The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) has seen a significant drop in fuel consumption and carbon emissions by its service fleet since the COVID pandemic took hold in March.
The 90-vehicle fleet has used 17 per cent less gas and diesel between January and July 2020 compared to the same period last year, dropping emissions by the same amount, the district’s senior energy specialist, Freya Phillips, confirmed on Tuesday, Aug. 25.
Phillips said the fuel savings came down largely to the district’s decision in March to hold monthly public meetings via Zoom, meaning RDKB directors haven’t been carpooling to Grand Forks and Trail, which normally host the meetings.
Fuel consumption also fell because the pandemic also forced the district to scale back recreational services normally offered at its community centres, sports arenas, and campsites, she added.
She emphasized that the district has kept up fire and rescue services, building inspections, landfill operations and water treatment facilities at pre-COVID levels across most of the region, highlighting that these services are still consuming fuel.
The RDKB signed on to British Columbia’s Climate Action Charter in 2008, which voluntarily commits Victoria and local governments across the province to monitoring, reporting, and reducing carbon emissions.
The district’s emissions in 2019 were almost half of what they were in 2008, said Phillips.
She explained that it would be exceedingly difficult to determine how much money the fuel reduction has saved the district because the cost of fuel has fluctuated wildly over the period.
The RDKB will publish comprehensive statistics for its fuel consumption and carbon emissions in June 2021, she said.