March 19, 2008
Media Release

The Regional Municipality of York to participate in Earth Hour Challenge

York Region committed to energy savings, reducing CO2 emissions year round
 
NEWMARKET – At 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 29th, The Regional Municipality of York will be turning off all non-essential lights at the York Region Administrative Centre and other regional facilities as part of the World Wildlife Fund’s Earth Hour Challenge.
 
York Region is also encouraging Regional employees, as well as residents and businesses to turn off their lights for the one hour in support of action on climate change.
 
“York Regional Council is committed to ensuring that The Regional Municipality of York reduces its ecological footprint,” said York Region Chairman and CEO Bill Fisch.  “The steps that we continue to take as a regional municipal government, not only for the Earth Hour Challenge but year round, will have environmental benefits now and into the future for all of our residents.”
 
“York Region is making a significant investment towards energy conservation at many of our facilities,” added York Region Chief Administrative Officer Bruce Macgregor.  “York Region has conducted energy audits and retrofits of existing facilities and adopted environmental sustainable construction standard for our new buildings.”
 
York Region has implemented a comprehensive energy program which allows the Region to effectively buy, use, measure and conserve energy.  This includes the development of the Region’s Energy and Environmental Management system, a web-based program to track energy use and emissions of our operations.
 
Some of York Region’s energy-conservation initiatives undertaken to date include:
 
Administrative Centre Retrofit
 
Major energy retrofits in the Administrative Centre located in the Town of Newmarket (including mechanical, lighting and boiler upgrades) has resulted in an annual utility savings of more than $185,000, representing an annual reduction of over one million units of electricity and a savings of more than 211,000 cubical metres of natural gas. The utility savings achieved are equivalent to a reduction of 712 tonnes of equivalent CO2 per year.  In 2008, York Region will implement an electricity procurement strategy which will include purchasing “green” power for the Administrative Centre and Household Hazardous Recycling Depot located in the Town of East Gwillimbury.
 
Wind Energy Feasibility Study
 
The purpose of this project is to examine ways York Region can utilize wind energy to offset the electricity use at Regional facilities and reduce our dependence on the electricity grid.  The results of the 12-month study at the Sutton Water Pollution Control Plant will be presented by the end of this year, complete with a business case analysis to expand the program to other Regional facilities.
 
Stouffville Zone 2 Pumping Station
 
LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification is being pursued for Stouffville Zone 2 Pumping Station.  The objective of this project is to build the first Regional water and wastewater facility designed, developed and operated to demonstrate leadership in sustainability.  Key environmental benefits include:
 
• Photovoltaic (solar electric) system to offset 25 per cent of the buildings energy consumption
• Local and / or recycled construction materials
• Divert construction waste from landfill by recycling materials
• Low-emitting materials to be used for adhesives, sealants and paints
 
Housing York Inc. Retrofits
 
Two major energy retrofit projects were completed in 2007, with an anticipated total reduction of 147 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year.  Housing York Inc. has five additional buildings scheduled for retrofits in 2008.
 
Tom Taylor Place
 
Tom Taylor Place is on track to be York Region’s first LEED certified multi-unit residential facility.  Key environmental benefits include:
 
• Estimated energy savings of 58 per cent compared to standard building, resulting in a projected greenhouse gas emissions reduction of 147 tonnes per year
• Public Transit accessible to reduce automobile use and traffic congestion
• Reduce indoor water use by 30 per cent with provisions of ultra-low flow showerheads and innovative dual-flush toilets
• Divert 75 per cent of construction waste from landfill by recycling materials
• Provide carpets, painting and coating materials with low volatile organic carbon content to improve health of occupants and construction workers
 
For more information on Earth Hour, please visit www.earthhour.org
 
For more information on The Regional Municipality of York, please visit www.york.ca
 
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Media Contact: Ken Turriff, Corporate Communications, York Region
 Phone: (905) 830-4444 / toll-free 1-877-464-9675, Ext. 1226
 Cell: (905) 251-6415 / Email: ken.turriff@york.ca

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