From 2019 to 2020 the biggest proportion of GTHA emissions came from our existing building stock, more than 90% of which was from on-site space- and water-heating requirements (TAF, 2020). At Green Venture, one of our core mandates is to help our community members make their day-to-day lives greener to reduce emissions. One way we do this is by providing expert guidance on home retrofits to ensure maximum energy efficiency for money spent.
In this blog entry, I would like to recap some of the topics that our community members have brought up, and where we think future retrofits & rebates should be in accordance with Hamilton’s net-zero carbon emissions targets for 2050.
The Home Energy Rebate by Enbridge and the Canada Greener Homes Grant by Natural Resources Canada are the first steps in helping Canadian homeowners to become more sustainable. Although some community concerns have surfaced regarding homeowners experiencing long wait times during the programs, these Energuide energy evaluations are required to understand how a home uses energy and to help individuals identify upgrades to improve energy efficiency in the home in the most impactful way.
Acknowledging that 75% of the city’s current housing stock is expected to remain in use by 2050, there is a great number of homes that need to be evaluated in order to maximize energy efficiency throughout Hamilton. Chances are that you’re a resident or homeowner of one of these homes, so you matter to our city’s future!
During our discussions last week (Speak up for Climate Action hosted by Action 13 and Energy Retrofits, Rebates & Carbon Calculator with Project Neutral), homeowners were impressed with the roadmap these evaluations provide. Others shared how they proceeded with renovations after their initial assessment. On average, Energuide evaluations are encouraging and enabling homeowners to take on two or more conservation measures, such as air sealing, attic/blown wall insulation, and high-efficiency space and water heating.
Looking to our emission targets for 2050, we believe that we need more complementary programs that enhance the impact of these existing initiatives. We need to begin tackling both building envelope and HVAC oriented retrofits and unlock the funding necessary for these projects. Giving homeowners more incentives is necessary for us to reach this goal.
We challenge all homeowners to prioritize their goals when it comes to home energy use. Whether you are hoping to help the environment, reduce your monthly energy and insurance costs, support our local economy, make your home more comfortable, or raise your property value, homeowners benefit from staying informed and talking more about these issues to encourage more funding opportunities for deeper home improvements.
The technologies for effective deep energy retrofits already exist here in Canada. Find out more by reading about the PEER project inspired by Energiesprong from the Netherlands.
Toward the end of our discussion, we learned about the real-life barriers and opportunities that homeowners and residents like you are facing. Barriers include a lack of awareness of energy efficiency measures, a lack of incentives like funding and rebates, a willingness to undergo fuel switching, and the need for further auditor training and availability of qualified contractors.
The opportunities, on the other hand, are achievable and have already been implemented in certain places.
Opportunity to scale up:
- Green Venture to perform ~200 Energuide pre & post assessments each year
- Impact indicators can include co-benefit measures of retrofit investment and savings
- Train four more advisors to join the Green Venture team in 2022
- Neighborhood-scale retrofits
- Other financial incentives (Low Interest Loans)
- Customer service delivery
- Access to contractors
- Recognition programs and more community discussions
We ask that you keep talking about building emissions and climate wherever you have influence.
We ask that you dedicate more attention to this and do as much as you can, as fast as you can.
We ask that you remember what truly matters: education and collective action.