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News Release

Introducing the Smart Energy Communities Benchmark

by

Feb 18, 2020

EMBARGOED UNTIL FEBRUARY 18, 2020

Today QUEST and Pollution Probe launched the Smart Energy Communities Benchmark. The Benchmark measures where a community stands relative to Canadian best practices on ten indicators that, taken together, constitute the core characteristics of a Smart Energy Community.

The Benchmark was designed to reflect the fact that each of Canada’s 2,000+ communities are unique. It is a personalized measure that adapts to local contexts, as opposed to being a direct comparison of how one community is doing as compared to another.

The Benchmark is made up of ten key indicators and a comprehensive scoring framework that measures local capacity and resources that need to be in place, as well as the effective management and integration of infrastructure to use, move and source energy as efficiently and locally as possible. 

Communities are using the Smart Energy Communities Benchmark to assess where they stand on a range of actions that have been proven to strengthen economies, reduce energy costs and emissions, and boost community resilience.

With this data in hand, municipalities and utilities can show elected officials, stakeholders, and citizens the strengths of their community energy leadership and emissions reductions, and areas where ambition needs to be increased.

In the development of the Benchmark, the project team travelled from coast to coast to coast and met with municipal and utility staff in nine pilot communities and 17 technical advisors across Canada. Their feedback was integral to the process of refining the methodology and identifying best practices. The pilot communities have been an inspiration to the project team and are all examples of Smart Energy Communities. The nine pilot communities include:

  • The City of Beaconsfield, QC
  • The Town of Bridgewater, NS
  • The City of Calgary, AB
  • The City of Campbell River, BC
  • The City of Grande Prairie, AB
  • The Town of Inuvik, NT
  • The City of London, ON
  • The City of Markham, ON
  • The City of Yellowknife, NT

Visit the Smart Energy Communities Benchmark website to learn more.

Tonja Leach, Executive Director, QUEST

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“Smart Energy Communities benefit from new opportunities for local economic development, lower energy costs, a cleaner environment, and improved community resilience.  Not only does the Smart Energy Communities Benchmark help communities reach their goals, but it provides resources to help communities increase their progress over time. We encourage all municipalities to learn more and take advantage of this new resource.”  

Richard Carlson, Director Energy Policy, Pollution Probe

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“The Smart Energy Communities Benchmark can benefit all Canadian communities. Local governments and utilities can show elected officials, stakeholders, and citizens where they’re making headway on becoming a Smart Energy Community and where opportunities remain.”

Mayor Georges Bourelle, The City of Beaconsfield, Québec

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“Communities will use the Smart Energy Communities Benchmark to assess where they stand on a range of actions that have been proven to strengthen economies, reduce energy costs and emissions, and boost community resilience. Beaconsfield is very pleased to have contributed our experience and expertise to this new tool that will help other municipalities in Canada on their energy-smart journey.”

Mayor Natasha Kulikowski, The Town of Inuvik, Northwest Territories

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“Being a part of the development of the Smart Energy Communities Benchmark was an incredibly valuable opportunity to collaborate and learn from other communities. The Benchmark tells a story about how all communities across Canada regardless of geography, population, or energy resources are facing similar challenges and finding innovative solutions by learning from one another.”

Mayor David Mitchell, The Town of Bridgewater, Nova Scotia

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“Over the past decade, the Town of Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, has emerged as an international leader in sustainability and energy transition planning and programming. Being part of the development of QUEST’s Smart Energy Communities Benchmark has been incredibly valuable and has allowed us to lend our expertise to the development of the tool. We hope that other communities across Canada will take advantage of this new tool to benchmark their progress on becoming a Smart Energy Community.”

Mayor Rebecca Alty, The City of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

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“As outlined in the City of Yellowknife’s Corporate and Community Energy Plan (2015-2025) we are committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing the share of renewable energy use and lowering energy costs. The Smart Energy Communities Benchmark is the first of its kind to help local governments and utilities show elected officials, stakeholders, and citizens where they’re making headway on becoming a Smart Energy Community and where opportunities remain.”

Mayor Bill Given, The City of Grande Prairie, Alberta

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“Participating in the Smart Energy Communities Benchmark provides the City of Grande Prairie with the chance to understand our current strengths and identify areas of opportunity as we strive to improve our sustainability through energy conservation. This benchmark tool further clarifies the importance of having an energy strategy that responds to local needs. We encourage other communities across Canada to use the benchmarking tool to gain a well-rounded understanding of their local smart energy opportunities.”

Mayor Frank Scarpitti, The City of Markham, Ontario

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“For more than a decade, The City of Markham has been a municipal leader in sustainability. We are committed to fighting climate change and to reducing our carbon footprint all the while creating new economic opportunities for our community. We are proud to have been a participating city in the pilot program for Smart Energy Communities Benchmark. This project will give other communities, like Markham, the chance to learn best practices and accurately identify opportunities to help us grow safe and sustainable communities for all Canadians. We encourage all communities to take advantage of this new resource.”

Mayor Ed Holder, The City of London, Ontario

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“The London community prides itself on being a leader in energy efficiency, sustainable energy solutions and measurement. Participating in the Smart Energy Communities benchmarking project has been a key aspect in developing our plan to address the City’s climate emergency declaration to strengthen our economy, reduce energy costs and emissions, and boost community resilience. In London, for every percentage point we reduce our energy use, $13-million stays in the London economy and can be used for other needs. The Benchmark is a valuable tool to help us continue our work and to encourage other cities to become smarter about energy use and reducing costs – especially when this reduces emissions as well.”

Mayor Andy Adams, The City of Campbell River, British Columbia

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“Campbell River is committed to demonstrating leadership on climate action and as part of implementing our Community Energy and Emissions Plan we are working to encourage economic development in the building, energy retrofit and renewable energy sectors. We are pleased to have helped shape the Benchmark’s comprehensive scoring framework that will help Canadian communities benchmark where they are on their energy-smart journey.”

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