News

Our Energy Guelph issues a newsletter every month, on or around the 15th - click here to sign up.  Read past issues here!

 

We're collecting stories about Guelph's journey to becoming a Net Zero Carbon community by 2050. Do you have a climate action story to tell? We welcome guest blog posts, or you can provide our communications team with an idea and they'll run with it.

SUBMIT YOUR IDEA OR ARTICLE

Past blog posts are listed below. Enjoy!

Press release: Poll shows climate is Guelph voters top issue

September 9, 2021 — Media Contact:  Alex Chapman, Executive Director, Our Energy Guelph  alex@ourenergyguelph.ca Cell: (226) 979-2417   FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  Climate is Guelph voters’ top issue  3 out of 4 adults want Guelph to be a climate leader In a Mainstreet Research poll of Guelph residents released today, climate emerged as the top issue determining the votes of adults in the community.  98%...

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STORMWELL RWH blames it on the rain

September 2, 2021 — The global business community is beginning to recognize that sustainable investments and practices, along with the integration of cleantech solutions, are not only good for the planet, but are good for business. As resiliency and resource efficiency come to the forefront of corporate sustainability efforts, we must prioritize our response. What good is a smart city and net zero energy...

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UA wants you to fly the electric skies

September 1, 2021 — The electric vehicle trend has been steadily increasing, and the demand for more sustainable alternatives to technology and equipment we currently use is rising. Driving is a necessity for most people, so hybrid and electric cars are becoming quite common. While modes of transportation on land have upgraded, those in the skies have been left behind. When an airplane passes...

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Faces of OEG - David Estill has gone with the wind

September 1, 2021 — Music, boat sailing, cycling, sustainability. Those are just a few things that David Estill told me about himself during our interview. I had the pleasure of discussing his projects and work with different organizations, and his perspectives on sustainability and how it can become more equitable to all groups of people. David worked a job with a computer distributor on...

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Bluewater Energy leads the way to a sustainable future

July 28, 2021 — Passionate and goal-oriented is how I would describe Wil Beardmore of Bluewater Energy. I (virtually) sat down for a discussion of his company and his work to know more about one of the leaders of sustainability here in Canada. Bluewater Energy is based in Guelph, Ontario and specializes in installing solar energy equipment on both residential and commercial buildings. Sustainability...

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Canada’s buildings are a climate drag – can they pick up the pace? (Dianne Saxe guest blog)

June 30, 2021 — Municipalities across Canada are grappling with how to honour their climate emergency declarations and net-zero commitments. To reach net-zero by 2050, municipalities would have to ensure deep energy efficiency and/or renewable energy renovations in an average of ~3% of existing buildings every year, starting now. PACE (property-assessed clean energy) programs could help tackle this huge task, but only if they...

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Letters from 2025, Part III: Trudy

May 26, 2021 — Retired Guelph real estate salesperson Trudy Dickinson sits in the shade of a vine-covered yard in the unseasonable late-May heat. I asked for her thoughts on the triple-whammy of energy efficiency, rising utility bills, and climate change. “Prior to retiring, I did my best to explain to buyers that decisions to incorporate solar, or other energy retrofits, in building a...

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OEG is hiring!

May 10, 2021 — Are you looking for a summer job? Is climate action important to you? Do you want to help Guelph achieve its goal of net zero carbon by 2050? Do you want some great experience with an innovative organization?  If you answered "yes" to these questions, please apply! OEG is recruiting for three summer positions, all of which have the following...

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Letters from 2025, Part II: Jyothi

April 15, 2021 — Don’t call her a landlord. Having studied medieval history in university, Joythi doesn’t like the feudal character of the word. To her, it evokes a loathsome and obsolete cultural hierarchy, a baron of old reigning over peasants. She prefers the more awkward term, “rental property owner”. Jyothi grew up in the small town of Bath, New Brunswick. Her parents were...

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Letters from 2025, Part I: Yvonne

March 16, 2021 — Yvonne lives near Guelph’s Norm Jary Park. She met her husband Harry while working at the University of Guelph in the late sixties - they were in their lunchroom, each fixing a cup of Earl Grey tea, when they started chatting. Soon they were married, and bought a house together not long after - the first owners. They were living...

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People power meets market muscle

February 17, 2021 — The climate change issue has a sad history, for the most part: scientists expressing concern, then alarm, then something a lot like panic. And all the while, politicians, businesses, and people...well, as in the sinking of the “unsinkable” Titanic, the band played on. But that history has reached a turning point. Climate change science, including the greenhouse effect that causes...

