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Calgary climate actions

Calgary’s Climate Resilience Strategy outlines The City of Calgary's actions to improve energy management and reduce greenhouse gas emissions (mitigation), as well as implement risk management measures in preparation for current and future climate impacts (adaptation).

The resilience strategy is part of The City of Calgary's Climate Resilience Program which is dedicated to facilitating City, citizen and business actions to reduce human causes of climate change, and prepare and adapt to impacts of climate change.

Below you will find a summary of our action plans. See the fullClimate Resiliency Strategy.
Climate Change Plan Cover

Calgary's Climate Mitigation Plan

Calgary's Climate Adaptation Plan

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Buildings and Energy Systems

Energy use in buildings is the largest opportunity for GHG reductions in Calgary. From heating to cooling, from cooking to lighting, our buildings provide many energy intensive services. Natural gas and electricity used in Calgary’s residential, commercial, institutional and industrial buildings make up almost 65 per cent of total emissions generated in the community. Investments in building energy efficiency and clean energy also present an unparalleled opportunity.

Energy performance standards

Improve building performance requirements beyond current building code

​Action ​Participating Business Unit
​1.1 Support the implementation of energy step codes for new buildings ​Calgary Building Services
​1.2 Prepare Calgary for the implementation of a retrofit building code ​Calgary Building Services

Investigate incentives

​Action ​Participating Business Units
1.3 Investigate policy approaches to provide monetary and non-monetary incentives to improve building performance. ​Environmental & Safety Management
Calgary Building Services
Water Utility

Enable innovative financing mechanisms

​Action ​Participating Business Units
1.4 Enable innovative financing mechanisms to fund improved energy performance. ​Environmental & Safety Management

Energy consumption information

Implement building labelling and benchmarking for new and existing buildings

​Action ​Participating Business Unit
​2.1 Develop a residential building labelling program for Calgary ​Environmental & Safety Management
​2.2 Develop a commercial building benchmarking program for Calgary ​Environmental & Safety Management
Corporate Analytics & Innovation

Improve energy literacy and capacity building

​Action ​Participating Business Unit
​2.3 Develop and publish energy consumption information for all stakeholder groups to improve energy knowledge and stakeholder capacity to capitalize on energy efficiency opportunities, and to improve The City GHG reduction program design ​Environmental & Safety Management
Calgary Building Services
​2.4 Partner with ENMAX and other energy retailers to expand the pilot of providing enhanced billing information to residential customers ​Environmental & Safety Management

Renewable and Low-carbon Energy Systems

Enable the implementation of onsite renewable and low-carbon energy systems

​Action ​Participating Business Units
3.1 Develop an approach to ensure large scale developments consider the feasibility of low-carbon energy systems as part of the approvals process including: solar photovoltaics, combined heat and power, and district energy (and other technologies where appropriate) ​Community Planning
Corporate Analytics & Innovation
​3.2 Support the implementation of solar photovoltaics ​Environmental & Safety Management
Calgary Growth Strategies
​3.3 Support the implementation of district energy systems ​Community Planning
Environmental & Safety Management
​3.4 Support the implementation of combined heat and power ​Environmental & Safety Management

Support alternative ownership models for renewable and low carbon energy systems

​Action ​Participating Business Units
3.5 Support community ownership of renewable energy generation ​Environmental & Safety Management

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Transportation and Land Use

Where people live, work, and access amenities within Calgary impacts how they choose to get around Calgary. Currently, emissions associated with transporting people and goods account for one third of Calgary’s emissions. How we design our neighbourhoods and city have a significant impact on the need for energy to be used in moving goods and people around.

