Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Reducing Your Carbon Footprint: Home Heating

By: Tyler Linwood

Editor's note: We wrap-up our Reducing Your Carbon Footprint series, inspired and informed by a report from the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario. Previous posts provide advice on reducing your carbon footprint due to our diet, daily travel choices, air travel, home energy, and waste.

Do you remember that ad where the protagonist looks wistfully at the snow outside then asks her smart home assistant to crank up the heat and play her summer playlist? Here's the challenge with the cultural norm that ad sets: home heating systems, and the energy they consume, account for a significant portion of the greenhouse gases that we emit.

In fact, according to Natural Resources Canada, approximately 60% of the energy required to run the average home goes towards space heating and, according to the former Environmental Commissioner of Ontario's office, natural gas is the most commonly used fuel for heating Ontario homes. Natural gas is a fossil fuel, and although its combustion produces fewer emissions than the combustion of coal or oil, it's still a high-carbon fuel source that can contribute to air pollution, water pollution, and environmental degradation in significant ways.

Luckily, there are ways to reduce the amount of emissions that are generated by heating your home.

Find out what can YOU do about it after the jump.

1. Medium steps:
a. Lower your thermostat.
b. Seal leaks and insulate your home to help to decrease the amount of heat that escapes from your home.
c. Upgrade to a high-efficiency furnace or change the heating fuel you use.
2. Big steps: Downsize or share your home. The more people who occupy the same space, the less fuel required to satisfy the heating needs of each person. Condos and apartments in multi-unit (high rise) residential builds also tend to require less fuel as they share common walls, reducing the area that is subjected to weather and other environmental effects.

How does it relate to what the city's doing?
As mentioned in our previous post, 52% of Toronto's greenhouse gas emissions come from homes and buildings, including home energy and home heating and cooling. Read more about the City's plans for reducing emissions from homes and buildings.

Your turn

Achieving these goals won't be possible without you. And we are here to help. Find out about the programs that are available to help green your home or community, including:

Government or utility incentives and rebates
The Home Energy Loan Program
The Eco-Roof Incentive Program - grants to install a green or cool roof on your home
and much more

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