McGuinty Government Investing In Green Communities
$220 Million Available In Grants And Loans For Municipalities To Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions
The McGuinty government is providing $200 million in loans and $20 million in grants over the next three years to help municipalities reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
"Ontario can be a world leader in building sustainable communities, conserving energy and fighting climate change -- but we need everyone working together to make change happen," said Premier McGuinty. "Municipal governments have shown that they want to be part of the solution and this challenge fund will help them put good ideas into practice and bring emissions down."
The Municipal Eco Challenge Fund will provide $20 million in grants to municipal governments for projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The government will consult with the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) and other stakeholders in implementing the program.
Infrastructure Ontario will also provide $200 million worth of loans for municipal projects that reduce GHG emissions through its OSIFA Loan Program. The program offers affordable loans to help public-sector clients build and renew essential local infrastructure. This saves municipal budgets money on interest charges and transaction fees. It's also expected that projects will pay for themselves quickly from energy savings.
"Our government is helping to create greener communities across the province," said David Caplan, Minister of Public Infrastructure Renewal. "That's why we're providing resources and opportunities to municipalities so they can create key infrastructure projects that will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions."
"Municipal governments understand that we all have a part to play in preserving the environment. Initiatives, like the Municipal Eco Challenge Fund, will help municipalities continue to take action on climate change," said Doug Reycraft, President of AMO. "We look forward to working with the Province on the design of the program and other future green initiatives."
"Urban activities are responsible for an estimated 75 per cent of emissions causing climate change and cities are increasingly challenged by the infrastructure demands of a warming world," said Eva Ligeti, Executive Director of the Clean Air Partnership. "This new Ontario government investment recognizes the role that municipalities play in driving solutions to climate change. Congratulations, Premier McGuinty."
By some estimates, buildings account for nearly 40 per cent of GHG emissions. Many buildings waste more energy because heating, cooling and lighting systems are inefficient, or walls, roofs and windows are not well insulated.
Other conservation and climate change initiatives include:
- The Ontario Realty Corporation (ORC) is reducing electricity demand in government buildings by 8.8 per cent, well on the way to reaching the target of a 10 per cent reduction in the government's electricity use by 2007
- Ontario's 2006 Building Code introduced energy-efficiency requirements that, over the next seven years, will save enough energy to power 380,000 homes and will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about five megatonnes, the equivalent of taking 250,000 cars off the road.
- Banning the sale of inefficient light bulbs by 2012 -- new efficient lighting uses around 75 per cent less electricity than standard old-fashioned, incandescent bulbs.
"The changes we start making now will mean a higher quality of life for decades to come -- because our environment will be cleaner, our economy will be more efficient and our people will have the skills to put Ontario on the leading edge of sustainable development in the global economy," said Premier McGuinty.