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Case study

River Market

Total emissions

  • 24% overall reduction!
  • 2013: 186.1 tonnes CO2e
  • 2011: 244.1 tonnes CO2e

GHG reduction highlights

  • 31% reduction: composting & recycling (solid waste)
  • 23% reduction: HVAC optimization (natural gas)

Future initiatives

  • Mechanical air curtains and lighting retrofits

New Westminster’s River Market is a marketplace for the hungry and curious. This 72,000-square feet market on the banks of the mighty Fraser River showcases BC’s best culinary and creative talents. River Market has been measuring its emissions with Climate Smart since 2011.

River Market’s staff has been working – with great success – to reduce emissions primarily from solid waste and natural gas. Perhaps most impressively, these reductions have been achieved despite the fact that the Market has expanded each year.

Based on findings from River Market’s first GHG inventory, Market administration focused on reducing waste generation and increasing recycling efforts. Through the implementation of a composting program and the expansion of their existing recycling program, River Market has achieved an impressive 31% reduction in emissions from solid waste from 2011 to 2013.

The composting program, which began as a four-month pilot and included four participating restaurants, consisted of placing composting containers in each of the restaurants’ kitchens. The pilot resulted in a 13% diversion of the Market’s average monthly garbage by weight. Following the pilot, River Market expanded the program to all food vendors in March 2012. Key to this initiative included communicating with shop owners and managers on how this food waste diversion would reduce common area costs and finding biodegradable packaging and serviceware alternatives. With the “back of house” kitchen composting program in place, River Market has since added food waste bins in addition to paper and mixed containers bins in “front of house” public areas.

The continual management and optimization of its direct digital control (DDC) HVAC system has also been an area of great improvement for River Market. Efforts such as separating day and night time (occupied and unoccupied) temperatures have made a difference. In the two-year period from 2011 to 2013 River Market reduced emissions from natural gas used for heating, cooling, and ventilation by 22.6%.

Overall, these efforts have translated into River Market reducing their total emissions, or ‘carbon footprint’ by 23.8% from 2011 to 2013. River Market’s commitment to carbon reduction is an integral part of the organization’s greater vision, Food 360.

Food 360 works to reconnect the full circle of our food system from harvest (picking herbs in edible gardens), to procurement (buying organic produce), to processing (including specialty foods), to snacking and dining, and finally to turning food waste into soil.

River Market has no plans to slow down their sustainability progress. Future initiatives on the table include mechanical air curtains to reduce heat loss in the winter and air conditioning in the summer, as well as lighting retrofits.

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