A small town of 16,000 people in southwestern Ontario, Tillsonburg's history is famously celebrated in Stomping Tom Connor's distinctive drawl when he sung about making seven dollars a day in the tobacco fields. But in 2009 the Green Energy Act spurred on the development of renewable energy with guaranteed rates for renewable energy producers.
The race to build net-zero homes across Canada is on. Natural Resources Canada has a program that's helping five builders build five net-zero homes each to support a rapid evolution to affordable net-zero homes. And the prize is one everyone can appreciate: a home that produces as much energy as it consumes over the course of a year. A net-zero home is not a passive consumer in the energy system -- it is a clean and green participant.
When you look at Ontario's greenhouse gas reductions you can pin it to one thing: Shutting down coal-fired power plants and transitioning to renewables and lower carbon electricity generation. And while a lot of governments and politicians have talked the talk on greenhouse gas reductions Ontario has actually walked the walk.
When you buy a house the first thing your eye goes to is the sticker price. But buying a home comes with a major hidden cost that doesn't show up in the MLS report: Transportation costs could more than eat up the savings of a lower-priced home in the suburbs. The concept is called location efficiency and it's the amount of time, energy and greenhouse gas emissions you spend getting from where you live to the workplace as well as your other frequent trips. And location efficiency may be the secret sauce to saving money and getting that house in the neighborhood you never thought you could afford.
I used to eat a lot of shrimp, but based on my travels examining foreign shrimp farms and various unsustainable and sustainable fishing practices, now I am much more selective. Supporting more sustainable options is a good start but with the vast majority of the global shrimp industry based on destructive harvesting methods, widespread change will take a long time.
Energy consultants have been helping companies reduce operator error, identifying energy wasting systems and proposing energy efficient retrofits for a while now. But what is new is the next generation of energy efficiency companies who are using super smart meters and big data to identify, measure and wrestle energy sucking systems to submission.