Climate Update #1 - Fleet Services
Climate change keeps me up at night.
I kicked off 2020 by booking meetings with all City department directors – from Bylaw to Fleet to Purchasing – to hear how they plan to meet the climate targets outlined in Calgary’s Climate Resilience Strategy. You can read the full Strategy here: https://www.calgary.ca/UEP/ESM/Pages/Energy-Savings/Climate-Change.aspx#strategy
I committed to report on the outcomes of my meetings, because, as I stated in January, Council consistently sets targets without plans or budget to meet them.
My first meeting was on January 30 with the Director of Fleet Services. Fleet Services manages and maintains nearly 4,000 vehicles for the City. https://calgary.ca/CS/Fleet/Pages/home.aspx
I started the meeting by asking, “Have you read the Climate Resilience Strategy?”
Despite having a climate strategy for over a decade, Fleet has yet to take meaningful steps towards climate action, but that is about to change. I left my meeting with the impression that the new director is excited and enthusiastic about greening the fleet and is taking on the difficult task of turning around a big ship. This is an important first step, however much work remains.
The City is currently implementing new technologies and practices to reduce emissions. To increase utilization, the City has created a multi-purpose truck, enhanced seasonal leasing, and expanded employee car sharing. To reduce emissions, The City is evaluating alternative fuel options, applying for grants to support green initiatives, and reviewing the fleet acquisition process to help us test new technologies as they become available in the market. Again… important steps.
The City has a Green Driving Policy (a policy I brought forward in 2002 that was approved but not implemented) and training to ensure fuel-efficient driving practices. To ensure compliance, Fleet Services will be sharing Vehicle Eco Reports for City departments to review idling, acceleration, and braking. This will save money. Presently, City vehicles spend 206,837 hours idling per year, costing over $715,000 annually in fuel consumption.
The City is also piloting two compressed natural gas garbage trucks, a fully electric sedan to its fleet, and hybrid-electric and fully electric garbage trucks.
In 2018, The City did an Alternative Fuel Study to expand alternative fuels (electric, Hybrid, CNG) for our waste and recycling vehicles. This study received a grant from the Government of Canada and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. The study recommendations are under review and will be released as part of the funding agreement.
Procurement standards will be updated this year to include Green Fleet Request for Proposal requirements.
WHAT NEEDS WORK
My meeting revealed that Fleet Services has simply not been practicing Council policies. I did leave the meeting optimistic that the new director has a good handle on what needs to be done to ensure Calgary’s competitiveness. I also had some follow-up questions for the director and I will report back when I receive those answers.
Although I am satisfied that the Director of Fleet Services understands there is work to be done in greening the fleet and taking tentative steps in addressing the issue, I will now be working diligently to ensure that these steps result in concrete actions. I will also be asking senior leadership in Fleet Services a number of questions, and I look forward to sharing those answers.
These questions include: Is The City benchmarking with other winter cities and how do we compare? How are we actively measuring and reducing GHGs? How is the climate strategy factoring into day-to-day decision-making? Is there specific staff tasked to monitor and implement? Are you working with manufacturers and what is their long-term plan? Over the next ten years, will you be prepared with future skill sets (for example grease mechanic versus electrical technicians.)
I have many more meetings booked with City department directors to hear how they plan to meet the climate targets outlined in Calgary’s Climate Resilience Strategy. I look forward to sharing updates on these meetings with you.