Sustainable Action

The City of Medicine Hat values the importance of our natural environment. With sustainability in mind, we implement practices and technologies to safeguard our natural resources and respond to ever-changing climate conditions. Together, we focus on a greener, more resilient future for generations to come.

City Council's strategic priority 6.5 drives our organization's environmental response:

Demonstrate that we value the important role our natural environment (including green infrastructure, ecosystem services, air quality, water quality and security, and biodiversity) plays in our continued economic and community success, including by implementing an Environmental Framework with prioritized strategies and actions. (View Council's Strategic Plan)

The City's Municipal Development Plan, Area Development and Structure Plans, Environmental Framework, and other regulatory, non-regulatory, and strategic plans in collaboration with residents and stakeholder groups will allow the City to work toward an environmentally sustainable future.

This webpage provides a snapshot of the 'state of the environment' for the City of Medicine Hat. We'll add new information as our sustainability efforts evolve.

The Environmental Framework is currently under development and was presented to City Council on December 18, 2023 to confirm priorities.

View the project

Internal efforts

We incorporate environmentally friendly and sustainable options in design, renovation, and construction projects as well as energy efficient options when replacing and managing vehicles and equipment within our facilities.

City departments have taken steps to be eco-conscious in day to day operations. Expand each area to learn how.

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)

The City recognizes Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) as an integral part of the long-term solution for achieving global climate objectives. We are actively investigating the possibility of constructing a carbon capture plant and is an engaged partner in the transition to a sustainable and prosperous future for our community.

Visit our CCS page

Energy efficiencies
  • A cogeneration heat and power unity increases efficiency at the Big Marble Go Centre
  • The HVAC system at City Hall was upgraded in 2019 from pneumatic to direct digital control
  • Upgraded roof, siding and insulation, plus a new HVAC system increased efficiency at the Strathcona Centre (2023)
  • Upgraded roof and siding in the Municipal Works shop (2023) and Parks and Rec building (2023)
  • Replaced windows and doors and upgraded roof and siding at the Medicine Hat Regional Airport terminal and maintenance building (2023)
  • Replaced windows and doors at the Solid Waste shop (2023)
Environmental Framework

We are currently developing an Environmental Framework for adoption in 2024. The plan will guide all activities within the City’s sphere of activity and influence to be performed with sustainability in mind.

Environmental Framework

Health, safety and environmental management system
  • Environmental Incidents Code of Practice (COP)
  • Air Emissions Management COP
Lighting

The City has installed LED lighting upgrades at nine main facilities as well as several smaller facilities.

  • LED lighting in the pool, arena and lobby of Big Marble Go Centre; throughout the Kinplex twin arena; in the Esplanade theatre and house (2023); in the atrium, parkade, stairwells, plaza, and various office spaces at City Hall (2018); 
  • LED lights in three operational office buildings (364 Kipling, Ops Annex bay, Municipal Works shop)
  • Upgraded the Saamis Tepee to RGB LED lighting and installed the same at the Towne Square canopy (2023). The public can reserve coloured lighting at both locations through the "Lighting for a Cause" program.
  • City Hall uses programmable lighting technologies like timers, photo cells, and occupancy sensors, to reduce the use of electricity when spaces are unoccupied.
Power plant

The City of Medicine Hat's power plant uses natural gas and steam powered turbines to produce electricity for residents of Medicine Hat, Redcliff, Dunmore and some of Cypress County.

  • The Unit 16 remote power plant turbine uses the Dry Low Emissions (DLE) Combustor system and NOx control technology, which is considered to be the most effective emission control technology available for this make and model of gas combustion turbine.
  • Unit 17 (commissioned in 2022) uses the same DLE combustion system and NOx control technology, along with selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology which further reduces NOx emissions.
Solar

Solar photovoltaic (PV) systems are in use at the following facilities:

  • Medicine Hat Public Library (4.5 kW) as part of the Alberta Municipal Solar Program in 2016. This was a system upgrade to the 1 kW system installed in 2006. The project was funded by the City's HAT Smart program in partnership with the Municipal Climate Change Action Centre and Terralta.
  • Big Marble Go Centre (6.2 kW) since 2009 and upgraded in 2014.
Trees and vegetation

The City’s tree canopy is a valuable asset which will be conserved and expanded through departmental and municipal policies and plans. The City is committed to maintaining the existing urban forests and is committed to taking steps to expand canopy cover in all viable public spaces.

