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Earth Day DIY

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by Nicole Bogdanovic
April 20, 2017

Energy efficiency, Renewable Natural Gas

Climate action can start at home

For savvy do-it-yourselfers, Earth Day (April 22) is a good reminder to plan, hammer and drill away at some energy savings to lessen the impact your home has on the environment. You may also save some money along the way.

Our residential customers accounted for 40 per cent of the electricity and 36 per cent of the natural gas we delivered to our BC customers in 2015. Reducing the energy used in homes can help reduce emissions and lessen the need to build more generation facilities in the province or import energy from coal or diesel generation facilities located out of the province.

Understanding how you use energy in your own home is the first step. For most homes in BC, about 50 per cent of energy is used for space heating followed closely by water heating*, so those are good areas to focus on.

Five easy ways to reduce energy used for heating:

  • upgrading the weather-stripping materials around your doors and window frames
  • installing a door sweep on the bottom edge of your exterior doors and sealing material attached to the frame
  • placing foam gaskets behind outlet and switch plate covers on exterior walls
  • installing – and setting – a programmable thermostat; we recommend 20 degrees when you’re home and 17 when you’re asleep or out
  • making sure your home is well insulated from the crawlspace right up to the attic

Five easy ways to be mindful of hot water use:

  • installing water-efficient faucets and showerheads
  • fixing leaky faucets  
  • insulating hot water pipes
  • washing laundry in cold water
  • taking shorter showers

Some tips for planners and renovators

Plan to save in small doses by looking for energy-efficiency opportunities in all your renos. These small, incremental changes can add up over time and help modernize your home. For example, if you’re ripping out an old kitchen, it can be an opportunity to increase exterior wall insulation, update exposed plumbing and install water-efficient fixtures.

Rebates are available for home heating, water heating, appliances and insulation upgrades, and there is also help available for income-qualified customers.

Choosing sustainable, locally-produced energy

While reducing use is always important, you can also make a difference for as little as a few dollars a month by opting for a portion of the natural gas you use to be Renewable Natural Gas (RNG).

We’re on the forefront of providing sustainable, affordable energy. One of the ways we do that is by capturing methane from farms, landfills and wastewater treatment facilities, purify it and inject it into the natural gas supply.

By capturing methane that would otherwise escape into the atmosphere, RNG is considered carbon neutral and reduces equivalent carbon dioxide emissions by up to 25 times. Since the Renewable Natural Gas offering launched to residential customers in June 2011 and commercial customers in March 2012, our supporters have helped reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an amount equivalent to removing more than 2,800** cars from the road. 

 

Certified carbon neutral

FortisBC’s Renewable Natural Gas has been designated as carbon neutral in BC by Offsetters.


* Source: 2012 FortisBC Residential End-Use Survey for Electric-Only Single-Family Dwellings. Electrically heated house: 20,800 kilowatt hours per year average use. Home heating energy usage will vary depending on the air tightness, insulation, temperature setpoint and location of your home. A typical household is defined as an existing single family house approx. 2,300 square ft. with average insulation.

** Since the Renewable Natural Gas offering launched to residential customers in June 2011 and commercial customers in March 2012, our supporters have helped reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an amount equivalent to removing 2,801 cars from the road.  Estimated emissions avoided are equal to 0.0498 tonnes CO2e per gigajoule of natural gas. The estimated number of cars off the road is based on the annual emissions from an average car using the calculator at http://www.epa.gov/cleanenergy/energy-resources/calculator.html..