Electric and low-emissions vehicles

Support and enable the uptake of electric vehicles

​Action ​Participating Business Units
​4.1 Partner with the private sector and other government agencies to implement local and regional electric vehicle charging infrastructure ​Environmental & Safety Management
​4.2 Work with the private sector and non-profit organizations to develop an electric vehicle education program for the general public and businesses ​Environmental & Safety Management
​4.3 Collaborate with the City of Edmonton, the Province, local development industry and utility companies to identify and analyze options to improve access to home charging for electric vehicles ​Environmental & Safety Management
​4.4 Monitor and provide input to new electric vehicle policies and regulations developed by other orders of government ​Environmental & Safety Management
​4.5 Streamline municipal and utility processes to support public and private electric vehicle projects and reduce barriers ​Environmental & Safety Management
​4.6 Partner with post-secondary institutions and the private sector to advance research and field testing of low emission technologies, supporting infrastructure and policy direction ​Environmental & Safety Management

Support and enable the uptake of low emissions vehicles in commercial fleets

​Action ​Participating Business Units
​4.7 Monitor and provide input to new medium- and heavy-duty low emission vehicle policies and regulations developed by other orders of government ​Transportation Planning
​4.8 Develop a program to support the assessment of alternative fuel technologies for commercial vehicle fleets, and provide education information and emerging regulations from other orders of government ​Environmental & Safety Management
​4.9 Partner with post-secondary institutions to advance Calgary-specific research into goods movement GHG reduction and energy efficiency actions and supportive policies ​Environmental & Safety Management

Low or zero-emissions transportation modes

Enable increased walking and cycling

​Action ​Participating Business Units
​5.1 Continue to implement Step Forward, the Cycling Strategy and Complete Streets ​Transportation Planning
​5.2 Enhance the safety and accessibility of walking and cycling for all citizens ​Transportation Planning
Calgary Transit
Urban Strategies
​5.3 Support the utilization of new and innovative bicycle technologies and programs ​Transportation Planning

Enable increased use of Calgary Transit

​Action ​Participating Business Units
​5.4 Continue to implement the RouteAhead 30-year strategic plan for Calgary Transit ​Calgary Transit
Green Line
​5.5 Coordinate with regional transit partners to make transit service a more viable choice for regional travel ​Calgary Transit
​5.6 Enable transit oriented development along the Green, Red and Blue LRT lines ​Planning & Development
Real Estate & Development Services
​5.7 Increase implementation of transit priorities and yield-to-bus measures ​Calgary Transit

Enable increased use of ride-sharing, car-pooling, and working from home

​Action ​Participating Business Units
​5.8 Support businesses and the development industry to implement transportation demand management plans in new and existing communities or buildings ​Transportation Planning
​5.9 Monitor demand for loading or special parking zones for commercial vehicles as well as demand for special parking zones for rideshare services ​Transportation Planning
Calgary Parking Authority
​5.10 Pilot partner ships with alternative mobility providers to provide mobility services ​Calgary Transit
​5.11 Develop a high occupancy vehicle strategy to support high-occupancy vehicles and buses, as well as consideration of electric vehicles ​Transportation Planning

Land-use and transportation planning

​Action ​Participating Business Units
​6.1 Incorporate policies regarding climate risks and greenhouse gas reductions that may impact land use development and transportation infrastructure or services into the update of the Municipal Development Plan and Calgary Transportation Plan ​Calgary Growth Strategies
Transportation Planning
​6.2 Develop methodologies to integrate GHG reduction potential into growth management decisions and transportation assessments ​Calgary Growth Strategies
Transportation Planning
​6.3 Investigate the impact of disruptive transportation technologies on Calgary’s transportation GHG emissions ​Transportation Planning

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Consumption and Waste

The waste we create and how we dispose of it can have a significant impact on GHG emissions. This plan aims to strengthen its commitment to reduce GHGs associated from waste emissions while starting to consider the embodied GHGs from the goods and services we consume.

Reduce overall consumption and waste generation

Reduce total waste generation in the residential and commercial sectors

​Action ​Participating Business Units
​7.1 Quantify the composition, scale and impact of consumption and waste on GHG emissions in Calgary ​Environmental & Safety Management
Waste & Recycling Services
​7.2 Implement a “pay-as-you-throw” black cart program for residential waste ​Waste & Recycling Services
​7.3 Investigate options and develop a strategy for significantly reducing avoidable plastic waste and single-use items ​Waste & Recycling Services
​7.4 Work with the province to move forward extended producer responsibility regulations ​Waste & Recycling Services
​7.5 Focus on waste reduction in education programs for waste management ​Waste & Recycling Services

