Victoria, British Columbia
Victoria, British Columbia, plans to be carbon-neutral by 2012. Its Dockside Green project brings that goal closer to realization. The environmentally sustainable plans for Dockside Green combine residential, commercial, light industrial and green space on 15 acres (roughly 0.06 square kilometers) of harbor-front land.
How will Dockside Green achieve its goal to be the first carbon-neutral community in North America? Through a combination of green solutions for buildings, transportation, energy and waste treatment.
Let's begin with buildings: Those of Dockside Green are being constructed with reclaimed wood from forests that were submerged by reservoirs. Energy-efficient appliances and fixtures (such as motion-sensing light switches), green roofs (rooftop gardens), and carbon footprint monitors (that allow residents to track their heat, energy and water use over time) are outfitted inside homes.
It's unlikely you'll find a car or two parked in driveways, either. Residents of Victoria, and now Dockside Green, take part in a clean-fuel and hybrid car-sharing program (even the cars are Smart). In addition, Dockside Green plans include bike and pedestrian paths, subsidized public transit and a harbor ferry.
Energy and waste treatment will be self-contained within Dockside Green. One hundred percent of waste will be treated on-site, and the treated water will be reused to flush toilets and irrigate gardens. A biomass-gasification plant will turn wood waste into energy for heat and hot water.
This innovative green community is under way currently, with the first of three neighborhoods opening in 2009. Upon completion, the entire community will be home to about 2,500 people.