According to a recent report, Ontario is the third most energy efficient province in Canada, but there is plenty of room for improvement.
Efficiency Canada, based out of Carleton University, recently released the country’s first Provincial Energy Efficiency Scorecard, measuring policy progress, new policies, buildings, transportation and industry.
Ontario came in third with a score of 47 out of 100. British Columbia came in first with a score of 56 out of 100. If B.C. came in first with a barely passing grade, and Ontario came in third with a failing grade, then it’s clear that a lot still has to be done on a provincial and national level to improve energy efficiency.
"Imagine thinking of all that energy waste from our homes, businesses and industry as a 'resource,’ just like natural gas, oil or wind turbines," said Corey Diamond, executive director of Efficiency Canada, in a release. "Now imagine harvesting that 'resource' in every community across Canada, creating jobs and meeting our climate change commitments. At a time when much of the country is at odds on our energy future, boosting energy efficiency is surely something all Canadians can agree on."
"British Columbia received the top score because of policies like the Energy Step Code that create a clear pathway towards net-zero energy-ready buildings, natural gas efficiency targets, and support for vehicle electrification,” explained Dr. Brendan Haley, policy director at Efficiency Canada. “Quebec scores second, and is the national transportation leader.”
Ontario scored most of its points by having strong appliance and equipment standards, mandatory building energy reporting, grid modernization, strict building codes, and trained energy managers.
We would have scored more points if the provincial government didn’t cancel the electric vehicle programs and end the cap & trade system that was being used to fund energy efficiency initiatives.
According to Efficiency Canada, “smart” buildings have become a “vital tool” to fight climate change. Ontario already has a robust system requiring large buildings to report annual energy and water use, so perhaps some smart retrofits are a good idea for the near future to make saving energy and water easier for residents and businesses.
An earlier report by Efficiency Canada found that implementing policies in the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change would lead to 118,000 new annual jobs by 2030. Some people fear job loss when discussing shifting to energy efficient systems, but energy efficiency is the way of the future, and there are clearly career opportunities in the field.
The City of Toronto did recently announce a new target of being net-zero by 2050 or sooner, and to have all new homes be net-zero by 2030. If this policy is successful, perhaps it will improve Ontario’s score next year.