Can energy conservation really curb greenhouse gas emissions?

A woman sitting in her living room by a fireplace, smiling and holding a smartphone. The smartphone features a home heating app. (20-064.18)

The more we understand how we conserve energy every day, the better we’ll be at making decisions to reduce our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions tomorrow. BC emits nearly 63 million tonnes of carbon emissions annually, and 10 per cent of that comes from homes and commercial buildings.1 That’s why at FortisBC, we’re rethinking energy conservation for our customers through innovative technologies. By increasing investment in efficiency programs for homes, businesses and industry, we’re creating a culture of conservation and guidance to help our customers make better energy choices every day.

Expanding our energy efficiency efforts for customers

The BC Utilities Commission approved our application to almost double our spending on our energy efficiency education and rebates in 2019 and nearly triple these expenditures by 2022. With this approval, we're expanding our overall energy efficiency investment to a forecasted $368.5 million over the four years from 2019 to 2022. We'll continue to expand our efforts in seeking innovative solutions that we believe will not only significantly reduce emissions, but also keep energy affordable for our customers.

In 2019, our rebate programs helped customers conserve enough natural gas to heat more than 11,100 home for a year. These programs also helped save enough electricity to power more than 2,200 homes for a year. (20-064.18)

Reducing GHG emissions and home energy costs

Our rebate programs are designed to help our customers make better energy choices at a lower cost. In the case of high-efficiency furnaces, hot water heaters, insulation, windows and doors, for example, the energy savings can be significant. Rather than simply encouraging our customers to replace individual appliances with high-efficiency options, we give them the information they need to understand their home’s entire energy needs.

When they're ready to move forward with improving their home's energy efficiency, we provide a directory of licensed contractors who are educated in energy efficient equipment and quality installation.

Saving energy in your home and business

Helping customers understand their energy use

Knowledge is one of our greatest assets when it comes to energy conservation. The Home energy calculator, for instance, will let you calculate your estimated home energy costs including water and space heating using different fuel sources. Plus, we launched a new convenient tool called My energy use that lets you put together an energy-saving action plan, set goals and earn reward points that can apply as a credit to you energy bill. In addition, we provide online resources, such as valuable advice and practical how-to’s to help our customers take even more control of their energy usage.

Partnering with business for meaningful change

Home energy savings are great, but we’ll achieve our biggest decrease in energy usage with business and industry. From wineries and food processors to steel manufacturing and pulp and paper mills, industrial facilities need a lot of energy to operate. But there are also big opportunities for saving energy and even streamlining processes. That’s why we’re collaborating with our business customers to find ways to save energy, which can improve their bottom line and ultimately contribute to a lower-carbon future for BC.

Ridge Meadows Hospital

A great example of conservation at work is the space and water heating systems upgrade that Ridge Meadows Hospital in Maple Ridge underwent. Hospitals have a high demand for heat and hot water to support patient care, control infection and ensure sterilization. The project spanned three years and included the installation of a new high-efficiency condensing natural gas boiler and upgrades to ventilation system controls, qualifying the Fraser Health project for more than $289,000 in rebates from FortisBC.

Since project completion, Ridge Meadows Hospital reports that they’ve maintained an annual GHG emissions reduction of 25 per cent and are saving approximately 9,800 GJ of natural gas per year, equal to almost 25 per cent of the hospital’s annual natural gas use.

Molycop Canada

In 2012, Molycop Canada was one of the first participants in FortisBC’s industrial energy-efficiency programs. The company received combined rebates of $440,000 to implement energy-efficiency measures, which are estimated to save about 31,400 gigajoules of natural gas annually. In addition, FortisBC supported the studies and capital upgrades with combined rebates of approximately $250,000, which is expected to reduce natural gas usage by 8,900 gigajoules per year.

By working with our industry partners on upgrades to conserve energy and control emissions, we’re identifying high-efficiency natural gas solutions with equipment that’s cost-effective, while maximizing greenhouse gas reductions.

Business owners? Get in touch

Let us help you with your natural gas and electricity needs—like opening a new account, increasing energy efficiency and decreasing your bills.

1 Pathways for British Columbia to achieve its GHG reduction goals; Guidehouse, 2020, p11.