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Letter: New West following through on climate commitments

New Westminster council’s encouragement of low-carbon heating in new homes highlights city’s resolve to help put brakes on climate change.
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New Westminster city hall is walking the climate-action walk, not just talking the talk, says a reader.


The future of New Westminster will be less gassy and more climate friendly! Did you know that, at its July 11 meeting, our city council passed a motion starting in 2023 to incentivize builders of single detached homes to install low-carbon systems (usually electric heat pumps) rather than greenhouse-gas-producing gas furnaces?

Our city declared a climate emergency in 2019 and endorsed the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty in 2021. Now we are “putting our money where our mouth is.” Buildings produce approximately 42 per cent of New West’s emissions so it makes sense to construct them to use only clean electric energy. Heating a family home entirely with gas for a year can emit as much as driving a gasoline car from New Westminster to Halifax THREE TIMES (from The Switch It Up website). An additional benefit is that electric heat pumps also provide cooling similar to air conditioning, helping residents be safe during future extreme heat waves made more frequent by the climate crisis.  What’s next for our city’s climate action? At council’s Aug. 29 meeting, Coun. Nadine Nakagawa will put forth a motion proposing that low-carbon systems be defined as electric only, not gaseous fuels like renewable natural gas (which still produces global warming emissions). Stay tuned for exciting progress.
I, for one, am grateful to our councillors for moving forward more ways to lower our emissions. As a homeowner, it is a cost and inconvenience to “get off the gas” for me. It makes so much more sense to build it right in the first place!

Karen Crosby