Mr. Chair, thank you for the opportunity to appear and speak about the greening government strategy. I am happy to share with you the important work we are undertaking at Public Services and Procurement Canada, or PSPC, to green government operations and ensure a more environmentally sustainable future.
If we, as a country, government and people are serious about moving toward a greener future that, among other things, does not depend on non-renewable greenhouse gas emitting carbon-based fuels, then we need to make some fundamental changes in the way we work, live and how we make real property investment decisions. We also need to change the way we think about energy, where it comes from, how efficiently we use it, and whom we share it with.
Buildings are significant emitters of greenhouse gases, contributing 23% of GHG emissions in Canada. As providers of office accommodation to the Government of Canada and as a major provider of real property services to other government custodians, with about $1.88 billion in operations in 2017-18, PSPC is in a unique position to both influence and have a direct impact on the greening of government operations and the reduction of GHG emissions by the federal government.
PSPC is in the midst of a fundamental shift in how we make real property investment decisions. We are applying a whole-of-government, portfolio-based approach to our real property assets that allows us to prioritize and allocate resources, so that we can make smarter, more sustainable investment decisions for the best long-term value for Canadians. This approach will give PSPC an even greater ability to enable our tenants to serve Canadians well, and to deliver on our greening government strategy commitments.
PSPC sees tremendous opportunity to deliver on big government objectives, such as smart portfolio investments, greening infrastructure and climate resiliency, modernizing the public service, leveraging technology and realizing socio-economic benefits for all Canadians. We can do this by shifting away from transactional decision-making, and instead apply national portfolio objectives and strategies in how we approach all of our public sector real property decisions.
Greening is one of the main criteria we use to evaluate our assets and prioritize our investments. Traditionally, the main considerations in real property projects were health and safety, followed by building code compliance. Now, greening is increasingly important, both as a criterion on its own and as a key element in ensuring the health and safety of our building occupants.
Additionally, a new model for accrual budgeting, combined with a component-based accounting approach to our Crown-owned assets, will allow us to amortize our green investments and factor long-term energy savings into the project cost options analysis process.
Reducing our environmental footprint is one of PSPC's top priorities. How tenants leverage the space in our infrastructure also has a major impact on GHG emissions. As a result, we've already implemented a variety of initiatives to reduce the carbon footprint of our GC workplaces, including the move towards optimizing our space usage. We are promoting a reinvented GC workplace that integrates activity-based working, alternative working arrangements, unassigned seating, and location-based co-working hubs with hotelling spaces. We are modernizing the public service and leveraging technology to influence the GC work culture and facilitate a healthier, greener and more sustainable environment.
We have also implemented numerous initiatives to lower the energy consumption and GHG emissions of our federal buildings, so much so that PSPC has already exceeded the greening government strategy's target of a 40% reduction in GHG emissions by 2030. PSPC achieved and reported a 54% reduction in GHG emissions in 2017, compared to 2005, for its Crown-owned assets. Because of this success, our plans are even more ambitious for the future. In fact, PSPC hopes to surpass the 2050 target of an 80% reduction, by achieving a carbon-neutral portfolio by 2050.
A point of personal pride for me is that PSPC is the first department to both set a target and to complete a national carbon-neutral portfolio plan in support of our commitment to a low-carbon government. Recognizing that the most efficient unit of energy is the one that you don't use, the first priority of PSPC's carbon-neutral portfolio plan is to reduce energy consumption through a variety of measures.
We now have over 340 energy-efficiency and GHG-reduction projects approved and being implemented across the country. These include smart buildings, deep energy/carbon building retrofits, boiler replacements and building envelope upgrades in our Crown-owned portfolio. These smaller projects are in addition to major investment in district energy in the national capital area.
We've already seen impressive returns on the smart buildings initiative, which used real-time data analytics to drive energy and carbon reduction. We'll see further reductions from the modernization of the district energy system under the energy services acquisition program. These projects are making our assets more efficient, resilient and environmentally friendly.
Additionally, PSPC is working with provincial and territorial partners to develop nationally consistent green-lease clauses that will leverage energy, GHG and waste reduction opportunities in our leased portfolio and provide green leadership to the built sector.
