elementary school and the new Waterville hospital have all met the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), an industry standard for environmentally friendly buildings.

Meanwhile, Ottawa has recognized the new Complex Scolaire in Moncton, Bathurst's new elementary school and a Department of Transportation maintenance garage in Lameque through the Commercial Building Incentive Program.

In the future, all new green buildings will adhere to the LEED principles and MacIntyre said the department will exceed the national energy building code for new construction and retrofits by 25 per cent. The supply and services minister said these plans, as well as the recent decision to switch the government's vehicle fleet, to environmentally-friendly cars and trucks is a clear move by the Liberals to lead by example on energy efficiency and conservation.

"The greening of government is one of our highest priorities but it is a quiet priority, you don't hear a lot about it," he said.

MacIntyre said the government is also doing a lot of work to make existing buildings more green and many of those changes are being done without much attention. Not only are low-emission lights being installed, new sensors are also being purchased so the lights automatically turn off when the building is not occupied.

The Department of Supply and Services is also turning to new windows, heating systems and ventilation units to help curb greenhouse gas emissions. Into the future, MacIntyre said construction decisions will be made on energy efficiency and reducing emissions.

"One of our biggest objectives is the reduction of greenhouse gases, at the same time energy efficiency is very important to us," he said.


scott said...

Making a few government buildings environmentally friendly doth not make a green plan, nbpolitico.

How about making New Brunswick a zero waste province by significantly decreasing overall consumption, specifically the consumption of non-local, non-renewable, non-recyclable and non-recycled materials, water, and energy and fuels. The province should take a leadership role in encouraging sustainable procurement.

As well, why not encourage the use of local, non-polluting, renewable and recycled resources (water, energy – wind, solar and geothermal – and material resources). Nowhere do I see this amongst their green plan.

Why hasn't this new government created a multi-modal transportation system that minimizes and, where possible, eliminates pollution and motor vehicle congestion while ensuring safe mobility and access for all without compromising our ability to protect public health and safety.

They have not increased funding for public transportation, nor have they suggested implementing tax credits for transit users. Where is their plan? Instead of "having a few liberals driving environmentally friendly limos", why not facilitate a reduction in automobile dependency in favor of affordable alternative, sustainable modes of travel.

How about doing what McGuinty did in Ontario a few years back where he supported an etanol fuel plan that "would reduce carbon gas emissions by 993,000 tonnes per year starting in 2007" wherein it would reduce the price of gasoline by 7 cents per litre in that province.

Just a few suggestions off the top of my head. ;-)

nbpolitico said...

This isn't their green plan. This is a few first steps. All in good time. I understand they are using the Charest-Kyoto deal as their model.