ASQ - Energy and Environmental Division

Recognizing the importance of environmental management practices for government operations, the Canadian government has drafted a guidance document to assist a wide variety of government departments in evaluating their environmental performance. An interesting part of the guidance deals with proposed environmental performance measures—a series of performance metrics for indicating the level of environmental action for different attributes. These performance measures are generic in nature and could be readily applied to the private sector.

Through its Environment Canada ministry, Canada has identified 12 key environmental issues: contaminated sites, hazardous wastes, water efficiency, solid waste management, ozone-depleting substances/ halocarbons, fleet management, energy use in facilities, green procurement, storage tanks, releases, wastewater, and greenhouse gas emissions.

Each environmental issue has a corresponding "toolbox" of proposed measures. These indicators reveal the extent to which the environmental issue is addressed and controlled.

Environmental Issue Metric Toolbox of Proposed Measures
Contaminated Sites PI Number of properties that contain Class I sites
%PI Percentage of properties that contain Class I sites
PC Number of properties that contain Class 1, 2, or 3 sites
%PC Percentage of properties that contain Class 1, 2, or 3 sites
S1 Number of Class 1 sites
S2 Number of Class 2 sites
S3 Number of Class 3 sites
SN Number of Class N sites
L Liability
CL Contingent Liability
TL Total Liability
Hazardous Wastes HF Number of hazardous waste facilities
HFC Number of hazardous waste facilities in compliance with regulations, policies, and procedures
%HFC Percentage of hazardous waste facilities in compliance with regulations, policies, and procedures.
Water Efficiency VBA Volume of water used per building area
VPA Volume of water used per property area
VO Volume of water used per occupant
CBA Cost of water supply per building area
CPA Cost of water supply per property area
CO Cost of water supply per occupant
SA Number of buildings subject to a water savings audit
%SA Percentage of buildings subject to a water savings audit
CP Number of building with a water conservation plan
%CP Percentage of buildings with a water conservation plan
Solid Waste Management WG Amount of solid waste generated
WGO Amount of solid waste generated per occupant
CD Cost of solid waste sent to disposal
CDO Cost of solid waste sent to disposal per occupant
WD Amount of solid waste sent to disposal
WDO Amount of solid waste sent to disposal per occupant
DD Amount of solid waste diverted from disposal
%DD Percentage of wasted diverted from disposal
%DSU Percentage of local diversion services utilized
WR Number of buildings with waste reduction programs
%WR Percentage of buildings with waste reduction programs
Ozone-Depleting Substances / Halocarbons TDP Total Ozone-Depleting Potential – Weighted Inventory of Ozone-Depleting Substances
RR Number ODP- weighted reportable ODS releases
AR Amount of ODP-weighted reportable ODS releases
%AR Percentage ODP-weighted reportable ODS releases, based on the total ODP-weighted inventory
OI Number of buildings with ODS inventories
%OI Percentage of buildings with ODS inventories
MP Number of buildings with ODS Management Plans
%MP Percentage of buildings with ODS Management Plans
Fleet Management TV Total Number of vehicles
TK Total fleet kilometers
FC Average fuel consumption
AFV Number of alternative fuel vehicles
%AFV Percentage of alternative fuel vehicles
FFC Fleet fuel costs
FFK Fleet fuel costs per kilometer
Energy Use in Facilities EBA Energy consumed per building area
EPA Energy consumed per property area
EO Energy consumed per occupant
CBA Cost of energy consumed per building area
CPA Cost of energy consumed per property area
CO Cost of energy consumed per occupant
EA Number of buildings which have completed, or are undergoing, an energy audit
%EA Percentage of buildings which have completed, or are undergoing, an energy audit
BER Number of buildings having completed, or currently undergoing, an energy efficiency retrofit
%BER Percentage of buildings having completed, or currently undergoing, an energy efficiency retrofit
ES Amount of energy saved
%ES Percentage of energy saved
Green Procurement GS Number of specifications with green statements
GSL Number of products included in approved green source lists
GE Number of trained, or "green aware" employees with procurement responsibilities
%GE Percentage of trained or "green aware" employees with procurement responsibilities
GP Dollar value of green purchases reported
%GP Dollar value of green purchases as a percent of total procurement budget
Storage tanks ST Total Number of storage tank systems
TC Number of storage tank systems in compliance
%TC Percentage of storage tank systems in compliance
Releases BEP Number of buildings with emergency plans
%BEP Percentage of buildings with emergency plans
PEP Number of properties with emergency plans
%PEP Percentage of properties with emergency plans
NR Number of releases
QR Quantity of releases
Wastewater PWW Number of properties with discharges of untreated wastewater
%PMP Percentage of properties covered by monitoring programs, where monitoring programs are required
%CDG Percentage of properties in full compliance with discharge guidelines
Greenhouse Gas Emissions TGHG Total greenhouse gas emissions
%TGHG Greenhouse gas emissions as a percentage of 1990 levels

Environment Canada’s Web site at www.ec.gc.ca elaborates on these metrics, including information on how they can be applied to environmental management systems as defining indicators, benchmarks, or supplementary references.

With the Canadian government providing guidance on these metrics, environmental managers may be willing to consider applying performance ratios or metrics to their particular systems or processes to reveal levels of performance. From these measures, continual improvement plans and objective targets can be established and retained as evidence of a structured system.

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