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Energy Specialist Targets Carbon Emissions in the RDKB

Freya Philips. Submitted photo

The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary has hired a new Senior Energy Specialist.

Freya Phillips hails from Rossland via the United Kingdom and Australia and arrived at the RDKB Trail office on August 12. In a scant few weeks, she has established relationships with other local government energy specialists in the Central Kootenay region, begun research into which businesses and residents could readily benefit from FortisBC rebate programs targeted at reducing energy consumption, and toured a number of RDKB facilities where energy efficiency programs are underway or in the planning stages.

“This position is a great opportunity to combine my experience in the energy sector and climate change policy with my interest in sustainable energy technologies and collaboration,” said Phillips. “It combines a whole bunch of skills from engineering, change management and project management, and there are numerous parallels to the work I’ve done in the UK and Australia. I am keen to use what I’ve learned to help the region meet its greenhouse gas reduction targets.”

Phillips, a mechanical engineer by training, has been working for over 25 years on projects in the industry sector, many of those related to carbon reduction and energy efficiency. She has specialized in engaging business, government and communities toward a common goal of consuming less energy.

The new position is funded for the next two years through the FortisBC Climate Action Partner Program. Objectives that will guide Phillips’ work include implementing an RDKB greenhouse gas reduction plan and promoting community engagement towards a low carbon future. This includes corporate and community participation in FortisBC programs related to conservation and energy management, low carbon transportation and renewable natural gas.

The program and the new position will help the RDKB and FortisBC move closer to meeting climate action commitments while they help residents, businesses and municipalities save energy, reduce costs and become more resilient to impacts on electrical and gas utilities and other critical infrastructure from things like extreme weather associated with climate change.

“I wholeheartedly welcome Freya to the RDKB team and am very pleased we have her expertise to help implement our community and corporate climate change and energy reduction plans. The RDKB is completely dedicated to reducing our carbon footprint and I think we’re headed in the right direction. Freya definitely has the right skills to help us get there,” said RDKB Environmental Services Liaison and Board Vice-Chair Grace McGregor. 

“We appreciate the work RDKB is doing to foster energy-efficiency in their community and the opportunity to contribute to these shared goals,” said Dana Wong, public policy manager, FortisBC. “Having Freya on staff will help the RDKB develop a tailored approach to climate policy and connect local initiatives to our incentive programs in a way that is uniquely suited to the needs of their community.”

RDKB Climate Facts

The joint Provincial-UBCM Green Communities Committee (GCC) recognizes the RDKB as a climate leader for achieving Level 3, the second highest level in a four-level program toward becoming fully carbon neutral.

GCC Level 3 recognition means the RDKB has accelerated its progress on commitments to act at the corporate and community levels to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG).

The RDKBreports its GHG results to the GCC and the public through the RDKB Corporate Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory and the annualClimate Action Revenue Incentive (CARIP) Report.

Since 2012, the RDKB has steadily reduced emissions by about 46 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (tC02e), or the carbon sequestered by about 21 hectares of forest each year.

To date, this downward trend in emissions is due to greenhouse gas reduction programs and policy, a household green bin (kitchen scraps collection) program in the Boundary and installation of electric vehicle charging stations through Accelerate Kootenays.