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The Kingston Community Energy Consumption and GHG Emission Inventory Update (2011) shows the energy we consume to heat, cool and power our homes represents 18% (270,890 tonnes) of the total community GHG emissions and costs $158 million.

Chart showing the distribution of energy consumption in Canadian Homes

Kingston homes are powered by electricity (39%) and natural gas (44%). So, to reduce GHG emissions from the home, we must target reductions in natural gas, fuel oil and propane consumption. Fortunately, reducing energy use, results in energy savings.

What you can do to reduce your home energy GHG emissions:

Assess your home's energy efficiency.

Get your home's EnerGuide rating.

An EnerGuide rating is a measure of the home's energy efficiency on a scale from 0 (an uninsulated home) to 100 (a home that does not need to purchase energy for heating).  R 2000 home have an EnerGuide rating of 80 and Energy Star homes 86

Red Squirrel Conservation Services is a not for profit Kingston organization that delivers home energy audits. They offer a detailed energy evaluation of your home performed by a Certified Energy Advisor. You will get a report and an energy efficiency rating label (EnerGuide Label) that shows your current rating, what your home's rating could be if retrofits were completed and you how your home compares with others in your region.

Consider home energy renovations.

Before investing in a home energy retrofit, review the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporations guide to Understanding Energy Efficiency Retrofit Options for Your House.

Buying or building? Find out what home labels mean.

Buying a home? Ask for:

  • the EnerGuide rating of the home. The higher the rating (out of 100), the more efficient the home.
  • past utility bills.

And look for a variety of labels on the market which describe various levels of home energy efficiency.

Homes Built to Ontario Building Code (2012) are expected to have an EnerGuide rating of 65 to 72. 

R- 2000 homes have an EnerGuide rating of 80. R-2000 compliant homes have a certificate and label issued by NRCan placed on the electrical panel.

Typical features of an R-2000 home include: high insulation levels in walls, ceilings and basements; high-efficiency windows and doors; high-efficiency heating; whole-house mechanical ventilation; testing to ensure minimal air leakage; and water-conserving fixtures. These homes are constructed by trained builders, licensed by the Government of Canada, evaluated, inspected and tested by an independent third-party inspector and certified by the Government of Canada.

ENERGY STAR homes have an EnerGuide rating of 86. These homes are 20% more energy efficient than a home built to the Ontario Building Code and feature: efficient heating and cooling systems that use less energy, reduce indoor humidity and improve the overall comfort; high-performance ENERGY STAR windows, patio doors, and skylights: walls and ceilings insulated beyond what is required by the building code; a variety of ENERGY STAR products; and heat or energy recovery ventilation system (HRV or ERV) that ensures that the home has controlled ventilation. ENERGY STAR homes are constructed by trained builders, licensed by the Government of Canada, and are awarded an ENERGY STAR label placed on the home electrical panel) and a certificate.

LEED Homes: Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is green building rating system administered by the Canadian Green Building Council (CaGBC).  These homes incorporate a variety of sustainable home design features in addition to energy efficiency.

Passive Homes: are designed to use 90% less heat and/or cooling energy is than a Code-built home. Check out Passive Buildings Canada for more information, links and guidance on passive homes.

Net Zero Homes produce as much (or more) energy than they consume. View the CMHC Fact Sheet to find out more.

For more information related to green buildings visit the City's Green Building page as well as the Housing Checklist - Energy Efficient Building Practices provided by City of Kingston Planning.

Maximize your appliance and plug-load efficiency.

On average Canadian home appliances consume 14% of overall home energy.  Follow these Utilities Kingston tips to reduce energy consumption:

  • Use your appliances between 7 PM and 7 AM when demand for electricity is low and Time-of-use pricing is off-peak (less expensive).Use your appliances between 7 PM and 7 AM when demand for electricity is low and Time-of-use pricing is off-peak (less expensive).Use your appliances between 7 PM and 7 AM when demand for electricity is low and Time-of-use pricing is off-peak (less expensive).Use appliances between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. when the demand for electricity is low and the time of use pricing is off-peak. 
  • Look for the ENERGY STAR label when buying appliances.
  • Dry your clothes outside on a clothesline or inside on drying racks.
  • Use cold water detergent and wash your clothes in cold water.  About 85% to 90% of the energy used by your washer is to heat the water.

