Energy Efficiency May Be the Answer for Ontario

Published on October 18, 2018

Energy Efficiency May Be the Answer for Ontario

Efficiency Canada, along with the Rocky Mountain Institute, are promoting energy efficiency as a possible answer to the province’s struggle with balancing: energy bills, taxation, sound environmental practices, and the economy. The projected benefits of improving energy efficiency within commercial businesses are severalfold. A noticeable improvement that is being associated with increasing energy efficiency is that it can directly create jobs in crucial sectors such as construction and manufacturing, with Efficiency Canada believing we may even see up to 57,000 jobs created between now and the year 2030.

The expected benefits of improving energy efficiency in commercial and industrial sectors doesn’t end at the creation of more jobs however. As less money is spent on energy due to an increase in efficiency, more money is freed up for businesses to invest in capital investments and human resources - creating a more competitive business market and stimulating the economy.  Additionally, the Rocky Mountain Institute believes the increase in comfort that comes hand in hand with an improvement of energy efficiency is tied to: increased employee satisfaction, a reduction of sick days, and an improvement of employee health & safety.

Energy efficiency is also extremely important in the residential sector, as a reduction in the demand for energy is looking to be cheaper, and even more ‘green’ than investing in renewable resources - a principle that is receiving support from Michael Sabia, the chief executive of the Caisse de Depot et Placements. With a provincial energy efficiency program, it is possible to target citizens who are more impacted by the cost of energy, and to have them see more financial relief from a reduction in their energy expenditures. As insulation, lighting, and heating system retrofits are able reduce energy consumption by up to 20 percent, those who are more strongly affected by energy bills are able to see significant relief through energy efficiency improvements.

Another benefit that can be seen from energy efficiency is an increase of renewable resource effectiveness. In 2017, 26 per cent of electricity generated from wind and solar was curtailed, or wasted, due to the fact that the minimum amount of energy that needs to be generated to continue running Ontario’s aging nuclear plants, is more than sufficient for the province’s energy demands. The cost of updating the nuclear plants after their end of life is also projected to be much more costly than investing in efficiency.

A reduction in harmful greenhouse gases is yet another advantage that can be seen from a higher amount of energy efficiency, while also boasting the ability to maintain a low cost in relation to effectiveness. According to McKinsey & Company, some household energy efficiency improvements even have a net benefit associated with them from a societal perspective, such as appliances used for: heating, HVAC, and insulation. This is to mean that residential improvements are more than capable of paying for themselves over time, and will even see a return of more money for the citizens of Ontario than their cost to employ.

The Canada Greener Homes Grant offers home efficiency renovation grants up to $5,000.

Homeowners Canada-wide are eligible for the Canada Greener Homes Grant, announced on May 27, 2021. This new incentive offers up to $5,000 in grants for home efficiency retrofit renovations, plus a $600 reimbursement for pre- and post-work EnerGuide evaluations. Eligible retrofit scopes include home insulation, heating, doors, windows, photovoltaic solar panels, resiliency measures, and thermostats.

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