So How's Canada Doing, Eh?
Cars and trucks get a lot of ink, but buildings are the real 800-megaton gorilla when it comes to energy usage (and thus greenhouse gas emissions). Statistics Canada has released numbers about the habits of Canadians when it comes to conserving energy and water in their homes. The trend is moving in the right direction, but much more needs to be done.
From the CBC:
In 2007, 42 per cent of Canadian households with a thermostat said they had a programmable one, and 84 per cent actually programmed it, Statistics Canada said in its household and the environment survey released Tuesday.
In 1994, only 16 per cent of households with a thermostat had one that was programmable.
We also used more energy-saving compact fluorescent light bulbs in 2007, with 69 per cent of households reporting that they had at least one. This is up from 56 per cent in 2006 and 19 per cent in 1994.
In 2007, 62 per cent of Canadian households said they had a low-flow showerhead, up from 54 per cent the year before.
In 2007, 39 per cent of households said they had a low-volume toilet, up from 34 per cent a year earlier. These toilets typically use less than six litres of water per flush, compared with older toilets that can use more than double that.
Low-flow showerheads aren't just about using less water either. Heating water takes a lot of energy, especially when you consider that it spends maybe a second or two in the air in the shower before going down the drain... Low-flow showerheads often use up to 70% less water than regular showerheads, and according to the Canadian government, that can lead to a 15% reduction in water-heating costs.
Low-flow toilets should really be a minimum in all houses. It's sad to see that only 39% had one. Even from a purely financial point of view, it is a lot less expensive to retrofit houses with low-flow toilets than to build new water treatment plants.
One of the best thing you can do to make an already-existing building greener is to sign up for "green power". It's usually a bit more expensive, but it doesn't have to be if you take some steps to cut down your energy usage first.
Photo: #1 Flickr, CC. #2 Flickr, CC
More Canada Articles
Manitobans are Canada's Worst Recyclers
Crossing Canada on an Electric Bike Using Only $10 of Electricity
Canada Ships Recyclables to China and then Ships Them Back Again
Montreal Plans Ban on Wood Stoves