For more energy saving ideas visit Utilities Kingston's conservation tips for appliances, home office equipment as well as pools, spas and hot-tubs

Natural Resources Canada provides a secondary price tag tool that allows you to calculate the energy cost of appliances.

Lighten your lighting costs.

About 4% of our overall home energy is used for lighting.  New technology and lighting options can help reduce our lighting electricity consumption.

Watts vs. Lumens – Watts indicate the amount of power used by the bulb. Lumens indicate the amount of light provided by the bulb. Comparisons based on wattage can be misleading because different light bulbs can produce the same amount of light (lumens) using very different amounts of energy (watts). Measuring the performance of a bulb in lumens allows direct comparisons of light quantity. Labelling on bulb/lamp packaging that shows energy used (watts), light output (lumens) and life (hours). 

Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) and Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) – CFL bulbs last 10 times and a LED bulb lasts 25 times longer than an incandescent light bulb (to be phased out by December 31, 2014).  ENERGY STAR® qualified CFL bulbs use up to 75% less energy. CFL's suit all indoor and outdoor fixtures, and can be used with dimmers and three-way switches. According to the Ontario Power Authority, a homeowner who replaces five 60Watt incandescent light bulbs with 13Watt ENERGY STAR certified CFL bulbs will save $30/yr in electricity costs.

Visit Natural Resources Canada's Lighting tips page to learn more.

Advantages of using LED lighting include: improved visibility, low maintenance costs, high luminous intensity, compact size, and light weight. Although LEDs can have a higher initial cost, LED lighting is up to 90% efficient, compared to traditional incandescent lighting which is only 10-15% efficient, and can last for up to 25,000 hrs (or 22 yrs based on average household use).

Visit Natural Resources Canada's Home Lighting Design Guide Pocket Book – Energy Efficiency Reference Guide for more home lighting tips and insights.

Don't let money leak out of your home.

Windows, doors and skylights: Improving the energy efficiency of a home's windows, doors and skylights can improve comfort and reduce home energy costs. Products that are ENERGY STAR qualified for your area are the best energy performers of all makes and models on the mainstream market. ENERGY STAR qualified window, door or skylight will have: double- or triple-glazing, with a sealed insulating glass unit; low-E glass; inert gas, such as argon or krypton, in the sealed unit; low-conductivity or "warm edge" spacer bars; insulated frames, sashes and door cores; and good air tightness.

Typical savings on energy bills are about 7% to 10% when all the doors and windows are replaced with ENERGY STAR qualified models. If qualified windows and doors are installed in new homes then the savings can be up to 16 %. Find out the energy efficiency of ENERGY STAR different product models for doors, windows and skylights using the Natural Resources Canada searchable list.  Scroll to doors, windows and skylights.

Air sealing and insulation help keep the heat in during the winter and out during the summer.

Air Sealing: Major leaks will be noticed by drafts, but most leaks are found through the blower door test which is done as part of and EnerGuide energy assessment (audit). Common air leakage points include:

  • ceiling pot light fixtures recessed into attic spaces;
  • electrical boxes penetrating ceilings below attic spaces;
  • wiring, plumbing and duct penetrations into the attic;
  • exhaust fans located above bathroom ceilings in the attic space;
  • window-wall joints (behind the finishing casings);
  • operable windows;
  • door weather-stripping;
  • electrical boxes on exterior walls;
  • floor-wall joints;
  • first- and second-floor rim joist areas;
  • foundation rim joist area; and
  • foundation wall and floor electrical, plumbing and duct penetrations.

Seal leaky windows and doors with new gaskets and weather-stripping. Gaps around wiring can be sealed with caulking and larger gaps with spray foam. Install airtight gaskets under the cover plates on electrical switch and outlet boxes, and airtight boxes over exhaust fans in attic spaces. Visit ENERGY STAR for more information and review the ENERGY STAR Duct Sealing Brochure.

Insulation with a higher R-value provides more resistance to the movement of heat. Insulation upgrades coupled with air sealing are among the most cost-effective home retrofits often paying for themselves in less than a year.

To find out if you could save money by improving your insulation and air sealing have an EnerGuide Assessment completed on your home. Hearthmaker's Energy Cooperative provides EnerGuide Assessments.

The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation provides detailed information on insulating your house and has a great series of 11 publications to inform home owners about home energy renovations based on the age and type of the home.