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Somebody Else's Problem

January 19, 2021 — Make money by saving the climate? Wait, what? It seems too good to be true. Saving the planet costs money, doesn’t it? Monster cleanup bills for abandoned oil wells, massive financial losses (to say nothing of loss of life) from wildfires, and crippling recovery expenses in the wake of ever-stronger hurricanes? Isn’t that the story? That’s what makes the headlines....

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The many faces of zero

December 15, 2020 — Zero seems a simple enough concept. Nothing. Zilch. Nada. But there's more to zero than meets the eye, and it means different things to different people. Last week Mike Darmon, local cycling advocate and a member of our Board of Directors, sent me a Royal Lepage listing for a property billing itself as a "Beautiful Cape Cod NET ZERO Home"....

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Knowing where to look

November 17, 2020 — A couple of years ago, the City of Guelph looked at its vehicle fleet for the best opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions without breaking the bank. At the Fall 2020 meeting of Guelph Energy Managers, we were treated to a fascinating presentation on this project. The results were surprising, and can be summed up as: the easy work...

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Local Climate Banks: A way to pay for climate action

October 16, 2020 — We’ve got the power to make our own power and to make money at the same time. Each year, Guelph spends nearly half a billion dollars on energy: natural gas to heat our buildings; electricity to keep our lights on, fridges cool, and computers humming; and gasoline to keep our cars and trucks rolling. Only a tiny fraction of that...

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The Downtown Dining District: An open letter to the City

September 15, 2020 — Mayor Cam Guthrie City of Guelph 1 Carden Street Guelph, Ontario N1H 3A1 Open Letter Re: Downtown Dining District   Dear Mayor Guthrie, Our Energy Guelph would like to express its support for the continuation of the Downtown Dining District. As you are aware, OEG aims for Guelph to be a net zero carbon community by 2050. One of the...

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Adding up the COVID pros and cons

August 24, 2020 — The human toll of COVID-19 has been horrific, surpassing 23 million confirmed cases and 800,000 deaths worldwide as of this writing. The economic impacts have been similarly staggering. While many have discussed and analyzed these stories in all manner of ways, the sustainability implications haven’t gotten much airtime. First, the bad news. As people have sequestered themselves in their homes,...

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Pedalling toward a yummy, sunny future

July 16, 2020 — Leah Nielsen found a way.  She built a pedal-propelled, sun-powered ice cream business called Unicorn Scoops. Along the way she overcame the physical challenge of a brain injury, the financial challenge of the annual summertime furlough from her supply teaching career, and the entrepreneurial challenge of opening a business. Now she’s bringing smiles to children’s faces - in more ways...

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Let's set the PACE for a clean recovery

June 18, 2020 — Guelph has a potent tool at its disposal to help the community to recover from the economic ravages of the pandemic. It’s called PACE: Property-Assessed Clean Energy. PACE can finance property improvements like better insulation, solar panels, and carbon-free electric heating using highly efficient heat pumps. PACE removes the biggest barrier to such projects - the upfront capital cost. Since...

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Keeping mobile in a lockdown II: Karma arrives

May 18, 2020 — In our last episode, we were eagerly awaiting delivery of our new (to us) electric car. With our old minivan written off, we’d been forced to buy a new vehicle, we’d settled on the Hyundai Kona EV,  a local dealer had tried and failed a bait-and-switch, we had closed a sale with a dealer in Edmonton, the car had been...

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Keeping mobile in a lockdown

April 16, 2020 — This story is a small one, insignificant compared to a worldwide emergency, a candle compared to the noonday sun. This is not a story of woe; my family has been lucky, virtually untouched by the pandemic (and my heart goes out to health care workers, grocery store staff, and others that are on the front line of this battle). It...

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One hop is better than two

March 11, 2020 — Spring is just over a week away. The snow is melting, a winter’s worth of dog poop is appearing, the crocuses aren’t far away, and my youngest daughter is counting the days until the Easter Bunny visits. A certain electricity is in the air. That electricity is about to make its way into our city buses. In January Guelph welcomed...

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I've seen the light

February 12, 2020 — You may have noticed something different outside your front door. Little by little, block by block, the streetlights are changing. The old high-pressure sodium streetlights produce a distinctive orange colour of illumination. The bulbs (which have to be removed, discarded, and replaced every three to five years) cast light in almost every direction. A device called a photocell controls each...

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Scoping 1-2-3

November 7, 2019 — Guelph will be a Net Zero Carbon community by 2050. In a prior post, I explored what that means. Another key question is how to measure it. After all, as management guru Peter Drucker famously pointed out, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” Like a child measuring their height on a wall, it seems simple but there’s...

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Net Zero Carbon: What does it mean?

