Guelph’s energy footprint getting smaller

The city’s per capita energy use and greenhouse gas emissions have fallen significantly since the introduction of the Guelph Community Energy Initiative (CEI) in 2007.
According to the 2012 Energy Usage and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Summary Report, released today, Guelph’s per capita energy use has dropped 26.3 per cent against a 2006 baseline and greenhouse gas emissions have fallen by 17.6 per cent against the same year. These numbers were achieved despite a population growth of 21.7 per cent. The CEI calls for per capita energy and greenhouse gas emission reductions of 50 and 60 per cent, respectively by 2031.
The report summarizes data collected and analyzed by Guelph Hydro Inc. on behalf of the Community Energy Initiative in order to monitor the City’s progress against the Initiative’s energy and environmental goals.
The five most common sources of greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change are natural gas, gasoline, diesel fuel, electricity and municipal waste.
The most significant decline in greenhouse gas emissions occurred in the commercial sector where emissions were reduced 11.7 per cent. Greenhouse gas emissions from the residential sector also fell significantly, dropping by 10.2 per cent.
As in years past, transportation was the largest contributor to Guelph’s greenhouse gas emissions representing 30 per cent of the City’s total greenhouse gas emissions.
Emissions from municipal waste were reduced by 43.6 per cent as a result of the opening of the new organic composting facility in the city. This facility helps to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills where it emits greenhouse gases.
Guelph’s water conservation efforts are also helping to drive down greenhouse gases since 1.2 kilowatt hours of energy are required to produce and treat every cubic metre of water and wastewater. Since 2006, water conservation efforts have reduced the City’s average daily water production by 6.1 million litres of water per day; thus, decreasing energy use by close to 2.7 million kilowatt hours per year.
The analysis of the City’s energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions was performed using the internationally recognized measurement processes and protocol published by the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) and supported by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Partners for Climate Protection Program.
The following activities have contributed to greenhouse gas reductions in Guelph:
Solar Energy
• 190 solar installations generated four million kilowatt hours of emission-free electricity. The solar capacity of 5.5 megawatts now installed in Guelph is equivalent to 985 out of a target of 1,000 solar rooftops by 2020 as set out in the Guelph Community Energy Initiative.

Green Transportation
• A new record of seven million boardings on Guelph Transit
• The Bicycle-Friendly Guelph 10-year master plan is making it more attractive for residents to choose cycling as transportation. Over three kilometres of new bike lanes were constructed in 2013.
• Community CarShare launched with three vehicles in Guelph. Since May, the service has attracted 60 new members to use CarShare rather than owning or purchasing a personal vehicle.

Water Conservation
• City of Guelph Water Conservation Programs including: Royal Flush Toilet Rebate Program, Smart Wash Washing Machine Rebate Program, Home Humidifier Rebate Program, Blue Built Home Water Efficiency Standards and Rebate Program, Greywater Reuse Pilot Program, Rainwater Harvesting System Rebate Program and an Industrial, Commercial and Institutional Water Audit and Retrofit Program (

Electricity and Natural Gas Conservation
• Guelph Hydro Electric Systems Inc. saveONenergyOM conservation programs encourage residents and businesses to reduce electricity consumption (
• Union Gas enersmart™ programs provide homeowners and businesses with rebates and incentives to help them reduce their natural gas consumption (

“Riding bicycles to work or school, putting organic waste in green bins, reducing usage of air conditioning, installing solar panels—clearly everyone is doing their part to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gases to improve our environmental footprint.”
Mayor Karen Farbridge, City of Guelph
“This being our third annual report, our progress is evident. Together we are creating a more resilient economy and a healthier community by increasing energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”
Rob Kerr, Corporate Manager, Community Energy, City of Guelph
“With solar panels on the roofs of City buildings, businesses, churches and individual homes, the community is within striking distance of achieving the Community Energy Initiative target of the equivalent of 1,000 solar rooftops by 2020—seven years earlier than anticipated—and is well on its way to deriving 25 per cent of the community’s electricity from local renewable sources.”
Barry Chuddy, Chief Executive Officer, Guelph Hydro Inc.

The Community Energy Initiative is Guelph’s commitment to create a healthy, reliable and sustainable energy future by continually increasing the effectiveness of how we use and manage our energy and water resources. In partnership with the City of Guelph, Guelph Hydro Inc. is actively developing sustainable energy projects as a key implementer of the Community Energy Initiative. To read more, visit
Wholly owned by Guelph Municipal Holdings Inc. which is, in turn, 100 per cent owned by the City of Guelph, Guelph Hydro Inc. is the holding company for Guelph Hydro Electric Systems Inc., the local electricity distribution company serving 52,000 customers in Guelph and Rockwood, Ontario, Canada, and for Envida Community Energy Inc., an alternative energy company, also located in Guelph. For more information, visit


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