Improve access to local food

​Action ​Participating Business Units
​7.6 Review CalgaryEATS! Food Action Plan with enhanced climate resilience lens and develop a Food Resilience Plan ​Calgary Growth Strategies
​7.7 Conduct systems-level research on climate impacts across range of food systems activities and identify critical linkages among systems components and processes ​Calgary Growth Strategies
​7.8 Work with Provincial and Federal Governments and the private sector on a multi-level approach to climate programs and policies as it relates to food systems ​Calgary Growth Strategies
​7.9 Raise awareness of, and address, food loss and disposal to reduce wasted food ​Calgary Growth Strategies
​7.10 Promote urban and regional food production and support farmers through programs and policy ​Calgary Growth Strategies
​7.11 Review and update City and institutional food procurement policies ​Calgary Growth Strategies
​7.12 Support the regionalization and diversification of food supply chains ​Calgary Growth Strategies

Waste management to minimize greenhouse gas emissions

​Action ​Participating Business Units
8.1 Continue to educate and support Calgarians to divert organic waste away from landfills through the Residential Green Cart Program, the disposal surcharge rates at City landfills, and as required for all industrial, commercial, and industrial organizations under The City’s bylaws. ​Waste & Recycling Services

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Natural Infrastructure

This theme focuses on gaining a better understanding of the environmental stresses on our local environment, while building knowledge and expertise in areas that will deliver opportunities for better holistic management of our natural systems.

Conserve and manage green spaces and natural areas to support climate change mitigation

​Action ​Participating Business Units
​9.1 Develop a methodology to quantify the value of natural systems (i.e., parks, riparian areas, natural areas, urban forest, etc.) as a greenhouse gas sink, and incorporate into our annual GHG inventory reporting ​Environmental & Safety Management
​9.2 Develop a formal working group to increase understanding of The City’s natural assets for City staff and external stakeholders, including the integration of climate change mitigation considerations ​Environmental & Safety Management
​9.3 Incorporate the value of natural systems as a greenhouse gas sink into triple bottom line analysis and other business processes where necessary ​Water Utility
​9.4 Incorporate climate change mitigation considerations into existing strategies ​Parks
Water Utility
​9.5 Remove regulatory policy barriers that prevent the effective conservation of wetlands in the city ​Parks
​9.6 Continue to promote the restoration of native habitat and naturalization of existing open space to augment the ability of Parks and Open Spaces to sequester carbon ​Parks
​9.7 Collaborate with the Province to develop a carbon offset program for natural systems ​Environmental & Safety Management

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Demonstrating leadership is a critical role for The City. Leadership can take the form of setting an example through actions, providing information and education, or by enabling innovation and collaboration.

The City of Calgary as a leader in climate change mitigation

Lead by example in our operations

​Action ​Participating Business Units
​10.1 Demonstrate leadership in the construction, operations, and maintenance of City-owned buildings, facilities, infrastructure and fleet to minimize GHG emissions by continuing the implementation of the Corporate Energy Plan 2016-2026 ​Corporate Analytics & Innovation
Transportation Department
Water Utility
10.2 Demonstrate leadership by installing low-carbon and renewable energy systems at City facilities and land ​Corporate Analytics & Innovation
Water Utility
​10.3 Update the Corporate Energy Plan to fully integrate corporate GHG management, and establish a Corporate Energy and Emissions Plan ​Corporate Analytics & Innovation
Environmental & Safety Management
​10.4 Evaluate and incorporate fully-electric, electric hybrid, and other low carbon vehicle technologies into City fleets and facilities ​Environmental & Safety Management
Corporate Analytics & Innovation
Calgary Transit
Fleet Services
Waste & Recycling Services

Become a trusted source for Calgarians to access leading climate change mitigation information and education

​Action ​Participating Business Units
​10.5 Develop and implement a comprehensive climate change education program ​Environmental & Safety Management
10.6 Integrate climate messages into existing City of Calgary public education programs ​Environmental & Safety Management
​10.7 Establish targeted and relevant communications material for key stakeholder groups ​Environmental & Safety Management

Establish support and resources to enable innovation and collaboration by citizens, businesses, and other stakeholders

​Action ​Participating Business Units
​10.8 Develop and implement a public engagement plan to support the implementation of the Climate Resilience Strategy, the Mitigation Action Plan and the Adaptation Action Plan ​Environmental & Safety Management
10.9 Establish resources to enable citizens to take action ​Environmental & Safety Management
10.10 Develop a program to support large industrial energy users ​Environmental & Safety Management
10.11 Establish a structure and resources to enable innovation between The City and the private sector ​Environmental & Safety Management
10.12 Establish a structure to ensure ongoing collaboration between The City, the private sector and academia ​Environmental & Safety Management
10.13 Identify additional funding opportunities to support implementation of actions in the Mitigation Action Plan ​Environmental & Safety Management

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People: A city where people can thrive

Reducing Calgarians’ vulnerability to the impacts of climate change.