August 1, 2019 — Carbon. Element #6 on the periodic table. 18.5% of the mass in a typical human body, second only to oxygen. You'll find it in coal, gasoline, natural gas, but also food, fermented beverages, the frame of my now-obsolete road bicycle...and the atmosphere, again with its pal oxygen in the form of carbon dioxide. Guelph has a goal to be a...

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The next chapter for the CEI

April 26, 2019 — As a community we face a wide range of issues that require coordinated action across government, the business sector, and the community at large. I want to speak about one of those big issues: climate change. More specifically, I want to talk about climate change mitigation, which refers to our responsibility to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as rapidly as possible...

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Guelph hospitals get provincial funds for energy efficiency improvements

February 13, 2018 — "Guelph’s hospitals are among those on the receiving end of the province’s cap-and-trade program. Guelph General Hospital (GGH) and St. Joseph’s Health Centre are the recipients of a total of nearly $1.5 million from the province toward projects meant to improve energy efficiency at the two hospitals." (Read more on Guelph Tribune)

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Deep retrofit upgrade makes Guelph home as good as new

February 13, 2018 — A new family moving to Guelph decided to make a change to a car-free, sustainable lifestyle. A deep retrofit of their property upgrades their Energuide rating to 82, which means that their house performs among the top 5% of buildings of its type. Read the case study to learn more.

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Savings from LED traffic signals exceed Guelph's expectations

February 13, 2018 — "Guelph is starting the first city-wide replacement of LED traffic signal bulbs since they were installed in 2006, resulting in savings that city hall says have exceeded expectations. The city expected a four-year payback period from the LED traffic signal upgrades, but it saw a much shorter, two-year payback period and it continues to see operational savings every year" (Read...

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City wins FCM's Sustainable Community Award

February 13, 2018 — "The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) has awarded the City of Guelph a Sustainable Community Award in the category of sustainable neighbourhood revitalization and design for the Guelph Innovation District (GID) secondary plan. FCM praised the plan’s carbon-neutral vision and its efficient, sustainable design which reduces transportation needs." (Read more on City's website)

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County applies for more vehicle charging stations

February 13, 2018 — "Wellington County will apply for federal funding for up to seven additional electric vehicle charging stations. At its Jan. 25 meeting, county council approved an administration, finance and human resources committee recommendation to apply to a Natural Resources Canada program for up to 50% of the total project costs, to a maximum of $50,000 per charging unit." (Read more from...

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Sleeman Centre gets a lighting facelift

February 13, 2018 — Sleeman Centre is home of the Guelph Storm OHL Hockey Franchise. In addition to ice sports, this facility hosts a variety of events including, concerts, corporate and family events and an assortment of special sports events. The facility typically operates for 18 hours per day during the hockey season leaving the off season schedule dependent on event bookings, off ice...

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Guelph residential development helps set zero-carbon building standard

February 13, 2018 — "Consisting of 8 residences and ground floor commercial with basement storage, a joint project of Terra View Homes and Newton Group that has been selected to be part of the Canada Green Building Council's Zero Carbon Building Standard pilot program. The building will be part of Terra View's NiMa Trails development in Guelph's north end." (Read more from Guelph Mercury...

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Guelph faith-based institutions lead the way on solar adoption

February 8, 2018 — By our estimates, five faith based instutitions in Guelph are producing energy locally through rooftop solar.   Harcourt Memorial United Church on 87 Dean Avenue has 46 solar panels on its roof. Since 2011, these panels have produced nearly 80MWh of electricity - enough to power nearly 8 average Ontario homes! Click here to learn more about their system.  St....

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Social housing cooperative gets a lot greener

February 7, 2018 — "A $45,400 green energy investment in Wellington County’s Royal City Housing Co-operative in Guelph will save residents lots of money, and reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of a social housing community built back when baseboard electric heaters were the thing." .... (read original article on GuelphToday)

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Dr. Kirby Calvert on Community Energy Planning

February 7, 2018 — This post originally appeared on CEKAP.ca and was written by Dr. Kirby Calvert First principles ensure coordination of efforts, and position for success. This blog will excavate, evaluate, and refine the ‘first principles’ of community energy planning. My insights build on the Getting to Implementation project, inspired conversations with leading practitioners, and my experience as co-chair of the City of Guelph’s energy task...

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Lloyd Longfield, MP Guelph

March 6, 2017 — Mr. Speaker, I rise today to offer my full support of the Paris agreement and the promise this agreement holds for Canada's future. Climate change is truly unlike any other challenge the House or, indeed, humanity itself has ever faced as this struggle is not with a particular nation or ideology, but with an ever-increasing need of human society. We...

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