Heat Recovery Ventilators (HRV) allow homes to maintain high indoor air quality without excessive additional energy costs. To ensure that fresh air is supplied to all living areas, the HRV is usually connected to the heating system ductwork. An HRV system recovers 70 to 80 percent of the heat in exhaust air.

Also see Natural Resources Canada detailed information guide on HRVs.

Optimize your heating and cooling efficiency.

Approximately 63% of our home energy use is used to heat our homes and 2% is used to cool our homes. Visit Utilities Kingston conservation tips for home heating and cooling.  Here are some ideas:

Programmable Thermostat: Canadian homes keep the temperature at 20°C – 21°C (68°F – 70°F) in the winter. Programmable thermostat can reduce the temperature at bedtime, raise it in the morning and reduce the temperature when the house is unoccupied. Natural Resources Canada indicates that using a properly programmed Energy STAR thermostat is a way to save at least 8% of energy use in home heating and cooling.  A good guide in the winter  is to program 17°C when you are sleeping or not at home, and 20°C when you are awake and at home.

Visit SaveOnEnergy to download a coupon for a programmable thermostat for an electric baseboard heater. View the ENERGY STAR video on programmable thermostats.

High Efficiency Heating and Cooling Systems: Replacing a heating and cooling system can be expensive, but if it is not working efficiently it's cost effective to make a change. See Energy Star – When is it time to replace to find out if your system is due for an upgrade.

Energy Star's Guide to Energy Efficient heating and cooling provides guidance and tips on all aspects of a home heating and cooling including choosing the right equipment. Buying a natural gas furnace? Visit Utilities Kingston tips on how to choose the best natural gas furnace. You can receive up to $650 in incentives when you participate in the Ontario Power Authorities SaveOnEnergy heating and cooling incentive.

Maximize your water efficiency (heating and quantity).

It takes energy to pump treat and distribute water and to collect and treat waste water. So, conserving water saves energy – and so does reducing our use of hot water (or changing the way we heat it). About 17% of the home energy is consumed heating water.

Grey Water Recycling and Drain Water Heat Recovery: Grey water is sanitary sewage from sinks, bathtubs, and laundry facilities (you can't drink it or cook with it) – but you can use it to flush toilets, prime traps and for irrigation. Explore using a grey water system. It requires a separate wastewater drainage system for a home's grey water. See Canadian Guidelines for Domestic Reclaimed Water for Use in Toilet and Urinal Flushing

Drain Water Heat Recovery (DWHR): Consider using a DWHR – a device that allows the heat from residential grey water to be captured. About 80 to 90% of the energy is lost when a person takes a hot shower. Since water heating accounts for about 17% of household energy use and showering represents 50 to 70% of household hot water use, the DWHR offers good value. 

Hot Water Heating: Older hot water heaters may benefit from an insulating blanket, to contain more of the heat from the tank. Turn down the water heater thermostat to a minimum setting when away for extended periods.

Buying a new hot water heater?  Look for a high-efficiency unit – or on-demand models that heat the water as you need it. Where possible, install your on-demand unit close to the kitchen, laundry and bathrooms and always insulate hot water pipes, especially where they run through unheated areas.

Water Use Efficiency: To reduce your household water use, see:

To reduce your lawn maintenance and water consumption, see:

Visit these two instructional videos developed by Utilities Kingston to explain how to conserve water in our homes and our gardens/lawns. 

Take advantage of financial incentives for home energy conservation

Have a plan to save home energy? Find assistance to help you save money implementing it. Check out these links:

Ontario Power Authority (OPA): 

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation:

Mortgage Loan Insurance for Energy Efficient Housing:  A 10% refund on the Mortgage Loan Insurance premium maybe be available, if you use insured financing from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) to buy an energy efficient home; purchase a house and make energy saving renovations; or renovate your existing home to make it more energy efficient.

Union Gas

Utilities Kingston

  • Rain Barrel Program
  • Multi-Residential Toilet Replacement RebateUtilities Kingston offers  $60 per toilet for the replacement of toilets that use 13 Litres per flush (Lpf) or more with qualifying High Efficiency toilets using 6 Lpf or less in multi-residential properties of 3 units or more. Social Housing providers can receive up to $125 per toilet. Multi-residential buildings have demonstrated water use reductions of 35% after replacing toilets with High Efficiency models.