Air Quality Management

​Action ​Participating Business Units
​1.1 Continue to collaborate across the region and province on air quality management ​Environmental & Safety Management
1.2 Develop messaging and response plans, in coordination with regional and provincial agencies, to provide information to Calgarians during poor air quality events ​Environmental & Safety Management
1.3 Investigate the feasibility of implementing and enforcing bylaw restrictions or fire bans on backyard fire pits and wood burning during periods of poor air quality ​Environmental & Safety Management
1.4 Support the adoption of electric vehicles and alternative fuels that minimize local air pollution ​Transportation

Extreme Heat Management

​Action ​Participating Business Units
​2.1 Ensure that heat alerts reach all Calgary Housing tenants, and provide advice on how to keep cool ​Calgary Housing
2.2 Develop corporate standard and procedures for heat management to support business units in the development of their own plans ​Environmental & Safety Management
2.3 Install and/or enhance shade structures and water stations in public parks as a part of capital lifecycle programs ​Parks
2.4 Scope out and develop an urban heat island map to identify areas vulnerable to heat extremes, and develop measures to reduce impacts on citizens and staff Environmental & Safety Management

Staff and Citizen Outreach

​Action ​Participating Business Units
3.1 Develop and implement public and internal climate change education plans ​Environmental & Safety Management
3.2 Develop a Climate Action Community Toolkit, and update communications plans to share climate change information with community groups, Civic Partners and private sector organizations ​Environmental & Safety Management
3.3 Support Civic Partner’s strategic and business continuity planning to address climate change risks, including sharing of The City research and plans ​Calgary Neighbourhoods and Recreation
3.4 Coordinate with external agencies to increase safety and security checks of seniors and vulnerable tenants during extreme weather events Calgary Housing

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Infrastructure: The backbone of the city

Strengthening the built environment to ‘weather the storms’

Backup Power for Critical Infrastructure

​Action ​Participating Business Units
4.1 Assess condition of power supplies in critical City facilities with priority given to facilities serving vulnerable populations ​Facility Management
4.2 Determine backup power requirements for City systems and infrastructure in preparation for cascading power losses in the event of multiple extreme weather events ​All business units
4.3 Evaluate mobile power plants for Calgary Housing Corporation properties with ENMAX to protect tenants and buildings against freezing ​Calgary Housing

Design Standards and Practices

​Action ​Participating Business Units
5.1 Continue to drive improved energy code for buildings with additional focus on deployment of renewable energy. Work is in consultation with Provincial authorities and industry ​Calgary Building Services
5.2 Collaborate with external partners to develop regionally-appropriate climate data to inform new design standards for City infrastructure ​Environmental & Safety Management
5.3 Facilitate a cross-corporate working group to scope out and determine a corporate approach to collaboratively update City design standards for buildings ​Corporate Analytics & Innovation
5.4 Update design guidelines and standards for City infrastructure (such as bridges, buildings and water systems) to ensure resilience to extreme weather events and chronic climate changes ​All capital investing business units and Corporate Analytics & Innovation

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Natural Infrastructure: The root of resilience

Maximizing the services provided by natural systems

Natural Assets Management

​Action ​Participating Business Units
6.1 Continue to support and advocate for the priority protection of environmentally significant areas in accordance with the Municipal Development Plan (MDP) ​Parks
6.2 Develop a formal working group to align environmental programs, develop objectives and associated instruments for integration of natural infrastructure in the urban form ​Environmental & Safety Management
6.3 Develop a program to increase understanding of the value of natural infrastructure for City staff and external stakeholders ​Resilience & Infrastructure Calgary
Environmental & Safety Management
6.4 Integrate natural infrastructure into planning and corporate asset management ​Resilience & Infrastructure Calgary
Environmental & Safety Management

