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Toronto Has A Net-Zero Emissions Goal For 2040 & Here’s How You Can Help The City Reach It

Winter is coming.

Sponsored Content Contributing Writer, Studio
Toronto Has A Net-Zero Emissions Goal For 2040 & Here’s How You Can Help The City Reach It

The impacts of climate change can be seen all around us: extreme heat, intense storms, flooding — it can all feel super overwhelming and scary. But you don’t have to feel powerless; there are actions that you can take to help reduce the emissions that are driving climate change.

According to the City of Toronto’s most recent greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory, most Toronto homes burn fossil fuel that heavily contributes to GHG emission in the city. These emissions stem primarily from the burning of fossil fuels (natural gas) for heating and hot water.

If you’re concerned about climate change, there are several tangible steps you can take to reduce the carbon emissions from your house.

In fact, everyone can do something to help reduce community-wide emissions in Toronto to net zero by 2040. This target set by the city is one of the most ambitious in North America — and it’s totally doable.

Creating a more energy-efficient house will not only reduce your home’s emissions but also help lower your energy bills and make your house extra cozy.

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Any Torontonian knows that winter means bitter cold temperatures, so it makes sense that, in the average Toronto home, burning natural gas for heating accounts for up to 64% of the energy used.

One of the biggest steps you can take to reduce your home’s emissions is to replace your natural gas furnace with an electric heat pump, which efficiently runs on electricity instead of gas.

A cold climate-rated heat pump can completely replace your gas furnace — and your air conditioner, too. Yup, it’ll probably help you save some serious coin all year long, reducing your heating and cooling bills significantly.

Pro tip: winters in Canada can be harsh, so consider a cold climate-rated heat pump, which can completely replace your current furnace.

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OK, so you have your heating and cooling system sorted, but did you know 20% of the heat loss in your home can occur through your walls? And when you crank up your thermostat to compensate for the heat loss, it can lead to moisture-related problems inside your house. Yikes.

The solution: stop air leaks and improve the insulation in your home, from your roof down to the foundation. Ensure your walls, attic and basement (major air-leak offenders) are properly insulated to keep the warm air inside and cold air outside.

Not sure how to tell if your insulation is up to snuff? If your floors and walls are cold in the winter or you have mould growth, you may need an insulation upgrade.

Walls aren’t the only thing letting in that winter wind, though — heat gained or lost through inefficient windows and doors can increase the energy you use to heat and cool your home by 25% to 30%.

Bonus: energy-efficient new windows have more glazing to muffle outside noise.

A quick way to see if your windows are inefficient is to look for condensation on your windows — this happens when the cold outside air comes into contact with the warm air inside your home.

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Together, all of these measures will reduce the amount of energy you need to heat or cool your home, minimizing your home’s emissions and making your home more comfortable all year long.

These energy-efficient improvements may seem daunting, but they don't have to be.

The City of Toronto offers loans to help Toronto homeowners make these improvements through its Home Energy Loan Program. Improvements eligible for financing include heat pumps, windows and doors, insulation, rooftop solar, EV chargers and more.

The city also has a handy website, BetterHomesTO, dedicated to helping you optimize your home’s energy efficiency. Find energy-saving tips, a list of all of the rebates and incentives available (like the Home Winterproofing Program and Canada Greener Homes Grant) and tips to help you start your home retrofit.

A good place to start is with an EnerGuide Home Evaluation to help learn more about how your home uses energy now and the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint.
You may need to start with this assessment to qualify for incentives and rebates.

Together, all Torontonians can have a role in reducing carbon emissions. Yup, change can happen, and it can start today.

To find out more about the upgrades and incentives to improve your home, check out the City’s BetterHomesTO website or follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Elisha Barry
Sponsored Content Contributing Writer, Studio