Climate & Energy

The City of Nelson has a long history of leadership and innovation in reducing emissions and building resiliency to a changing climate – dating back to 1896 with BC’s first hydroelectric green energy plant and the birth of Nelson Hydro.  

Today, we provide renewable electricity to over 10,000 customers, offer on-bill financing for home energy retrofits and E-Bikes, and have developed Canada’s first community solar garden. We also continue to build infrastructure and programming to address our most urgent climate risks, such as wildfire, extreme heat, windstorms, and debris flood. 

climate targets

Strategic Direction

In 2020, Mayor and Council approved a comprehensive climate plan titled Nelson Next. This plan contains the most ambitious climate targets in Canada and outlines seven aspirational goals designed to ensure Nelson is a safe, low carbon, and future-ready community.  

This plan takes a complementary approach to climate action focusing both on decreasing greenhouse gas emissions (mitigation), and ensuring we are prepared for climate change (adaptation).  

To most effectively reduce our carbon emissions, we are targeting our three largest sources: transportation, buildings, and waste. 

Transportation - banner

Transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Nelson. We are working hard to ensure our community is ready for the future by building safe and accessible bike lanes, creating secure bike storage, offering up to $8,000 of financing for Nelson homeowners to purchase an E-Bike, and much more.  

For those with electric vehicles, the City of Nelson has EV charging stations at several locations, including Railtown, Lower Hall Street (at the corner of Lakeside Drive), and at the Nelson & District Community Complex.  

Learn more about the E-Bike Financing Program here

Caring for our Infrastructure and Roadways

Caring for our infrastructure and roadways is also a key part of ensuring Nelson continues to be a safe and active community.  

From making sure our roadways and sidewalks are well-lit, keeping our roads and bike routes free from snow in the winter, and administering the Angel Program to support seniors and residents with disabilities, we’re making sure our roads and sidewalks are safe for everyone year-round.  

How you can help:  

  • Hop on the bus, grab your bike, or walk to your destination 
  • Take advantage of the E-Bike Financing Program 
  • Turn off your car engine to avoid idling 
  • Consider a Kootenay Car Share membership rather than owning a vehicle 
  • Carpool to your destination  
  • Make sure you keep the sidewalk in front of your home clear from leaves and snow so others can walk safely
Buildings - banner

Buildings and their construction have a big impact on our natural environment. That’s why the City of Nelson is working collaboratively to ensure commercial and residential buildings across our Region are low-carbon and resilient to climate change.   

Regional Energy Efficiency Program  

Through our Regional Energy Efficiency Program we help homeowners access low-interest financing and other support to save money on their energy bills and decrease the climate impact of their homes. Nelson residents can borrow up to $16,000 and repay it on their Nelson Hydro electric bills, while other residents in the RDCK can access low-interest loans through local credit unions in the region. The program is also working toward helping homeowners and builders choose low-carbon materials for new homes and energy upgrades. 

Learn more about the Regional Energy Efficiency Program here.  

Embodied Carbon  

Embodied carbon refers to the greenhouse gas emissions produced through the manufacturing, transportation, installation, maintenance, and disposal of building materials. Check out this four-page brief if you want to learn more about embodied carbon and the goals of the Low Carbon Homes Pilot.   

To ensure that buildings in Nelson are prepared for the future, we are conducting cutting-edge research into reducing embodied carbon through the Low Carbon Homes Pilot. With support from FortisBC and the City of Castlegar, the City of Nelson created the Low Carbon Homes Pilot in early 2021 to complement our energy efficiency programming and begin to find ways to reduce embodied carbon within our building sector.  

Wildfire Resilient Buildings  

Our community is at risk of wildfire. We encourage all residents to book a FireSmart assessment of their property to find out what measures they can take to reduce the risk to their home and community. We are also working to provide community members with a list of FireSmart building materials that are also low carbon.  

How you can help:  

  • Retrofit your home to save money and maximize energy efficiency  
  • Building a new home? Consider choosing low-carbon building materials  
  • Book a FREE FireSmart Home Visit to receive a risk evaluation to ensure your home and property are safe in case of wildfire  
  • Familiarize yourself with our Wildfire Design Guidelines 
  • Did you know peak power draw for Nelson Hydro customers is between 5-7pm? Reducing our electrical consumption between peak hours will ultimately save all customers money by reducing the peak demand fees charged by FortisBC, our wholesale power supplier
Waste - banner

All of us make decisions every day that impact how much garbage we send to the landfill. The City of Nelson is taking steps to help reduce waste, enhance the circular economy, and improve our waste management services.   

Curbside Recycling  

We are actively diverting waste from the landfill. Learn about the City of Nelson’s recycling program here.

Not sure what should go in your blue bin? Access the single- and multi-family residential Recycling Guide here.  

Organics Diversion

We are currently developing Canada’s first residential pre-treated organics diversion program. Through the program, residents will receive an in-home appliance that mash and m dehydrate food scraps, transforming them into an odourless soil amendment. 

This program delivers on a priority tactic within our Nelson Next Climate Plan to implement a cost-effective, city-wide, organics diversion program.  

For the latest information on our upcoming Organics Diversion Program click here. Your Participation Matters.

Organics Waste for Website

How you can help:

  • Take steps to reduce food waste  
  • Reconsider what you buy and what you throw away 
  • Make sure to correctly sort your recycling and ensure only things that can’t be recycled make it into your garbage can  
  • Avoid single-use items by bringing your own takeaway container or grocery bag  
  • Stay up-to-date on our upcoming Organics Diversion Program by visiting