Saving energy reduces emissions that contribute to climate change. Finding ways to save energy, improve efficiency, and focus on renewable energy are all possible at the individual and the community level.
1. Encourage landlords to improve the energy efficiency of their buildings
Involving landlords in energy efficiency efforts will reduce their environmental impact and the quality of local housing. Respondents noted that many individual household actions can be difficult for renters with little control over energy use, heat sources and appliances in their homes. Create a community- based incentive program for landlords.
2. Promote and coordinate energy savings and efficiency programs
Promote provincial programs such as NB Power’s Total Home Energy Savings program. For $99, homeowners can have an energy audit performed on their house and obtain information about available provincial rebates.
Visit the NB Power website for more information and to sign up: https://www.saveenergynb.ca/en/save-energy/residential/total-home-energy-savings-program/
NB Power’s Community Outreach Program is available to community groups and non-profit organizations. NB Power donates retrofit items such as LED light bulbs, high efficiency shower heads and hot water pipe wrap to be installed in local homes. EOS Eco-Energy has coordinated this program locally in the past and could again in the future if funding is obtained.
Visit NB Power’s website for more information: https://www.saveenergynb.ca/en/save-energy/
Energy conservation and the environment have been priorities for us for some time. It began with choosing to build a house in 1988. The house (and roof) faces south, with windows mainly on the east and south. This design, combined with R28 walls, laid the groundwork for our upgrades in 2014. Photovoltaic solar panels, triple glazed windows, more cellulose in the attic, solar thermal hot water, new wood stove, and an air-to-air heat pump have reduced our consumption of electricity and brought us close to net zero. These things didn’t happen all at once but have evolved because we made it our priority. We have time now to grow and preserve more of our own food, taking advantage of the cold room which was part of the design years ago. Next ambition an electric car! Our panels were installed in the spring of 2013. Since then, we have generated about 50,500kWh. – Heather & Blane
Draft-proofing can be done by individual homeowners or organized as work parties that involve homeowners, friends and volunteers learning how to seal air leaks and working together to save the homeowner energy and money. The program has been offered by EOS Eco-Energy (when it can obtain funding) and includes an energy advisor with a blower door unit that measures air flow before and after the work party. Using simple tools and materials (like weather stripping, caulking, spray foam, foam gaskets, etc.) draft proofing can save an average of 1-2 tonnes of emissions per year per house. There are many older homes and buildings in the Sackville area that would benefit from draft-proofing work and the program should be offered again if funding can be secured. The program could be expanded to non-profit buildings, churches, and other community buildings.
4. Establish more solar powered buildings
The Sackville community is a leader in solar power with a number of homes, businesses and schools powered by the sun already! This is partly due to EOS Eco-Energy’ solar bulk purchases over recent years. There are few government rebates or incentives for solar systems in New Brunswick, but community-based bulk purchases help reduce some of the costs. EOS also often puts on solar energy workshops, organizes home tours and provides information, and a resource directory and case studies are available on the Renewables NB website: https://renewablesnb.ca. Furthermore, there are a number of passive solar homes built by EnerGreen Builders, a local cooperative, in the Sackville area.
I had never imagined I would design and build my own home. But after living (and renting) in Sackville for some years, I got to know local builders and learned about the elegant genius of passive solar design. I then bought an empty lot in Wood Point with a lovely view of the Bay of Fundy and realized that passive solar house construction was the obvious way to go. So, with a little help from friends and local tradesmen, I designed my own home and contracted EnerGreen Co-op to build it. It is one of the most energy efficient houses in Sackville-Tantramar and gorgeous to boot! This Christmas will be my tenth anniversary living in this home. – Brad
5. Coordinate community-based financing for energy projects
Beausejour Renewable Energy Co-operative Ltd. is a community-based for-profit investment cooperative run by a volunteer board. Local investment dollars are pooled to provide financing for solar or wind projects to commercial or residential property owners, and a return on investment to investors. Investments are kept local to help support local community development. More renewable energy projects in need of financing are desired in order to have investment opportunities.
Find out more about becoming a member, financing or investing at: https://beausejourcoop.wordpress.com.
6. Develop community-owned renewable energy projects
Community-owned solar farms and wind power sites create local jobs and revenue with less environmental impacts than other energy sources. The power grid in New Brunswick includes oil, gas, coal and nuclear power sources. If community members, organizations and businesses owned the renewable energy facility, they would be able to keep profits, control the facility’s operation and contribute to a much healthier environment. Unfortunately, current provincial regulations do not allow for community-owned power generation.
7. Create a lending library
Creating a lending library is a practical and feasible way to collaborate, share resources, reduce impact, save money and help each other. A community-based lending library could offer things such as garden tools, wheelbarrows, power tools, canning equipment, pressure cookers, dehydrators, heat lamps and incubators for chicks, wet/dry vacuums, fans, bicycles, camping gear, etc. Things that aren’t needed all the time but could be expensive or take up space to own would be great to have in a lending library. An organization or group would be needed to coordinate and house the items, some of which could be donated, and a small rental fee could be charged. Organizations such as the Sackville Commons or EOS Eco-Energy could potentially be involved or support the initiative.
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