Fuel and Energy Efficiency in Canada
Fuel and energy efficiency contribute to reduced consumption and expenses and help minimize the carbon footprint. Advanced solutions and systems and alternative fuels help homeowners, communities, and businesses to reduce environmental impact and contribute to sustainable development.
Home Energy Efficiency
A number of home use products can help reduce consumption, including lighting solutions, ventilating and cooling systems, heating equipment, and electronics and appliances. ENERGY STAR certified space cooling products help homeowners to reduce consumption by 2 percent, appliances by 13 percent, water heating systems by 19 percent, and space heating solutions by 62 percent.
A wide array of advanced solutions helps businesses to cut back on energy consumption, including office and industrial equipment and commercial heating solutions and appliances. Refrigeration appliances help reduce consumption by 16 percent, lighting solutions by 13 percent, and food preparation equipment by 35 percent. Commercial cooling and heating solutions also contribute to improved energy efficiency. These include lighting solutions, auxiliary motors and equipment, and water and space heating equipment. The list of commercial equipment also includes heat pumps, vertical and terminal air conditioners, gas unit heaters, and internal water loop heat pumps that are used for heating and cooling. Gas heaters are equipped with a fan and are usually automatically controlled. The list of ENERGY STAR certified commercial appliances is quite long and includes vending machines, freezers and refrigerators, commercial-grade ranges and ovens, fryers, dishwashers, and clothes washers and dryers.
Programs and Financial Assistance
A number of programs are offered to homeowners and businesses to improve energy efficiency, including Power Smart for Low-Income Households, the Energy Efficiency Incentive Program, and Business Energy Savings Incentives, among others. The latter offers financial incentives to businesses in British Columbia that introduce advanced solutions, including ice-making machines, refrigeration equipment, and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning solutions. The program covers up to 75 percent of the cost of the upgrades.
The Energy Efficiency Incentive Program targets homeowners who choose to install ENERGY STAR appliances and equipment, including lighting, heating solutions, and home appliances (Learn More). Homeowners are offered cash back of up to $1,500, depending on the type of upgrade. The Home Renovation Rebate Program also targets homeowners who wish to reduce their utility bills. They are offered cash incentives to install upgrades such as heating solutions, ventilation, draftproofing, and insulation.
Fuel Efficiency, Vehicles, and Equipment
Different fuel efficient vehicles are sold in Canada, including full-size, mid-size, and compact vehicles as well as sport utility vehicles, pickup trucks, and minivans. According to Natural Resources Canada, some of the most efficient vehicles in 2018 were Toyota Prius, Chevrolet Spark, Ford F-150, and Chevrolet Colorado. Alternative fuels are increasingly used in Canada, including biofuels such as ethanol and biodiesel. Biodiesel is used as an alternative fuel for cars, urban transit and school buses, and heavy-duty trucks. It is also used to power industrial and commercial equipment such as mining, forestry, construction, and agricultural equipment as well as ships and trains. Natural gas is also used in transportation because it produces fewer carbon emissions and hazardous pollutants. This is not surprising given that Canada is among the top natural gas producers in the world.
Federal and Provincial Regulations
There are many benefits to using alternative fuels, and one is that biofuel consumption reduces fuel expenditures. Between 2010 and 2016, for example, biofuel consumption helped reduce expenditures by close to 0.3 percent. The Renewable Fuels Regulation contributed to this by mandating that diesel fuels contain 2 percent advanced fuel and gasoline contains 5 percent. The different provinces and territories have also adopted regulations on renewable fuels. Ontario, for example, has adopted the Greener Diesel Regulation and Ethanol General Regulation while Manitoba has adopted the Biodiesel Mandate for Diesel Fuel Regulation and the Ethanol General Regulation. Newly implemented regulations govern renewable fuel content and the blending of diesel and gasoline with biofuels.
Home Energy Conservation Program
Participants in the Home Energy Conservation Program are offered rebates of up to $5,000 for improvements and upgrades that help reduce electricity bills and energy consumption and minimize green gas emissions. The program is run by Enbridge Gas Distribution in cooperation with the Government of Ontario. (Learn More)
How It Works - Individual Customers
The program targets households that use electricity, oil, propane, wood, or natural gas for heating. Participants who make upgrades are eligible to receive rebates. Examples of upgrades that meet the criteria include energy-efficient doors and windows, air sealing, and insulation upgrades. Insulation upgrades, for example, include attic, exterior wall, and basement upgrades. The amount of cash back varies by upgrade. Participants are offered $500 for attic insulation and $1,500 for exterior wall insulation. Other eligible upgrades are air source heat pumps, water heaters, and boiler or furnace heating systems. Homeowners get $40 in cash back for a skylight, door, and window and $200 per water heater.
Combo systems also qualify as upgrades and include space heating and water heaters. However, customers who choose to install a water heater and a boiler or furnace are offered cash back for water heater upgrades only. By the same token, homeowners who install a combo system in place of a water heater and a heating system are offered money back for the water heater only. To be eligible to receive a rebate, homeowners need to install both a water heater and a furnace in place of an air handler. There are additional cash incentives for customers who choose to install more than 3 energy-efficient upgrades (Learn More). The cashback incentives are $750 for five upgrades, $500 for four, and $250 for three.
Applicants are asked to book an appointment with a registered energy advisor to help them choose from different upgrades and solutions. Advisors are tasked with pre-energy assessments, and homeowners get $550 to help pay the post- and pre-assessment. The next step is to make two or more upgrades and hire a registered contractor to perform the installation works. The goal is to reduce natural gas consumption by 10 percent or more. The post-assessment takes place within a period of 120 days after the pre-assessment. Here the goal is to assess the efficiency of the upgrades made. Participants are offered cash back in the form of an incentive cheque up to 10 weeks after the post-assessment.
Businesses are also offered financial incentives to make energy-efficient upgrades and to cut back on natural gas consumption. Businesses across sectors are encouraged to apply, including warehouse and logistics, accommodation, recreation and entertainment, and retirement and long-term care homes. Offices, multi-residential buildings, and secondary and primary schools also qualify for financing. The same goes for the food services, universities and colleges, hospitals, and the government. In general, businesses that use natural gas to produce goods are eligible to apply. Examples of manufacturers that use natural gas are breweries, pharmaceutical companies, wholesale bakeries, (Learn More). Businesses that install energy-efficient upgrades are offered financing to cover up to 50 percent of the eligible expenses. Business customers with different rate classes are eligible to apply, including classes 170, 135, 110, 100, and 6. Before installing upgrades, commercial customers are asked to fill in the Incentive Application and submit an Energy Efficiency Business Plan.
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