Being Visionary in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia

Town of Bridgewater's Energy Plan is working.

Town of Bridgewater’s Energy Plan is working.

Here’s a success story that is dear to my heart: Bridgewater, NS. Ten years ago, my biz partner and I approached Leon de Vreede, Sustainability Planner for Bridgewater, about an idea for a deep energy retrofit program for houses to be piloted in Bridgewater. We knew his title would make our idea interesting. He liked it, and we worked up a presentation for council, but, well, it was a little too early in their process for anyone to buy in. Truth be told, it was also too early in our process.

Fast forward to 2017, and now, we’re involved with Clean Net Zero, a Deep Energy/Net Zero Retrofit project headed by Clean Foundation, funded by Natural Resources Canada, and ‘hosted’ by the Town of Bridgewater.

Looking to the Future

Clean Net Zero is happening in Bridgewater because there’s vision there. Lots of vision. Plus passion, intelligence, and political will. The town has a 35-year energy plan in place. Here’s some current results from that plan, published on, 1 Dec 2017:

Targets set in 2013, to be met by 2019:

  • Energy consumption for Municipal buildings reduced by 25%
  • Greenhouse gas emissions from Municipal buildings reduced by 25%

Results in 2017:

  • Only 4% more reductions in energy consumption to meet 2019 target
  • Greenhouse gas emissions cut by 31% already.

The Town has saved CAD$200,000 in energy costs.

Looking Past Bridgewater

It looks like Leon de Vreede, his team and town council have developed a blueprint for a successful long range energy plan for municipalities. Here’s proof:

Bridgewater Mayor, David Mitchell, attended the Michelin Cities conference in France (Nov 25 – Dec 1 2017). The conference hosts all the communities in the world that have a Michelin plant. He gave a presentation there on the Energize Bridgewater program and sent this news back to his team:

“This afternoon I attended an international press conference of the Mayors for the network of Michelin cities. Media was there from all over the world. This is a direct quote from the delegate from India.

Never did I think I would come to this conference representing the eight million people of my city and have one of our major problems solved by the town of Bridgewater with only 8500 people but their energy plan did just that…

The Energize Bridgewater session was the most well attended of the sessions and from India to Oklahoma, they have questions and see solutions in our plan. We should all be proud of this. It proves the plan is solid. That our community is on the right path and that we will be a resource for the globe going forward. I cannot tell you how proud I am to represent Bridgewater.”

Way to represent, Mayor Dave!

About the Author

Shawna Henderson is CEO of two companies: Blue House Energy, providing online training for the homebuilding industry, and Bfreehomes Design, providing research, design, and consulting services for Net Zero Energy new construction and retrofit projects in Atlantic Canada and beyond.