VANCOUVER — Households in Edmonton generate, on average, almost four times the amount of greenhouse gas emissions as their counterparts in Montreal, according to a study released Wednesday by the University of British Columbia.
The study from the university's faculty of land and food systems estimated average household emissions in major cities across Canada between 1997 and 2009, based on factors such as weather, population density and the type of energy used for home heating and electricity.
Apartment buildings in Montreal. (Photo: Getty)
Montreal homes were ranked the greenest — at 5.4 tonnes per year — largely because of the widespread use of clean hydroelectric power. The city's dense population also means motorists spend less time commuting and guzzling gas.
"If you live in Montreal, you can walk to your grocery store, you can walk your kids to school. You don't have to be driving everywhere, whereas in Edmonton, unfortunately, you do," professor Sumeet Gulati, one of the report's two authors, said Wednesday.
Edmonton, followed closely by Calgary, was at the bottom of the pile at 20.7 tonnes per year, partly because of the use of coal-fired home energy and a spread-out population. The colder weather in the two biggest Alberta cities also means more energy is needed to heat homes.
Vancouver ranks second
Vancouver, despite its very mild temperatures, ranked second behind Montreal because of the West Coast city's use of natural gas in residential utilities. Natural gas is available throughout Montreal, but it is more expensive than hydro.
Winnipeg ranked third-lowest for emissions, ahead of fourth-place Toronto. Despite its bone-chilling winters, Winnipeg scored well because of its use of hydro power.
"The implications from our analysis are fairly straightforward," the report reads.
"If we encourage high-density development or encourage development of low-carbon energy, households lower their greenhouse gas emissions."
"The implications from our analysis are fairly straightforward."
The report found a positive trend in all cities — greenhouse gas emissions per household dropped by about 16 per cent over the 12-year study period as people, governments and utilities became more energy-conscious.
"I think it's actually very hopeful," Gulati said.
"In Alberta, we're getting a new carbon tax and Alberta's committed to reducing coal in its electricity generation."
Also on HuffPost:
Location: Stuart Lake, B.C. Price: $175,000 American Island is 8 acres (3.24 hectares) in size, and has a kilometre of shoreline to run around on. The island is the seventh-largest in B.C., running 90 kilometres north-south, and 13 kilometres east-west. It has plenty of trees, and two bays good perfect for mooring boats. (Photo: PrivateIslandsOnline.com)
Location: Stuart Lake, B.C. Price: $85,476 Like American Island, Sweet Island is also in Stuart Lake — a great spot fishing rainbow trout, char, lake trout, and sturgeon. Sweet Island has a high elevation with no cliffs and boasts tons of pine and aspen trees. There's already old house for accomodation, and a half-acre clearing for a garden. The entire island is 66 kilometres long, 10 kilometres wide, and has 170 kilometres of shoreline. And if anyone ever needs a break on the mainland, the town of Fort St. James is also on Lake Stuart's shoreline with full services like lodges and motels. (Photo: Private Islands Online)
Location: Tusket Island Chain, Yarmouth County, N.S. Price: $65,000 A great place for a summer retreat, the Big Tusket Island Parcel is actually two pieces of land that total 37 acres of size. The chain, a group of granite islands located off of Nova Scotia's Southwestern coast, is primarily uninhabited. The islands offer a very natural environment and is home to a number of unique lighthouses. There's electricity on both islands, and amenities are available in Comeau's Hill — an attractive Acadian coastal town. (Photo: PrivateIslandsOnline.com)
Location: Lama Passage, B.C. Price: $249,000 Lizzies Cove Island is a magnificent 6.5-acre, virgin-forested island with almost two kilometres of ocean front. Cruise ships and killer whales regularly pass by one side of the island, and fishing in the area is "superb," according to its listing. The nearby town of Bella Bella offers plenty of amenities, including a hospital, post office, and liquor store. (Photo: Private Islands Online)
Location: Mahone Bay, N.S. Price: $90,000 At 11.5 acres, Tancook Island is the largest island in Mahone Bay — an area with lots of fishing and about 125 year-round residents. (Photo: Private Islands Online)
Location: Stuart Lake, B.C. Price: $431,482 Johnson Island is a private, 20-acre space that has been occupied by the same family since 1947. It has about one kilometre of shoreline, and the cabin's beachfront has stunning views of the northern lights and stunning sunsets. The cabin, built in 1949, is made of reclaimed old growth timber from the island. It has a large front room divided into a kitchen, as well as a comfortable dining room. The house, which sleeps six people, also has a detached shower room and smokehouse. Access is by float plane or boat, the latter of which can be launched from the nearby village of Tachi. (Photo: Private Islands Online)
Location: Ontario, near Manitoulin Island Price: $103,000 Little Island, or Jenny Island, is a historically significant commercial fishing outport, where the fisherman and their families lived for the season during the 1800s and early 1900s. The land is accessible both by boat and by plane. (Photo: Private Islands Online)
Location: Southern Gulf Islands, B.C. Price: $380,000 This 7.5-acre property has been left entirely in its natural state. Located in the southern Gulf Islands, it's a completely private island with an impressive fir forest. The island isn't far from Ladysmith, and sits in the Stuart Channel. (Photo: Private Islands Online)
Location: Mitchell Bay, N.S. Price: $150,000 Just 290 metres from the mainland, Tidmarsh Island has 24 acres of land that boats a thick forest a natural cove for mooring. Halifax is about two hours away, and the town of Sheet Harbour — with shops and amenities — is less than a half-hour trip. (Photo: Private Islands Online)
Location: B.C. Price: $449,000 Echo Island, which is a 25-minute flight in a float plane from Williams Lake, is made up of four, one-acre lots. There's a dedicated road just for the island, a bridge crossing for ATVs, and pedestrian access from mainland to island. There's also a 15-metre dock neighbouring the two-bedroom cabin. (Photo: Private Islands Online