Canada's Condominium Magazine
If half of GTA households reduced 10 percent of their energy consumption, we would reduce emissions of C02 by 8.5 BILLION cubic feet annually (gas volume).
Put another way, if you alone reduced your energy usage by 10 percent, you’d reduce emissions by 8741 cubic feet — enough toxic gas to fill 22 cement trucks.
The average condo home is already greener than an equivalent-sized detached home — but all households can make significant environmental impacts. Whether your goal is reducing your astronomical hydro bill or being a good “green citizen” there is still more that condo-owners can do.
Even incremental changes could reduce tons of C02
Each incremental change may seem insignificant — 53 cents there, 15 watts there — but over the course of a year it adds up to hundreds of dollars, sometimes thousands, and tons of carbon footprint reduction. If your condo has separate hydro metering, these savings can be considerable. In a house, especially in a lower density area where hydro rates are higher, the savings could be dramatically higher.
According to the Ontario Energy Board, the five-year average for a GTA household’s power use is averaged 747 kWh — which represents 6,723 TONS of C02 annually. That doesn’t include your car and other consumptions that result in C02.
Obviously, depending on peak versus off-peak, this adds up fast in terms of savings on your energy bills. Again, according to OEB, based on 2016 numbers, with distribution, transmission, and all the other costs in, the average residential cost was $149.86. A twenty-percent reduction in usage, which is very feasible with our tips below, can save you $30 per month, or $360 per year.
Tons of C02 Annually
If your usage is 747 kWh per month, the average, according to Carbonify’s handy calculator, you’re contributing to 6.723 TONS of C02 Annually. If you manage to save the 20 percent in usage, you’ve contributed to an environmental saving to the environment of 1.346 tons. [Carbonify’s handy calculator link is at the bottom of this feature. Run your own numbers.]
If you’re not sure what a ton represents in C02 gas, it’s a shocking 17,483 cubic feet — roughly enough gaseous volume to fill 44 Concrete mixer trucks.
If 17,483 cubic feet of C02 doesn’t seem like much, multiply this by the roughly 5.5 million people in the GTA, just under 2 million households. Even if only half of households (1 million) managed to save 10 percent 8741 (cubic feet each), — this represents an environmental saving (reduction) in C02 of 8.5 BILLION cubic feet.
How to do it? Tips to reduce by 20 percent
A lot of the tips here are intuitive. For example, reducing one rinse on the washing machine (turn off that extra rinse!). Lowering the thermostat by 1 degree in winter and up 1 degree in summer makes the biggest difference in your annual bill. There are dozens of other little things that you can do, that — when added together — could easily save you 20 percent a year. That is, unless you’re already one of the greener condo owners!
Let’s see how the numbers play out:
- Food waste: According to Carbonify, a family of 4 averages 7.2 tons of C02 emissions annually based on the full cycle of the products (raising animals or crops, cultivation, transportation, waste, etc.). Reducing packaged goods by 20% is a good start. NET win: saved 1.44 tons
- Meat: In addition to meat, a family of 4 eating meat adds another 6 tons of C02 to the tally. Cutting meat by 20 percent is a good start — and probably good for your health, too. NET win: saved 1.2 tons
- Commuting: here, condo owners usually are the big enviro-helpers. Detached homes, on average, triple commute times. Based on a 21 miles per gallon car, a 16 km commute (average for condos) results in 1.65 tons. A 45 km commute from a suburban home owner results in nearly 5 tons! In addition, many condo owners can more easily switch to transit and reduce 1.65 tons to 0.6 tons if by train, less if by electric subway. Short commute scenario NET win (transit over car): 1 ton
- Computer: if you’re like many people, you leave your computer on all day, thinking it uses very little power when sleeping. The usage for an average PC, left on for 12 hours per day, 360 days per year is 324 kWh. Assuming you actually only use your computer 3 hours a day, shut down your PC for the remaining 9 and only use 81kWh (saves 243 kWh). Net WIN: 0.18 ton.
- Clothes washer: simply turning off the second rinse, can save up to 7 kWh). Net WIN: 0.005 tons
- Cold water washing: switch to cold water washing on your washing machine, and you’ll average an 80 percent win on your energy bill and CO2 emissions. NET WIN: 0.027 ton
- LED bulbs: needless to say, you’ve already done this, right? Swap out those halogens, especially, as they are monster consumers.
- Thermostat: turn down your heating only 2 degrees in winter, or up 2 degrees in winter and you have a NET win: 1 ton
- Junk Mail: put a stop to junk mail: 100 million trees worth of junk mail are sent out yearly in North America. Opt out if you can. (*Note: Trees offset carbon emissions, so for every 95 trees cut down, we lose the ability to filter 1.6 tons of C02.) In other words, junk mail contributes to 1.7 million tons of C02 annually. It is estimated, each person opting out could save 0.76 tons of C02. NET win 0.76 tons
- Toilet Paper: a reduction of 1 toilet roll per household — and a switch to only recycled tissues — can save 373,000 trees, 1.48 million cubic feet of landfill and 155 million gallons of water.
- This is only a small list of things you can do, with an OVERAL NET WIN of: 5.6 tons.