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Environmental Purchasing Policies and ENERGY STAR® at the City of Richmond

The City of Richmond demonstrates leadership and commitment to environmental values by creating a culture of responsibility in how it operates and does business. With a population of over 165 000, this unique island city located at the mouth of the Fraser River in British Columbia has used its purchasing power to create positive environmental change by improving energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.

In November 2000, the City of Richmond adopted the Environmental Purchasing Policy and Environmental Purchasing Guide, each designed to increase awareness and market development opportunities for environmentally preferred products and services. The Guide encourages environmental characteristics of goods and services to be considered when making purchasing decisions. Specifically, staff is encouraged to consider, among other attributes, products that are energy efficient and qualify for the ENERGY STAR international symbol, which is administered and promoted by Natural Resources Canada's Office of Energy Efficiency. For instance, ENERGY STAR qualified office equipment accounts for approximately 90 percent of computers and monitors and 80 percent of printers in use at City facilities. In addition, approximately 75 percent of copiers and fax machines purchased or leased in the last year meet ENERGY STAR performance levels. In 2001, the Guide won the Environmental Award in the Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators-US Filter awards program for excellence in municipal administration.


The international ENERGY STAR symbol is a simple way for consumers to identify products that are among the most energy-efficient on the market. Only manufacturers and retailers whose products meet the ENERGY STAR criteria can label their products with this symbol. In Canada, Natural Resources Canada's Office of Energy Efficiency administers and promotes the international ENERGY STAR symbol for a wide range of energy-using products sold in Canada.

Look for the ENERGY STAR symbol on product packaging, in product literature and advertising and on products themselves. Ask your local retailer to help you identify products that qualify for the ENERGY STAR symbol so you can begin saving energy and money. For more information, visit the ENERGY STAR Web site at .

Promoting the purchase of ENERGY STAR qualified products is closely tied to the City's Energy Conservation Policy, adopted in February 1991, which demonstrates commitment to the efficient use of energy in the planning and operating of all facilities. The policy requires that life-cycle costs be considered and that high-efficiency products and systems, which will pay for their premium costs within their usable life, be preferred when making purchasing decisions.

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For more information or to download a copy of the City of Richmond's Environmental Purchasing Guide, visit its Web site at

Both policies have been put into action, in part by Richmond incorporating environmental terms and conditions into its tenders and contracts, which require bidders to complete an environmental attributes checklist.

Demonstrated Savings

Retrofitting activities account for most of the City's accumulated electricity savings. The City of Richmond is saving an estimated $85,000 per year by replacing incandescent light bulbs used in traffic lights with light-emitting diode (LED) technology at 160 signalized intersections through its own initiatives and with financial assistance from BC Hydro's Traffic Light program. In recognition of Richmond's LED initiatives, BC Hydro presented the City with a Certificate of Leadership as the first municipality in BC to implement LED traffic signal technology. LED traffic lights consume 90 percent less energy than standard incandescent bulbs, last 6 to 10 times longer and provide increased safety for motorists and pedestrians because of higher luminosity and fewer outages. Traffic signals are included in Canada's list of ENERGY STAR qualified products.

Since 1997, Richmond has implemented lighting retrofits and has installed direct digital controls at various City facilities to control heating, ventilation and air conditioning. The City has also installed occupancy sensors to turn on lights only when needed in dressing rooms and public washrooms in most municipal buildings. It has also replaced existing thermostats with more efficient programmable thermostats. Combined, these actions have reduced energy consumption and maintenance costs and have extended product operating life.

A Recognized Leader

The City has accumulated $500,000 in annual electricity savings since 1997 and has committed to an aggressive target of a further 15 percent reduction over the next four years, relative to 2002 levels. BC Hydro estimates the total reduction in greenhouse gas emissions attributable to Richmond's electrical savings is approximately 1440 tonnes of CO2e.1 In 2003, the City of Richmond became the first Power Smart Certified municipality in British Columbia. The Power Smart Certified classification is a new initiative of BC Hydro to recognize organizations that demonstrate energy efficiency within their industries or sectors. Richmond City Hall reflects its commitment to sustainable design practices, durability and energy efficiency with the help of Natural Resources Canada's Commercial Building Incentive Program (CBIP)2. In 2002, the building was awarded a Governor General's Medal for Architecture.

1 Carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) is a standard measure for greenhouse gas emissions, which include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and sulphur hexafluoride.

2 CBIP offers a financial incentive for the incorporation of energy efficiency features into new building designs. For more information on CBIP, visit the Web site at

Striving to Be the Best

The City plans to implement further energy efficiency improvements in 2003 that will save an additional $40,000 in annual electricity costs. Planned projects include purchasing low-power-consumption flat-screen computer monitors for City staff, installing energy-conserving controls on vending machines in City facilities, and launching an energy awareness campaign for employees. Richmond's goal is to rank among the top 10 percent of municipalities in Canada for energy efficiency.

Contact Information for the City of Richmond

  • Environmental Purchasing Guide: Suzanne Bycraft, Manager, Emergency and Environmental Programs
  • City Facility Retrofits: Phil Hogg, Manager, Facilities Operations and Maintenance
  • Traffic Signal Systems: Jeff Bycraft, Technologist, Transportation

City of Richmond
6911 No. 3 Road
Richmond BC V6Y 2C1
Tel.: (604) 276-4000
Web site:

ENERGY STAR High Efficiency Symbol

For more information on ENERGY STAR®, contact Natural Resources Canada's Office of  Energy Efficiency: Gisèle Maillet, (613) 992-4535 or by e-mail

For tips on energy-efficient products, visit the ENERGY STAR Web site at or the Web site of Natural Resources Canada's Office of Energy Efficiency at

To obtain additional copies of this or other free publications on energy efficiency, please contact

Energy Publications
Office of Energy Efficiency
Natural Resources Canada
c/o S.J.D.S.
Ottawa ON K1A 1L3
Tel.: 1 800 387-2000 (toll-free)
        995-2943 (in the National Capital Region)
Fax: (613) 740-3114

Natural Resources Canada's Office of Energy Efficiency administers and promotes the international ENERGY STAR symbol in Canada.