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Single-family housing is the second-largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in London because of the fossil fuels homes use for heating and for hot water. Renovating existing homes with energy-saving improvements is a priority included in London’s Climate Emergency Action Plan.
A home energy retrofit involves making changes at home to reduce the amount of energy your household uses. This could also include potentially changing the sources of energy used in the home to lower-emission ones. By investing in retrofits that make your home more energy efficient, you will lower your energy costs, reduce your maintenance requirements, reduce your carbon emissions, and support the local economy and local jobs. The costs and savings associated with home energy retrofits is largely dependent on the age, condition and size of the house, with older homes generally having greater potential for savings.
Minor retrofits could include:
Major retrofits could include:
For Londoners in rented homes, the measures above would need to be undertaken by property owners. However, tenants can make some draft-proofing improvements such as:
There are several incentives offered by the federal government, the Province of Ontario, and local partners for homeowners in London to support home energy retrofits. Many of the incentives below can be “mixed and matched”, in that a home owner could use one or more of these programs to help fund the renovation work. However, two different programs cannot be used to fund the same measure.
Residents are encouraged to contact service providers directly as they develop their own plan to make their home more energy efficient and resilient to climate change.
Accessing the Canada Greener Homes program incentives and Enbridge’s Home Efficiency Rebate program incentives requires pre- and post-retrofit EnerGuide evaluations, which the program will provide up to an additional $600 to cover these costs. Find energy advisors serving London.
In Ontario, homeowners can use solar power in a “net metering” arrangement where excess solar power is credited for use at other times.
Incentives are also available through the The Canada Greener Homes program.
Every drop of drinking water used or wasted carries with it an environmental impact. Treating and pumping our water and sewage is responsible for about one-third of the energy use and greenhouse gas emissions from municipal operations in Ontario. Conserving water can limit these impacts.
Every litre of water that does not need to be treated and pumped reduces energy use and emissions.
In London, the majority of a person’s daily water consumption is used for bathing. Of the water used, almost half is heated.
Heating water for bathing requires a lot of natural gas and can account for approximately 25% of the energy consumed in your home. A five-minute shower with a standard showerhead uses 100 litres of water. The same length of shower with an ultra low-flow showerhead uses only 35 litres of water.
If you find yourself running the tap for more than 30 seconds while waiting for hot water, you may want to install a hot water recirculation unit to help save money on your water bill and limit wasted water. A hot water recirculation unit works by circulating water through the pipes so that room temperature water can return to be reheated, rather than go down the drain. When you want hot water, it's there instantly. As every property is unique, please contact a professional for more information on whether this system can help you save money and water in your home.
There are many ways to save water through your home's toilet. including reducing the number of times you flush per day, finding and repairing any leaks you have and retrofitting your home and toilets to be more water efficient.
20% of an average Londoner’s daily water use is flushed down the toilet. One toilet flush can use up to 18 litres of water. Ultra-low flush toilets can use up to 12 litres less water per flush while maintaining the same flushing power.
A traditional washing machine uses approximately 190 litres of water to wash a large load. A high efficiency washing machine can save you up to 100 lites of water per large load of laundry.
While preparing dinner or doing dishes, look for ways your family can reduce its water use in the kitchen.
The way in which you water your lawn is just as important as how often and how much water you use. It is important to choose the right irrigation system for the landscape.
Going away for a trip or vacation? Set your water heater to vacation mode or lower the temperature a few degrees.
Turning off the main water supply to your home is also the best defense against flooding caused by a burst pipe or other plumbing failure.
First, locate the main water supply valve in your home. The valve should have a wheel control or lever handle to open and close it. It is perfectly safe to turn it off by either turning the wheel clockwise or closing the lever. If you don’t know where to locate the valve, you may find it in the basement, in the crawl space, or outside your home.
Flooding has been identified as one of the highest risks in London caused by climate change. Sump pumps, sump pits, and backwater valves can help prevent flooding. Basement window well covers, downspout extensions, downspout splash blocks, and landscaping to maintain or create surface swales can also help water flow away from homes.
The City's Basement Flooding Grant Program is designed to provide financial assistance to property owners to disconnect their weeping tiles from the City’s sewer systems and to install a sump pit and sump pump, and backwater valve.
Standing water in your yard can also occur for several different reasons such as soil type, lot grading, time of year, intensity of the rain event and any changes that have occurred on the property that have reduced green space. Lot grading helps ensure that rain and snow melt flow away your home. Proper lot grading can prevent ponding of stormwater and reduce the likelihood of flooded basements and damp yards.
Planting native trees around you house will provide shade and can act as a wind break reducing the energy your home needs for both summer cooling and winter heating. Trees also help absorb heavy rainfall and reduce stormwater flows.
Prepare a 72 hour emergency kit to use in the event of a power outage, neighbourhood disaster or any emergency that requires Londoners to shelter-in-place. Typical items contained in a 72-hour emergency kit include bottled water, medications, food for 3 days, first aid kit, wind-up flashlight and radio, external battery pack or wind-up phone charger, dust mask and duct tape, whistle, personal sanitation items, important documents, cash in small bills and coins, warm clothing, and blankets or sleeping bags.
The first step you can take to lower your environmental impact is to measure your household's carbon footprint. More than 1,000 London households have already used Project Neutral’s carbon calculator to create a personalized action plan, and start making a positive impact. Use the calculator and discover your carbon footprint in five minutes.
View more advice and tips to Save on Energy