The lowest-hanging fruit when it comes to solving Windsor’s recently declared climate change emergency is our woefully inefficient homes, which use 35 per cent more energy than the Ontario average.
So creating a Residential Deep Energy Efficiency Retrofit program aimed at retrofitting 80 per cent of Windsor’s older-than-average housing stock by 2041 is at the top of a list of seven strategies that would reduce reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 540,000 tonnes of CO2 annually. That works out to 71 per cent of the city council-approved target of a 760,000-tonne target. A report on accelerating Windsor’s climate change actions going to next Wednesday’s Environment, Transportation and Public Safety Standing Committee also includes additional recommendations to get to 100 per cent.
“It is going to be challenging, transformative, ambitious,” Karina Richters, the city’s supervisor of environmental sustainability and climate change, said of reaching the goal. She prepared the report in response to council’s Nov. 18 emergency declaration, which called for a plan within 90 days to accelerate the existing Community Energy Plan. Richters said she hopes the report paints a clear picture for council on what needs to be done.
Another action is to reduce emissions by 65,000 tonnes is to have 10 per cent of all heating and cooling demands met by district energy systems, which involve having centralized units delivering heating and cooling through underground pipes to numerous buildings. Replacing heaters and air conditioners in individual buildings with district energy increases efficiency by 65 per cent and has already been proven successful with the District Energy System operating downtown. Richters said district energy might be feasible in industrial areas. A bonus is they are easily adaptable when a new efficient fuel or technology becomes available.