November 12, 2007

Conservation Officer stresses codes, standards as surest route to Ontario's energy savings goals

Ontario will meet its peak demand reduction target of 1,350 megawatts by 2007, and the provincial government has achieved 12% energy savings in government buildings, surpassing its own 2007 target of 10%.

At the same time, Peter Love, Ontario's Chief Energy Conservation Officer, reported that consumers reduced their electricity consumption by about 5% per capita (weather-adjusted) between January and June 2007, compared to 2005. And more than 800,000 smart meters have been installed on Ontario homes and small businesses.

In releasing his 2007 annual report, Taking Action, Love said more must be done to save a "limited and expensive resource" and reach long-term goals. He emphasized codes and standards as the most effective ways to achieve the province's conservation goals.

The report points out that over the last 20 years, electricity savings from changes to Ontario's Building Code and appliance standards have grown to about two-thirds of the total electricity savings and these savings are expected to increase over time.

Love's report makes 12 key recommendations aimed at helping the province remove barriers to improved energy efficiency and achieve a "culture of conservation." Eleven of these are directed toward the provincial government, and Love has renewed his call, first made this summer, for the appointment of municipal energy conservation officers across Ontario.

"Ensuring that every city, town and/or region has a local champion for energy conservation will help meet our goal of saving 1,350 MW by 2010 and 6,300 MW by 2025," he said. "Some Ontario communities already have someone performing this function to some degree - every Ontario community needs one.

"We must unify energy conservation efforts across the province to include all levels of government, institutions, businesses, and consumers," Love stated.

The report says the Ministry of Energy should develop a comprehensive, integrated energy conservation policy for all government departments that aligns electricity policies with other related policies, and prescribed ministries should commit to energy conservation in their statements of environmental values.

Other recommendations include the following.

*The Ministry of Energy should issue regulations under the Energy Conservation Leadership Act to designate combined heat and power (CHP) projects, clotheslines and solar collectors so that they may be used where there are restrictions that would otherwise impede their use.

*The Ministry of Energy should raise the minimum energy performance standards for six appliances now exempt from provincial retail sales tax (refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers, clothes washers, dehumidifiers and air conditioners) to the highest levels in North America.

*The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing should prepare a plan for the orderly consideration of energy efficiency in all renovations and retrofits.

*All government procurement policies and contracts should include current ENERGY STAR(r) requirements for energy efficiency where available.

*The government should reconfigure the role of the Chief Energy Conservation Officer to include advocacy for conservation of other important forms of energy used in Ontario, including natural gas and transportation fuels.

The report points out that the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) has 18 conservation programs in the market, delivered by a range of partners, with three more in development. The agency expects to have a total of 27 programs up and running in 2008.

By the end of 2007 local electricity distribution companies (LDCs) will have delivered over 500 conservation and demand management (CDM) programs to Ontario's electricity consumers, including residents, businesses, institutions, and industry. These programs, approved by the Ontario Energy Board, represent an investment of approximately $163 million over the last three years. An additional $400 million provincial government fund is being managed by the OPA to help support future LDC conservation initiatives.

The Chief Energy Conservation Officer's annual report may be viewed on the Conservation Bureau Web site, www.conservationbureau.on.ca.

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