Infrastructure and Planning Drives Energy Consumption: Environmental Commissioner of Ontario

By ReNew Canada 02:45PM May 31, 2016



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Today in Queen’s Park, Environmental Commissioner Dianne Saxe presented the 2015/2016 Energy Conservation Progress Report Conservation: Let’s Get Serious to the Ontario Legislature. In it, she highlights the importance of infrastructure planning to achieving emission targets.

Overall, the report noted that “total energy use in Ontario in 2014 was roughly the same as in 2007, despite a 7 per cent increase in population, an 8 per cent increase in GDP, and the unusually cold winter in 2014. In other words, energy use per capita and per dollar of GDP has dropped 7 and 8 per cent.”

The report pointed out that in 2007, the government committed to reduce the carbon intensity of transportation fuels by 10 per cent by 2020; and to date, very little measurable progress had been made towards this target. “To a large degree, Ontario’s transportation fuel use is a function of past land use and infrastructure decisions, especially in southern Ontario,” it stated.

Saxe applauded progress in benchmarking energy performance of public buildings, such as hospitals, schools, colleges, and municipal facilities as they mostly consume natural gas. This saves $450 million and 1 megaton of gases every year. The Commissioner’s website includes an interactive map that displays the greenhouse gas emissions and energy uses of every building in the Ontario public sector–noting that this information to be easily accessible in public.

Because Ontario closed coal-fired generating stations, it has started to make progress in reducing energy use and has much healthier air. Ontario continues to depend on fossil fuels for more then 80 per cent of energy and uses more fossil fuels now then we did in 2007.

Saxe said that “Ontario’s strategy is lopsided. The government has focused on conserving electricity, the smallest and cleanest of our major energy sources. Proportionately to the energy provided, Ontario has invested one-tenth the amount into conserving natural gas and even less on high-emission transportation fuels. So it’s no surprise that their use is going up.”

The full report is available online at:




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