A new report from TAF outlines the carbon emissions and their sources for every city in the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area (GTHA). Across the region, buildings made up the largest source of emissions at 42.8%. Hamilton has the highest per capita emissions in the GTHA – 19.1 tCO2eq per capita compared to an average of 6.9 tCO2eq per capita for the whole region. In Hamilton, buildings represent the second largest source of carbon emissions at 25%, after industry at 58%. The report also details how building emissions vary from year to year with weather, and that the reductions seen are quite minimal once weather is accounted for. What does this mean for climate action in Hamilton?
While it can be difficult for individuals to take direct action to reduce Hamilton’s industrial emissions, lessening the emissions of the building sector is within easy reach for homeowners, and there are rebates available to help bring it within financial reach. Space and water heating make up the largest portion of building emissions, and increased home energy efficiency can greatly reduce the energy burden of these systems. A well-insulated and draftproofed house with a high efficiency furnace and water heater will use significantly less energy than its bare-bones neighbour. Gas and emissions savings will vary depending on the extent of the renovations done and the home’s baseline, but our client’s recent average has been about 850 m3 of gas/year, or 1581 kg of CO2. That is the amount of CO2 that is absorbed by 2.1 acres of forest in one year! The savings are measured annually based on a 25 year expectation – so the lifetime average would be 39 525 kg of CO2, which would require 51.6 acres of forest to absorb in one year. As you can see, increasing your home’s efficiency can have a big impact on carbon emissions and help to tackle the climate emergency.
An EnerGuide home energy audit will measure the home’s current energy score, as well as make recommendations on how to improve it and what that potential new score could be. It looks at the geometry of the house, the heating and cooling systems, the insulation levels, and the air leakage. While an EnerGuide audit can be done as a standalone education piece, we most commonly find people do it in conjunction with the Home Efficiency Rebate (HER) program.
The HER program provides rebates for homeowners who do qualifying home renovations, such as insulation upgrades to the attic, basement, or exterior walls, replacing doors/windows/skylights, or installing a new high efficiency furnace or water heater. There are a few details to keep in mind which are outlined on our EnerGuide Home Energy Audits page. An initial audit ($375 + HST) and a follow up audit ($175 + HST) is required under the program, with a rebate of $550 towards the cost of the audits as well, provided that the program requirements are met.
If you’d like more information about the EnerGuide audits or the Home Efficiency Rebate program, contact Erinn at firstname.lastname@example.org or 905-540-8787 ext. 115.