It's time to make your home climate-friendly
BY SHELLEY CARROLL
At the beginning of 2019, my newly-minted DVN staff team and I headed out on a cold winter day to canvass a neighbourhood where residents were finding their energy bills particularly daunting.
We had heard this many times from areas where homes rely on electric heating, like the Seneca Hill, and we wanted to provide helpful information on how to conserve energy and reduce a home's energy footprint. We talked about going solar, organizing district heating, installing heat pumps and so on. But in a way, our door-to-door canvassing added to the overwhelming nature of this big move in home ownership.
There are lots of different energy affordability and home retrofit programs out there, and sifting through them to see which ones you qualify for can be overwhelming. So, how does one make the right decision? Well, last week the City’s TransformTO office and Mayor Tory gave us some good news.
The Mayor launched BetterHomesTO, a multi-partner program that helps tenants and homeowners make their homes more energy-efficient. With the federal government and some non-city utilities as partners, this program offers the best website I’ve seen yet for simplifying your home energy plans.
It's a comprehensive online resource where Toronto homeowners, tenants and apartment building owners can find information on home energy retrofits and see which programs or rebates are available to help with the costs.
Homes and buildings generate more than half of the greenhouse gas emissions in Toronto today. Last month, Toronto City Council declared a climate emergency and adopted a stronger emissions reduction target for Toronto: net zero emissions by 2050 or sooner.
This means by 2050 all Toronto homes need to be near net zero emissions, as well. To meet that target, we know existing homes in Toronto need to be retrofitted ASAP.
Net zero homes produce as much energy as they consume. Typically, energy consumption is low and they are up to 80 per cent more energy-efficient than homes built to conventional standards.
A net zero home is comfortable, healthier and better for the environment because the efficient features work together to lower energy consumption, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and shrink the home's carbon footprint.
They also save you money by reducing your utility bills — and for added incentive, you can enter a contest to win some of the simple tools you need to get started.
I know many of us have our own Greta Thunberg at home reminding us that we need to act now for the sake of our kids and grandkids — we need to take that seriously. And now that the resources we need to take action are as simple and accessible as ever, we are running out of excuses.
But that's not all — the goal to meet net zero emissions doesn't stop at homes. According to the map above, our next assignment will be lowering the emissions of our personal vehicles. As you can see, Don Valley North has a ways to go.
TONIGHT: PB Ballot Selection Meeting!
To all residents of Parkway Forest and Henry Farm – your Participatory Budgeting ballot selection meeting is at 6:30 PM tonight at the Parkway Forest Community Centre.
This meeting is an essential step in the PB process. Many great ideas have been collected and City staff have reviewed each idea's cost and feasibility.
Now, it's time to choose which ideas should make it to the final ballot for your neighbours to vote on. This is going to be a lively meeting full of friendly debate – you don't want to miss out!