Environmental sustainability has been a focus of the Town of Canmore for the past decade, with several Councils having approved plans and initiating action to address environmental sustainability and climate change. Our actions and initiatives are numerous, including:
- approving the 2010 Environmental Sustainability Action Plan (revised in 2013),
- building LEED certified buildings,
- partnering with the Town of Banff and ID9 to operate local and regional ROAM transit,
- putting in place sustainable building requirements,
- creating an environmental stewardship volunteer award,
- conducting energy efficiency audits of our facilities,
- implementing cycling and pedestrian improvements to shift mode share,
- approving solar installations for Town facilities,
- implementing a community wide organics composting program,
- increasing our in-house resources from one part time sustainability coordinator in 2006 to two full-time staff (one grant funded), who are focused on sustainability and climate action
Solar Installations on Municipal Buildings
More than 190 modules, each with a 340 watt capacity, were installed in May of 2017 to augment power usage for the building. The system is estimated to produce as much as 68,498 kWh of energy per year – or approximately 21% of the building’s annual energy consumption. Over the 30-year lifetime of the solar voltaic installation, it is estimated over 1,250 tonnes of greenhouse gases will be avoided. You can view the live system data here.
Waste Management Centre
A 78kW solar photovoltaic system consisting of 231 panels has been installed on the roof of the Waste Management Centre located at 102A Bow Valley Trail. The solar system will help save emitting almost 1300 tonnes of greenhouse gases over it's lifespan. You can view the live system data here.
The system is the largest in the Bow Valley, consisting of 931 panels and producing 372.4 kW of power. The system offsets approximately 24% of the power usage at Elevation Place. This system reduces the town's Green House Gas (GHG) emissions by 226 tons of CO2 annually and is an important step towards reducing GHG emissions by 50% in 2030. You can view the live system data here.
Canmore Rooftop Solar Report
In an effort to increase awareness and understanding of Canmore’s potential to generate solar energy, the Town commissioned a study to evaluate the solar potential of the community. To view the full report pdf click here (3.24 MB)
Highlights of the report include:
- Solar Potential in Canmore: If solar was adopted on every building in town approximately 42,000 MWh/yr of electricity generation would be produced. Annually this is equivalent of taking 8,600 vehicles off the road and would reduce greenhouse gasses by over 40,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
- Residents have a significant role to play: 75% of the community is zoned for residential development, so the citizens of Canmore truly have the ability to make a difference, and could offset approximately 64% of their electricity use with solar.
- Rooftop Geometry and Design Verses Valley Location: Roof top geometry and roof design have significantly more impact on solar potential than location within the valley - that is, the design of the roof of the house is typically more important than the location of the house. The impact of mountain shading is not as significant as one would think.
- Canmore Solar Potential Versus Other Areas with High Solar Uptake: Neighbourhoods in the northeast (Silvertip) tend to have better solar production potential, and this gradually lessens as you travel toward the southwest of Canmore (Peaks of Grassi). However southern Alberta, including Canmore, has higher solar insolation (W/m2) than the capital cities of Germany and China (the countries with the most installed solar capacity worldwide). Even Canmore's least productive neighbourhoods still have relatively high potential.
- New Development: New development presents a one-time opportunity to harness solar energy efficiently. The most efficient way to utilize rooftop solar energy is to design rooftops to accommodate solar arrays that have southern exposure, are somewhat flat with minimal dormers, and have continuous roof space with minimal penetrations or chimneys. Building new homes that incorporate best practices for solar design is relatively inexpensive and enables homeowners to optimize this valuable resource for the life of their home.