Be part of the clean energy solution by taking one, some, or all of the actions suggested here.
1. Conserve Energy
Energy conservation is often touted as the first step to any effective energy management system. In addition to behavioural changes that can be made on the individual and residential level, home owners can take advantage of smart controls such as smart meters, in-home energy displays, timers, and motion sensors to reduce their energy usage and cut down on household utility costs. We can all help reduce the demand for energy through individual energy conservation measures -find out your options using these programs offered by the Ontario Ministry of Energy.
2. Switch to Green Power
Instead of sourcing your electricity from conventional power sources (Ontario’s supply is ~50% nuclear), why not opt for a greener source of energy instead? Bullfrog Power is a green energy provider that obtains its electricity and fuel primarily from clean and renewables-based sources like wind, low-impact hydro, and green natural gas. For every kWh of electricity that you use, Bullfrog will inject the same amount of energy, sourced from renewables or green fuels, back into the grid or pipeline. You can rest assured that what you spend is making a positive impact on the environment while helping support the local green economy.
3. Invest in Community Power
Community power projects allow you to invest your money in the local economy, while helping to grow the renewable energy sector at the same time. There are several community-owned renewable energy projects across Ontario with varying investment offerings to suit each individual’s needs. Between green bonds and renewable energy shares, you can put your money where your mouth is and earn a decent return.
Co-operatives in Ontario and their rates of return:
SolarShare - 5% annual interest rate over 5 years, OR 6% annual interest rate over 15 years
ZooShare - 5% annual interest rate over 5 years
Ottawa Renewable Energy Co-operative - 1/15 of your original investment from year 6 to year 20
Green Timiskaming - 4.50% annual interest rate over 5 years, OR a 20 year climbing rate annuity bond
Community Energy Development Co-operative - 6.13% annual interest rate over 5 years, OR 8.10% annual interest rate over 20 years
4. Install a Rooftop Solar System
Image Credit: IRFTS Easy Roof on Flickr
Rooftop mounted solar panels are a simple way for individuals and homeowners to reduce their electricity bills or get a decent revenue through Ontario’s MicroFIT program. The feed-in-tariff program has a 20-year contract which guarantees your home’s solar system project will be paid for all the electricity that it generates. Financing options are available for those who are considering installing solar projects but are unable to afford the purchase and installation costs. This FAQ resource may answer some of your burning solar-related questions.
5. Drive an Electric Vehicle
Battery electric vehicles (BEV) are gaining momentum - with popular models like Tesla Model S and BMW i3 leading the way. If switching to a completely battery-powered car seems like too much of a jump, there are also plug-in hybrid electric vehicles that are essentially gasoline engines paired with a smaller battery component. With the Ontario government’s commitment to taking action on climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, they have implemented an Electric Vehicle Incentive Program that provides individuals purchasing electric vehicles with rebates of $5000 - $8500, and this value has now been increased with the government’s recent modifications to the program.
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