  • more than 24,000 trees (not including those in the river and creek riparian areas or environmental and conservation reserves) provide cooling benefits (reducing energy use), and remove air-borne pollutants (reducing health care costs and improving air quality).
  • Tree Preservation Bylaw #4218 protects Medicine Hat's urban forest (2014).
  • Tree Protection Design Standards protect City-owned trees and Heritage Trees (2020).
  • Tree Protection Specifications protect trees not designated for removal when surrounded by other construction activities (2020).
  • We plant approximately 150-200 trees annually and implement post-planting care to ensure survival.
  • We are taking steps to establish a Community Orchard Pilot Program.
  • In 2023, the City invested in a full tree count using LiDAR technology to validate the tree canopy within City limits.
Vehicles and fleet

We're charging forward in support of the transition to low-emission and alternate fuel vehicles. The City's fleet includes:

  • two electric passenger vehicles
  • two electric Zambonis
  • one electric forklift
  • two hybrid passenger vehicles
  • one hybrid articulating boom lift
  • 14  buses that run on compressed natural gas (CNG)
  • 10 CNG residential garbage trucks
  • 3 CNG commercial garbage trucks
  • three private electric charging stations
  • four public level 2 chargers in Towne Square
Water
  • RealIce Water Treatment System at Big Marble Go Centre eliminates the need to heat water to flood the ice surface.
Wind energy

The City of Medicine Hat installed three wind turbines in 2014 in partnership with the Box Springs Wind Corporation, a subsidiary of Wind River Power Corporation.

  • Each turbine generates up to two megawatts (MW) of electricity at capacity.
  • The City receives carbon credits from the project, which can be used to offset emissions from the municipally-owned power plant.

Environmental strategy and compliance

We employ staff dedicated to responsible environmental stewardship and sustainability. They develop and implement strategy and process to ensure City-wide compliance with relevant environmental legislation, and collaboratively lead in climate resiliency, carbon mitigation initiatives, and water security measures. 

This group screens all City capital and operating projects to assess compliance on environmental aspects like vegetation, wildlife, surface- and ground-water, soils and terrain, regulatory and other environmental planning requirements, and historical resources. In 2023, we completed 42 Environmental Project Screenings across 11 different City departments.

For the community

Clean Energy Improvement Program (CEIP)

On April 17, 2023, The City passed the Clean Energy Improvement Tax Bylaw #4708 to authorize a Clean Energy Improvement Program in Medicine Hat. Medicine Hat’s residential CEIP is currently being designed and is expected to launch in 2024 in partnership with Alberta Municipalities.

CEIP

Electric vehicle chargers 

In 2023, we installed four level 2 chargers, each with 8.3 kW capacity, in Medicine Hat's Towne Square at 603 First Street SE.

Electric Vehicles 

Food Waste Collection Pilot Program
Landfills are one the highest contributors of methane gas emissions, which is over 80 times more harmful to the environment than carbon dioxide. Food waste typically makes up 35% of household garbage materials. That's why we're piloting a curbside food waste collection program! We'll divert that food waste from the landfill and make it into a beneficial compost product. 

Food waste pilot

HAT Smart

HAT Smart offers incentives to help property owners and builders make environmental and energy-conscious upgrades when renovating existing residences or constructing new homes.

Since 2008, the HAT Smart program has awarded more than 16,500 rebates worth more than $5.8 million, $11,225 in sponsorship and awards, and has supported various large-scale projects throughout the community.

HAT Smart

Home energy self-audit toolkit

Did you know you can check out materials from our local Medicine Hat Public Library to help monitor your household electricity consumption and heat loss? Empower yourself to make positive conservation choices.

Residential recycling

If you have a gray cart, you can get a blue one for recycling too! Divert materials that can be recycled from taking valuable space in our landfill.

Residential recycling collection

Trees and vegetation

The Tree Subsidy and Incentive Program promotes planting trees on private land. Tree Vouchers are available for new properties zoned Residential Low Density (R-LD).

 

Motions

Council-approved motions
This area is under construction.