Bringing energy efficiency home with Oakville’s Community Energy Strategy

If you don’t already contemplate ways to lead a more sustainable life, perhaps this year’s Earth Day on April 22, 2022, will inspire you to start.  The theme is ‘Invest In Our Planet’ with a focus on building healthy cities, countries and economies. If you’re a resident of Oakville, you may soon have more power to tackle climate change with the town’s first Community Energy Strategy that plans to transform Oakville’s energy systems by 2041.

Improving the efficiency of existing Oakville homes is an essential part of the strategy’s goal to improve energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save energy costs. By 2041, the town is targeting to improve the efficiency of the residential sector by 30 per cent by retrofitting eight out of 10 existing homes, as well as setting standards for new home builds.

Fil Capuano, owner of Chatsworth Fine Homes and a Net Zero home builder, is part of a team to come up with possible solutions to help meet the mandate as well as encourage homeowners to participate in them once they’re available.

“When homes are more energy efficient, its occupants tend to enjoy healthier air and even temperatures throughout the home,” says Capuano. “With more people working remotely, better air quality in the house makes sense. Controlling humidity in winter, for example, can help prevent viruses spreading as well as prevent brain fog.”

The word ‘retrofit’ may not be an attractive prospect for some homeowners. The town recognizes that past efforts by the province to entice people to retrofit their houses have not always resulted in much participation. Many homeowners have had little desire to undergo a home audit, followed by research of products and services, and then foot the bill for myriad updates.

The proposed approach for the Oakville Community Energy Strategy is to deliver standardized energy retrofits in a way that encourages participation with simplified transactions, guaranteed pricing and lower cost pre-financed retrofits.

“Scale will be achieved through competitive pricing as a result of simplified transactions with contractors selected to provide the retrofits,” says Harry Shea, a member of the Oakville Energy Task Force that shaped the strategy. “I believe the barriers that might have prevented homeowners from doing retrofits in the past will be removed by our strategy that provides a more positive experience for the homeowner, and a more attractive business for the contractor.”

“There are a host of suggestions including increasing insulation and upgrading furnaces and windows, as well as incorporating the financing of retrofits through property bills,” says Capuano.

With the forthcoming energy solutions in Oakville, it will soon be easier for residents to respond to Earth Day’s call to invest in our planet. As the Earth Day website reminds us: it is through regulations, incentives, and public/private partnerships that governments can transform and build the green economy. We’re certainly moving in the right direction.

Oakville’s Community Energy Strategy

The ultimate goal of the strategy is to help the community:

  • use energy more efficiently and reduce waste
  • reduce energy costs
  • reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • create more opportunities to attract businesses and jobs
  • increase the security of our energy supply
  • enhance our resiliency to climate change