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How does heating and cooling of buildings contribute to my Carbon Footprint and Climate Change?

It seems intuitive that we need to burn some type of fuel to heat our homes or work places. But how can we reduce the impact on the environment? Programmable Thermostat

The first thing to consider is how to retain the heat that is generated. If you add up the space where air leaks out of the average Canadian home, the hole would be large enough to pass a basket ball through it. That's a lot of wasted energy needed to heat the home. Some work places are similar, but many are worse when considering the amount of time the doors are open - in some cases propped open in the winter!

Insulation is also very important, not just for heating, but cooling too. Most buildings that are more than 50 years old do not have any wall insulation. This may shock some people, but back when these buildings were constructed, insulating was not a common practice. All walls, including basement walls, should be insulated and ceilings should be insulated significantly more since heat rises.

Once a building is properly insulated and air leaks are sealed, the heating and cooling sources should be upgraded to the most efficient model available. Some lower impact heating sources include heat pumps, solar radiant heat, and geothermal heating and cooling.

Consider upgrading your hot water heater to an on demand water heater or a solar water heater to reduce your carbon footprint. For tips specific to heating, see our green tips for heating. Read about our interview with a solar water heating installer.

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