Supporting a Sustainable Community

From energy initiatives and climate action, to supporting transportation infrastructure and environmentally-friendly waste management, the Township of Langley strives to be a leader in environmental sustainability.

Plans such as the Official Community Plan (OCP) and Sustainability Charter each prioritize energy efficiency and emission reduction measures. And in recognizing climate change as a serious risk to our community, Township Council made a Climate Emergency Declaration in July 2019 with the goal of accelerating climate change action.

Read on to learn more about some of our sustainable community initiatives.

Climate Action

In 2010, the Township of Langley developed its first Community Energy and Emissions Plan (CEEP), which outlined a number of actions the Township needed to take to reduce its energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

The Township is developing a renewed CEEP with strong but achievable targets, and updated actions to reflect the changes and progress made over the last nine years. The new CEEP will help the Township envision what land use, agriculture, building infrastructure, energy, transportation, and waste will look like by 2050 – and how to get there.

This plan will be part of a larger Climate Action Strategy, which will provide strategic direction, targets and actions for both adapting to climate change impacts and reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, both corporately and throughout the community.

On Tuesday, November 5, the Township is hosting a public Climate Action event, where residents can learn more about the current development of the Climate Action Strategy. We invite participants to tell us about their key priorities, concerns, and potential opportunities to mitigate climate change and provide their feedback. The evening will feature guest speaker Sarah Muir Owen, UBC Program Manager at Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions, and opening remarks by Township of Langley Mayor Jack Froese. Complete event details will be available soon.

Building, Emissions, and Energy Initiatives

Energy is essential to the Township of Langley's operations – to power, heat and cool community and administrative buildings, to fuel fleet vehicles, and to provide important services to the community such as water, liquid and waste management, parks and outdoor facilities, and street and traffic lighting. As important as this energy is, gasoline/diesel, natural gas, and electricity also have an impact on our climate through the production of greenhouse gas emissions.

In 2007, the Township’s Civic Facility became the first municipal building in Canada to earn silver LEED certification in the Commercial Interiors (CI) category.  LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the industry standard for green building.

Additionally, the Township has maintained its status as a carbon neutral organization for the past five years. In 2018 alone, the Township worked to reduce our corporate emissions through projects such as:

  • Implementing a heat reclaim project at George Preston Recreation Centre main ice plant which allows recovery of the excess heat and utilizing it to heat domestic hot water.
  • Installing energy-saving measures for the new Aldergrove Credit Union Community Centre including: solar collectors used to pre-heat domestic hot water, the Defender® Regenerative Media Filter (which provides energy savings compared to traditional sand filtration), LED lighting with occupancy sensors through the facility and water park.
  • Working with the Township’s contracted waste and recycling hauler to switch to propane hybrid fleet vehicles to reduce transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions.

The Township offset remaining corporate emissions completely through the following projects:

  • The curbside organics collection program that diverts organic waste from the landfill, avoiding methane gas emissions (2,228 tCO2e).
  • The protection of two forested parcels from deforestation, preventing the sequestered carbon from being released (1,860 tCO2e).
  • The Jackman Landfill Gas Capture Project, where the Township is capturing methane gas from a decommissioned landfill and preventing it from entering the atmosphere (2,838 tCO2e).

For builders and homeowners in the community, the Township offers the Green Building Rebate Program, one of the first of its kind in Metro Vancouver. This program offers building permit rebates for energy-efficient new residential construction or home renovations.

Building on the success of the Green Building Rebate Program, the Township of Langley adopted the BC Energy Step Code after an extensive process of public stakeholder engagement and industry consultation. Effective January 1, 2019, compliance with the BC Energy Step Code is required for all new building permit applications for residential buildings. The Step Code requires buildings to demonstrate energy-efficiency code compliance through building energy modeling and airtightness testing. This means builders will be required to work with a qualified energy consultant (an Energy Advisor or energy modeler).

The Empower Me program, in partnership with FortisBC and BC Hydro, is available free to any Township resident or family. The program provides consultation with an Energy Mentor, a custom energy-saving plan, workshops, and more.

Transportation and Electric Vehicle (EV) Infrastructure

Reducing our reliance on gas-fueled cars offers many environmental benefits, including a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution, and energy use. The Township supports alternative forms of transportation including public transit, ride-sharing, cycling, walking, and electric vehicles.

The Township recognizes the need to plan for new modes of low carbon mobility. To support this, the Township is developing a Low Carbon Mobility Plan. The plan organizes the approach to different individual low carbon mobility systems and explores the corporate shift to vehicle systems that emit zero or low amounts of greenhouse gas emissions, such as electric vehicles, hydrogen fuel-cell technology, or renewable fuels. The Low Carbon Mobility Plan will be reviewed by Township Council in September 2019.

In the community, the Township offers EV Level 2 charging at a number of our facilities. The Township also hosts a DC Fast Charger, owned and operated by BC Hydro, at the Langley Events Centre.

The Township continues to invest in cycling routes and infrastructure to help provide safe and convenient access for cyclists. This spring, the Township of Langley improved cycling infrastructure as part of HUB Cycling's 20 in 20 Challenge, which suggested 20 cost-efficient fixes that municipalities can make to improve bike routes. Learn more about the upgrades taken by the Township by watching Metro Vancouver’s Cycling in the Township of Langley - Ungap the Map.

Waste and Recycling

Waste reduction and diversion from landfill continue to improve in the Township thanks to resident participation in curbside collection programs, as well as several annual events held with waste reduction in mind. From curbside garbage, recycling, and Green Cart programs, to community events such as the Household Hazardous Waste Plus Recycling Event,  Clean Up Langley Day,  Upcycling Design Challenge, and most recently the Township-wide Garage Sale, the Township facilitates a variety of waste reduction initiatives. 

Public interest in waste and recycling programs remains high thanks to recent changes that provide residents a more convenient way to compost organic materials (the introduction of the Cart Program in 2016), an expansion of the items accepted in curbside recycling (joining Recycle BC programming in 2018), and new public receptacles to facilitate recycling and responsible disposal in public spaces. For example, by recycling and using their Green Cart, Township of Langley residents prevented over 20,000 tonnes of waste from entering the landfill in 2018 alone.

The Township is working to create a more sustainable community and region to help ensure a cleaner, greener Langley for future generations. While we have taken many positive steps in reducing our carbon footprint, we will continue to do more.

For more sustainable community actions in the Township of Langley, visit Sustainability.