Energize Bridgewater is a direct investment in our own community, with energy savings benefiting everyone in Bridgewater. For those struggling to make ends meet, these savings will help reduce that burden.
Mayor David Mitchell
Town of Bridgewater
Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, has a bold idea: by moving the entire community toward efficient, clean energy, we can make the community wealthier and healthier, and improve the environment. Through dramatic improvements in the energy efficiency of its housing stock, commercial buildings, and institutional facilities, the introduction of large-scale renewable energy technologies, and making improvements to transportation systems, Bridgewater can have access to cheaper, cleaner, and more secure local energy.
The Energy Shift explores the implications of achieving GHG reductions consistent with what is required to prevent dangerous climate change–an 80% reduction in GHG emissions by 2050 over 2011 levels.
This Energy Shift requires a major and sustained effort by the Town, the community, businesses and higher levels of government. The Town and its local Partners have already established several programs and activities to create these changes, initiatives that need to be scaled up. In other cases, entirely new solutions are needed to achieve greater progress.
Through its Community Energy Investment Plan, the Town and its Partners are demonstrating that the Energy Shift is technically feasible and economically beneficial, a finding that is both encouraging and inspiring. In short, we are finding new and creative ways to “energize Bridgewater”.
Bridgewater is turning the old and outdated conflict between jobs and pollution, between the economy and the environment, on its head. By investing in the Energy Shift, energy costs can be reduced by 81%, which translates to over $2 billion in energy savings over 33 years.
In this community of 8,600 residents, the Energy Shift can result directly in saving money, creating jobs, and growing the local economy. This is because the community of Bridgewater consumes a tremendous amount of energy, and most of that energy comes from climate-polluting sources. Working with local residents and businesses, the Town has identified countless high-impact opportunities to save energy, particularly because of the number of older buildings in the community and the high cost of energy.
Solutions that generate both financial savings and GHG emissions reductions are no-loss opportunities. Financial savings increase the resources that can be put back into the community and ensure momentum for future energy investments.
The highest investments are the result of the construction of major energy infrastructure, including district energy, solar, wind, and hydroelectricity. The success of these projects will result in sustained economic benefits, including green jobs, increased energy security, and reduced energy costs.
Ending Energy Poverty
More households in Atlantic Canada experience energy poverty than anywhere else in the country, and Bridgewater is no exception. A household lives in a state of energy poverty when it spends more than 10% of its monthly income on energy services. A household does not need to be low-income to experience energy poverty. Utility bills that spike in the winter can catch people unaware and make it difficult to budget. When households are experiencing energy poverty, people may be forced to choose between paying utility bills, buying groceries, or purchasing medication.
By making the investments in the Energy Shift, the community will have access to cleaner, more efficient, more secure, and more affordable energy.
With the Energy Shift, average household energy expenditures can be reduced by 78%, and even more for homes that are converted to Net Zero and Passive house standards.
Through the Energy Shift, energy costs in 2050 are projected to be one quarter of what they would be without these changes, saving the community’s residents and businesses over $2 billion in energy costs over 33 years.
A Low Carbon Community
Faced with the harsh realities of the climate crisis, and the urgent need to transition away from fossil fuels, Bridgewater has chosen to unite all the stakeholders in our community to come to collective solutions.
There is growing recognition that municipalities have a direct influence over the demand for GHG emissions, as well as the pathway to a low or zero carbon future. Through the Energy Shift, Bridgewater will foster and invest into solutions that decarbonize the local economy, resulting in an 80% reduction in climate-polluting greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs).
This requires an integrated approach to infrastructure investments in buildings, transportation, waste treatment and energy provision, to lock in patterns of energy consumption and GHG emissions for fifty years or more.
To achieve energy efficient buildings requires deep energy retrofits and ensuring that new buildings are built to superior energy standards. Developing community-scale energy systems involves creating opportunities to deploy to large scale solar, wind, and hydro generation, as well as district heating and local energy storage systems. Investing in clean and active transportation systems means electrifying the community’s vehicle fleets, introducing autonomous vehicles, expanding public transit and active transportation systems, and increasing land use efficiency.
An integrated, low carbon energy system is tangible and real for citizens at the community scale. Read our Community Energy Investment Plan, or browse our website, to find out how.
The Energy Shift offers energy investment opportunities to all sectors and members of the community, recognizing that each has a unique role to play, and unique skills and abilities to contribute. In order to achieve practical and lasting investments in the Energy Shift, the community will need to find new ways to collaborate, stimulate innovation, and invest financial resources in worthwhile projects, while drawing on new sources of expertise.
Short-term actions have been identified for residents, businesses, organisations and institutions and the Town to provide a foundation for the Energy Shift.
Municipalities have a long history of addressing challenges to improve the quality of life of citizens. The transition to a low carbon economy represents an opportunity to stimulate economic development, improve quality of life, improve public health outcomes, reduce air pollution, reduce GHG emissions and generate new employment opportunities. Find out more about what you can do to help.