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Energy Efficiency

The City works to better align planning functions with energy impacts in order to help build a more energy-efficient community, and encourages residents to work​ towards conserving their personal energy use.​

​​​Community Energy & Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan

On March 28, 2022, Barrie City Council approved the Community Energy & Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan. The plan includes actions and strategies for improving energy efficiency and reducing community wide Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions.​ The plan is called Inspiring Climate Action in Barrie and is broken into sections:

The plan was developed with extensive public and stakeholder engagement. A Stakeholder Advisory Group was established, comprised of membership representing local conservation authorities, school boards, utility companies, Council, City staff, environmental organizations, local health care services, post-secondary institutions, and the construction & development industry. Staff also engaged the public through multiple surveys and virtual public information meetings. ​

Energy Management

In 2018, the City spent $9 million on utilities. To manage these costs, the energy management branch is mandated to reduce energy and water consumption for all City operations, including facilities, parks, water and wastewater infrastructure.

Actions are driven by a Council-adopted Energy Management Plan, which p​rovides a framework to conserve energy and water.

Hydro rates have risen steadily over the years, which has a major financial impact on the City’s budget. Barrie is mitigating these increases by reducing energy and water consumption through conservation initiatives. Since the inception of the energy management branch, the City has realized a cost avoidance of $6.64 million.

Annual Reporting

The City is required to report annually on its energy consumption and associated greenhouse gas emissions by facility and post the report publically. These reports are available within the Downloads section of this page.

Recent Energy Conservation Achievements

Wastewater Optimization Group - Wastewater Operations

The Wastewater Optimization group was established in September 2017. This group is a combination of staff from wastewater operations, vertical infrastructure planning, energy management... and more! 

Highlights of the Wastewater Optimzation Group to date

  • reduced utility costs (water/electrical) by $2.94 million dollars.
  • reduced water consumption by 400,000 m3 (equal to 1000 pools)
  • reduced electrical consumption by 1.4 million kilo-watt hours (kWh)
  • avoided emitting 96 tonnes of CO2 emissions​​
Mayor’s Megawat​t Challenge Award Recipient – City Hall 

The City was awarded by the Mayor’s Megawatt Challenge (MMC) Program in November 2018. The award recognizes municipalities that reduce energy consumption by 10% year over year. City Hall exceeded this threshold by achieving an energy reduction of 16%.

Esta​blishme​​nt of Water Optimization Group 

Water Operations and Energy Management staff launched an optimization team that works to identify conservation opportunities at the Water Treatment Facilities. The latest project reduced electricity consumption by 20% through January and February 2019, realizing a cost avoidance of $20,000.

East Bayfield Community Centre (80 Livingstone St. E.)

Operational efficiency at this recreational facility has been significantly improved since replacing the building automation system. The team optimized the original ground source geothermal system to significantly improve energy efficiency. This has reduced electricity consumption 8% from 2017, generating a $43,000 cost avoidance. 

LED Streetlight Conversion Project Update

In 2015 the City converted over 10,000 streetlights to LEDs (light emitting diodes), the energy conservation initiative cost $4.8 million to complete and the City received an incentive for $969,000 from the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO). In 2016 there was a 45% (3,000,000+ kWh) reduction in electricity consumption resulting in $575,000 of avoided energy cost; this savings has continued annually.

FAQs: LED Streetlight Conversion Project
Do LED lights give off less light?

The level of lighting provided by the LED lights remains the same as previous lights. It was not the City's intent to increase light levels on city streets; light levels were maintained or reduced to the standard RP-8. LED street lights provide a safer light source with better visibility to both pedestrians and motorists. They offer better clarity and improve the ability to identify colours at night.

Roadway lighting criteria is governed by the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America standard RP-8-14 and this project is designed to meet this criteria.

The LED Streetlight Conversion Project included a change from a drop glass fixture to a flat glass fixture, which changes how light is distributed on the roadway and associated area. This change supports the cities design criteria of being "Dark Sky Compliant" and preventing light from trespassing onto adjacent spaces where it is not intended to be. 

The primary purpose of roadway lighting is to provide drivers the ability to navigate roadways safely and recognize objects or pedestrians within the road allowance; the intent is not to provide perimeter lighting for homeowners (in fact it is discouraged and often a source of complaints). 

Please note: Pedestrian lighting systems are a separate set of poles and fixtures at reduced heights/spacing and are reserved for areas with high pedestrian volume, downtown, or where pedestrian security is an issue (ie. sidewalks tunnels or alleyways).

How were the streetlights replaced?

Within 4 zones, areas that had the oldest street lights were revamped first to avoid older lights from malfunctioning.

What wavelength/colour temperature (°K) are the LED lights?

The light colour is a cool white (not a daylight). Glare and other factors were fully considered.

What are the environmental benefits of LED lights in comparison to the previous lights?

The estimated energy savings of 5,423,256 kWh per year is equivalent to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 542 metric tonnes per year. The amount of greenhouse gas emissions that will be reduced each year is equivalent to the amount of carbon sequestered by 14,000 tree seedlings grown for ten years.

LED is a more environmentally-friendly option: it contains no mercury and lasts four times longer (four high-pressure sodium bulbs would need to be disposed of properly for every one LED recycled).

How do streetlights turn on/off?

Streetlights are controlled by an individual photo cell which turns the lights on/off based on light levels present, so lights turn on when it gets dark and off when it gets light.

How were the old lights disposed?

All of the old lights will be recycled in an IESO-licensed recycling facility

How do I report a burnt-out streetlight?

Residents should report burnt out streetlights to 705-739-4255 or

Reduce Your Energy Consumption

Energy consumption from fossil fuels (oil, natural gas and coal) is directly related to the creation of greenhouse gases. By reducing your energy consumption, you can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save money on your energy bill. Consumption consists of 2 components: 1. the amount of energy the device uses when turned on; 2. the amount of time the device is on. 

Household Energy Conservation Tips
Use energy-efficient devices
Replace devices with ones that use less energy by switching to a smaller, more efficient devices:
  • energy star appliances
  • high-efficiency furnaces or water heaters
  • low flow toilets
  • CFL lights
Keep devices on for short periods of time
  • turn devices off when not in use (lights, TV, computers etc.
  • Use a programmable thermostat to lower temperatures when a home is unoccupied
  • reduce heat loss by insulating or caulking and weather-stripping (furnace, A/C will run less)
  • maintain your appliances properly (clean filters, and coils, yearly tune ups by professionals)

Appliances use approximately 15% of the energy consumed in our homes and are responsible for approximately 7.5% of the green-house gas emissions for each Canadian.

  • Generally, the larger the appliance, the more energy it uses so ensure you buy the right sized appliances for your needs.
  • Maintain your appliances properly (clean filters, and coils, yearly tune ups by professionals).
  • Turn off your appliances when they’re not in use and ensure you buy the most energy efficient type. Energy star-rated appliances are your guarantee that the product is energy efficient.
  • Some small appliances such as TVs, DVD players, Satellite decoders, and computer monitors continue to consume power even when turned off and should be shut-off with a power bar (if recommended by manufacturer).
  • Save up to $125 a year on your electricity costs by getting rid of your old, energy guzzling fridge or freezer. PowerStream offers free Fridge And Freezer pickup (conditions apply).
Use renewable power

You can purchase green, non-polluting power from various electrical re-sellers including Bullfrog PowerDirect Energy and Ontario Power Generation.

The Provincial Government began a small scale residential renewable energy purchase program in 2009 called the Micro-fit Program. This program allows residents and organizations to install renewable power systems up to 10 kW in size and generate revenue!

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