By measuring its water and carbon footprints, Quito is developing tailor-made, cost-effective policies and projects that help the city develop sustainably while reducing its climate impact.

The Challenge

Rising temperatures, decreased rainfall, and more frequent extreme weather events are forcing Quito to more efficiently manage its energy and water use. The carbon and water footprint measurement tool helps city officials sculpt policies and projects that will lower Quito’s energy use. Quito plans to expand these mechanisms to the private sector in the coming years to make an even greater impact on the city’s carbon and water footprints.

The Solution

In Quito, Ecuador, the use of carbon and water footprint assessment tools led the city to develop a targeted Action Plan of initiatives to lower its CO2 emissions and water use. The plan is divided into two “portfolios.” The carbon portfolio includes actions that reduce Quito’s CO2 emissions by 20% by 2032. As one of the many initiatives planned to achieve this goal, Quito will complete a landfill biogas project that will reduce CO2 emissions by almost 5.5 million tons each year. Other initiatives include the creation of solar power plants, which will avoid the generation of 1.42 million tons of CO2 emissions annually.

Similarly, in order to avoid the use of 1.5 billion m3 of water by 2032 – cutting the city’s water footprint by 68% – Quito is instituting policies that promote the use of water efficient appliances, ecological toilets, vacuum systems, and water reuse. Through these carbon and water footprint tools, the city is demonstrating how to translate energy assessments and observations into customized and measureable targets and policies.

Environmental Benefits – The city aims to outfit all 223,000 public light fixtures with energy efficient LED lights by 2020.

Social Benefits – Improving communication and engagement between municipal departments and the public is the most cost-effective method of achieving many of the city’s carbon and water targets.

Economic Benefits – The planned landfill biogas plant and the promotion of hybrid and electric vehicles represent the greatest cost-benefit payoff of projects seeking to lower Quito’s carbon footprint.

About Cities100

Presented by C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40), Sustainia and Realdania – Cities100 showcases leading solutions to urban climate challenges in ten sectors, ranging from solid waste management to transportation.

Available online and in print, Cities100 provides stakeholders an accessible format to explore achievable solutions for climate action in cities, and will be a useful tool for relevant groups ranging from impact investors and development organizations, to mayors and city governments.  You can access the full Cities100 2015 publication online here.

  • Economic
  • Environmental
  • Social
Key Impact
In 2011, transportation accounted for 56% of Quito’s carbon footprint. Through the footprint assessment project, the city is creating programs that encourage active transit, such as Bici Quito, the city’s bike-share system
Emissions Reduction
4 million tCO2 reduced by 2032 as part of the footprint assessment project
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