There's more work on the way. We already have Energy Star ratings for all our Crown-owned assets, and now we are undertaking major portfolio, building and engineering asset studies that will inform us on future energy-efficiency and GHG reduction initiatives. There are currently 70 carbon-neutral studies, 140 energy studies, a national carbon-neutral portfolio implementation plan and a deeper greening study for our national capital area energy services acquisition program, or district energy system.
Our second priority is fuel and energy switching to use cleaner sources and on-site renewable energy generation to further reduce the GHG impact of our operations. In provinces such as Quebec, Manitoba and British Columbia, the switch from natural gas to hydro electricity for certain energy needs is a potential easy win. In other areas, such as Nova Scotia, Alberta and Saskatchewan, we will look at options for switching from traditional fossil fuels to cleaner alternatives such as on-site renewables.
Recognizing that we may not be able to get to a carbon-neutral portfolio on our own, our final priority is to offset any remaining carbon-emitting energy consumption through energy procurement strategies that will help to green Canada's overall public utility infrastructure. These procurement strategies help to stimulate private investment in renewable energy sources across Canada, which is good for our economy, our citizens and the world.
The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat's centre for greening government recognizes that PSPC is well positioned to develop a centre of expertise in this domain. We have already demonstrated our ability to provide green energy services through energy procurement vehicles such as the national bulk natural gas contract and the Alberta bulk electricity contracts.
For fleet vehicles, our department took the initiative of installing electric vehicle charging stations, or EVCS, at the 100 Wellington Street site and at locations in and around the NCA, both in Gatineau and Ottawa, to charge ministers' and deputies' fleet vehicles. To date, PSPC has installed 59 electric vehicle charging stations in PSPC-owned and leased facilities. Also, a PSPC procurement instrument is already in place to allow government access to electric vehicle options when fleet inventory turnover occurs. Another procurement tool is being finalized to facilitate the acquisition of additional EVCS infrastructure.
PSPC has undertaken several initiatives to green public procurement. Specifically, PSPC has optimized internal processes by adopting electronic tools such as electronic bid submission, increased use of electronic signatures, electronic archiving and the electronic procurement solution, as announced in budget 2018.
Additionally, environmental considerations have been included in the procurement instruments for more than 35 commodity groupings. This allows government departments to easily access environmentally preferable goods and services that contribute to government objectives with respect to the environment and climate change. By collaborating with the provinces and territories, we can potentially extend our influence well beyond federal public procurement.
In line with the recently announced ocean plastics charter, we are also working with other departments to examine opportunities to reduce plastic waste from government operations. We are assessing our current procurement volumes and requirements to identify the best science-based alternatives to plastics and to include specific criteria in relevant procurement categories.
On the topic of climate adaptation, PSPC is currently doing a study to assess the climate change vulnerabilities of its assets in the national capital area. This study will identify the climate-related hazards, including extreme weather events, for the land, buildings and engineering assets that PSPC owns. This is a first step toward incorporating climate adaptation measures into the department's asset management plans and policies. In parallel, the parliamentary precinct branch is applying Engineers Canada's Public Infrastructure Engineering Vulnerability Committee protocol to assess climate vulnerabilities specific to the parliamentary campus.
There is also work under way outside the national capital area. For instance, in the Quebec region, the PIEVC protocol will be applied to nine buildings. In Toronto, PSPC is consulting with the city to learn from its 10 years of experience working on climate adaptation requirements for the greater Toronto area. We are also participating in a pilot project to assess the climate resiliency of assets using the climate resilience tool developed by the Building Owners and Managers Association of Canada, or BOMA.
Finally, as a member of the federal government departmental advisory committee on codes, PSPC is also involved in supporting the development of resilient codes and standards.
In conclusion, greening government is achievable. Ultimately, greening is not just about the bottom line of using less energy, but includes socio-economic benefits and long-term effects on the health of our environment beyond the immediate, measurable reductions in space, energy costs or GHG emissions.
We need to move away from looking at things in transactional terms, such as designing a LEED silver or gold building, and instead consider where and how a building fits into an overall portfolio plan that focuses on long-term benefits and best value for Canadians and the community.
How we operate, how we manage and recapitalize our assets and how we invest and innovate—all of those decisions also have a wider influence on the real property sector both at home and abroad. What we do will set the standard and influence others to follow suit.
We have the technology to—