Natural Assets Adaptation

​Action ​Participating Business Units
7.1 Continue and expand naturalization programs for City Parks and green space ​Parks
7.2 Conduct a city-wide ecological analysis to develop a plan to build the resiliency of Calgary’s natural systems ​Parks
7.3 Develop new guideline for soil management to provide a functional support system for healthy green spaces and natural infrastructure ​Parks
7.4 Implement Riparian Action Program to protect and enhance natural river areas and wetlands ​Water Resources

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Water Management: Every drop counts

Preparing for increasing risks of flooding, drought and declining water quality.

River Flood Management

​Action ​Participating Business Units
8.1 Collaborate with other levels of government to advance river flood hazard mapping to include climate change ​Water Resources
8.2 Continue to work with other levels of government on upstream storage to manage both river flood and drought risks exacerbated by climate change ​Water Resources
8.3 Develop flood damage reduction policies including consideration of appropriate land uses and long term management of flood protection infrastructure ​Calgary Growth Strategies
Water Resources
8.4 Develop cross-corporate implementation and resourcing plans for river flood response actions taking future climate extremes into account Water Services

Stormwater Management

​Action ​Participating Business Units
9.1 Assess climate change impacts to rainfall intensity, duration and frequency to inform new development ​Water Resources
9.2 Include climate change impacts in the development of the Stormwater Management Strategy and implementation planning to guide water management in development and redevelopment areas ​Water Resources
9.3 Assess stormwater design guidelines to account for climate change in collaboration with stakeholders as part of the Stormwater Management Strategy ​Water Resources
9.4 Develop localized flood warning system and response plan to proactively deploy resources to the community and to wastewater treatment facilities Water Services

Long Term Water Supply

​Action ​Participating Business Units
10.1 Collaborate with other levels of government and regional stakeholders to analyze long term river flow and water quality in the Bow and Elbow Rivers ​Water Resources
10.2 Advance the Drought Management Plan to enhance response tools and minimize impacts during multi-year droughts ​Water Resources
10.3 Incorporate climate change in strategic plans and policies to manage long term water supply, wastewater treatment and stormwater management ​Water Resources
10.4 Evaluate climate change impacts to water supply and demand to inform Water Efficiency Plan and water sustainability targets Water Resources

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Governance: Pro-active leadership

Preparing for our climate-altered future through collaborative decision making.

Budgeting and Investment Priorities

​Action ​Participating Business Units
11.1 Advocate for amendments to current disaster funding models with different levels of government to reflect the increased climate risks Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA)
11.2 Integrate climate resilience criteria within capital budget processes and funding allocation decisions ​Resilience and Infrastructure Calgary
Environmental & Safety Management
All asset owning business units
11.3 Incorporate monitoring and tracking of corporate climate adaptation actions into existing environmental risk management monitoring processes ​Environmental & Safety Management
11.4 Enhance awareness of leadership, project managers and business planners on climate change resilience actions and investments to manage climate risks Environmental & Safety Management

Urban Planning and Processes

​Action ​Participating Business Units
12.1 Develop or join a community of researchers and practitioners to support information sharing on the management of climate change risks Environmental & Safety Management
12.2 Update the Municipal Development Plan and Calgary Transportation Plan to address climate risks that may impact land development and transportation infrastructure or services ​Calgary Growth Strategies
12.3 Align Local Area Plans policies with areas identified by Water Resources as disaster prone and undertake consultation and policy amendments to reduce potential damage to life and goods, and manage risks ​Calgary Growth Strategies
Community Planning
12.4 Conduct an ongoing evaluation of City policies against climate resiliency criteria to ensure alignment Environmental & Safety Management

Severe Weather Response and Recovery Management

​Action ​Participating Business Units
13.1 Review capacity of Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) to provide local and regional support during response and recovery from identified climate impacts Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA)
13.2 Support Civic Partners as they build internal capacity, obtain resources and develop their own adaptive actions ​Calgary Neighbourhoods
13.3 Review business continuity plan and integrate identified risks of more frequent and intense extreme weather events ​All business units
13.4 Integrate climate adaptation programming into disaster risk reduction strategies in order to increase resilience Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA)

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