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Simple Abundance Learning Series. 25 ways to Save Money and Reduce your Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions by 25%. 2. About Wintergreen. Wilderness retreat and environmental learning centre Wide range of off-site and on-site sustainability programs

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25 ways to save money and reduce your greenhouse gas ghg emissions by 25
25 ways to Save Money and

Reduce your Greenhouse Gas (GHG)

Emissions by 25%


about wintergreen
About Wintergreen
  • Wilderness retreat and environmental learning centre
  • Wide range of off-site and on-site sustainability programs
  • We partner with a variety of community organizations and educational institutions
  • Registered charity funded by grants, donors, and program revenue
simple abundance learning series1

This workshop is part of a series provided by Wintergreen Studios to promote sustainable living:

    • Simple Abundance
    • GetEnergy Smart
    • Sustainable Food
    • RenewableEnergy
    • Natural Building and Renovating

For more information or to book a workshop contact:

Simple Abundance Learning Series

Seventh Generation Learning Series Simple Living

thanks to our partners funders
Thanks to our partners & funders

This workshop was funded in part by the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

thanks to our partners funders1
Thanks to our partners & funders

We work in collaboration with several community partners:


Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meettheirownneeds.

~ Bruntland Commission

“In every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the seventh generation... even if it requires having skin as thick as the bark of a pine.”

~ From the Great Law of the Iroquois Confederacy

why live sustainably
Why Live Sustainably?
  • Fossil fuels are a non-renewable resource
  • Extraction, transportation and use damage the environment
  • Fossil Fuels cause Climate Change

Need to reduce GHGs by 80% by 2050(increasing less than 2 degrees Celsius)

  • Peak Oil Theory (Consumption is greater than discovery)
  • Save money

We need to live within our means

make a plan to reduce energy use
Make a Plan to Reduce Energy Use
  • Start by measuring your current energy usage
    • Need to become more aware of energy use
  • Phase 1 – Reduce your consumption
    • Save money and energy without spending money
      • Most people can save 25% within 1 year
  • Phase 2 – Invest in energy efficiency
    • Make a plan to reduce usage by 50% over 10 years
      • Get a home energy audit & invest in renewable energy
  • Phase 3 – Change your lifestyle
    • Take 20 years to adjust your lifestyle to reduce by 80%
      • Downsize and move so you can walk to work
      • Change your diet, spending and travel patterns

An 80% reduction is possible over 20 years


average canadian household
Average Canadian Household
  • 2.6 people per house
  • 149 square meters in size
    • 20 appliances
    • 44% Air Conditioned
  • 20,000 km/year driving
    • - 16 km/day commuting
  • 12,500 km/year flying

27,100 kg CO2/year GHG emissions

due to household expenditures

Source: Natural Resources Canada, CMHC, Statistics Canada


how do we generate ghgs
How Do We Generate GHGs?

Source: Statistics Canada


major sources of household ghg s

Kg CO2/year

GHG Contributor


Driving a car




Heating your home


Eating meat


Air conditioning


These 5 items account for two-thirds of a household’s GHG emissions

Major Sources of Household GHG’s

What are the top 5 contributors to the average household’s GHG emissions?

actual ghg reductions natural gas
Actual GHG Reductions – Natural Gas
  • Phase 1 (reduce):
  • Turn down heat & hot water, cold water wash, low flow showerhead
    • Saved 1000 kg CO2 & $200/yr
  • Phase 2 (invest):
  • Invested $15k on solar air heater, solar water heater, tank-less hot water, sealed leaks
    • Saved 2000 kg CO2 & $700/yr
  • Invested $8k in wood stove
    • Saved 1200 kg CO2 & $300/yr
  • Total:
  • 58% GHG savings (Natural Gas)
    • 4200 kg CO2 & $1200/yr

Source: CMHC


what you can do to save household heating cooling

Annual Savings

Energy Saving Action

525 kg CO2

Set your furnace to 20 ° C when you are home and 17 ° C at night or when you are out in the winter

215 kg CO2

Use cold water to wash clothes

Set your air conditioner to 25 C when you are home and 28 C when you are out in the summer (Peaksaver)

200 kg CO2

190 kg CO2

Turn down hot water heater to 50 °C

140 kg CO2

Use low flow shower heads and faucets

1270 kg CO2

Total Average Household Savings ($150/year)

What You Can Do to Save – Household Heating & Cooling

The best way to realize the pleasure of feeling rich is to live in a smaller house than your means would entitle you to have. - Edward Clarke

Small group discussion


actual ghg reductions electricity
Actual GHG Reductions - Electricity

Phase 1 (reduce):

Unplugged freezer, stopped using dryer, turned out lights, installed CFLs& power bars

  • Saved 1,850 kg CO2 & $700/yr

Phase 2 (invest):

Installed LED lights, optimized thermostat for TOU pricing

  • Saved 300 kg CO2 & $100/yr

Spent extra $170/year on Bullfrog Power

  • Saved 1,000 kg CO2


100% GHG savings

  • 3150 kg CO2 & $630/yr



what you can do to save household electricity

Annual Savings

Energy Saving Action

250 kg CO2

Install CFL and LEDs in 10 most frequently used lights

250 kg CO2

Unplug your 2nd Fridge

170 kg CO2

Unplug your freezer

130 kg CO2

Stop using clothes dryer 50% of the time

70 kg CO2

Put TVs and computers on power bars & turn them off

870 kg CO2

Total Average Household Savings ($400/year)

What You Can Do to Save – Household Electricity

If it weren't for electricity, we'd all be watching television by candlelight.

- George Gobel

Source: Natural Resources Canada

shifting electricity usage off peak
Shifting Electricity Usage Off-Peak
  • Peak electricity produces more GHGs and costs more:
    • Coal, oil and natural gas used for peak electricity in Ontario
    • Overnight electricity comes from hydro and nuclear
    • Summer peak is 11:00am to 5:00pm
    • Winter peak is from 7:00am to 11:00am and 5:00pm to 7:00pm
  • Tips to shift your electricity usage off-peak:
    • Dry your clothes after 7:00pm and on weekends or hang them up
    • Program your thermostat to pre-heat and pre-cool your home before 7:00am
    • Put your swimming pool pump on a timer to run off peak
    • Put your dehumidifier on a timer to run off peak
    • Cook your meals after 5:00pm in the summer and before 5:00pm in the winter
    • Run your dishwasher, clothes washer, and lawn mower after 7:00pm and on weekends

Reduce the electricity peak and save money!

Small group discussion


actual ghg reductions car
Actual GHG Reductions - Car
  • Phase 1:
  • One person moved to work closer to home
    • Saved 1150 kg CO2 & $400/yr
  • Phase 2:
  • Second person reduced commuting, use e-bike
    • Saved 500 kg CO2 & $200/yr
  • Total:
  • 27% GHG savings
    • 1650 kg CO2 & $600/yr


what you can do to save transportation

Annual Savings

Energy Saving Action

275 kg CO2

Slow down to speed limit on the highway (80 - 100 km/h)

200 kg CO2

Walk or bike to work 1 day per week

120 kg CO2

Take the bus to work 1 day per week

100 kg CO2

Carpool to work 1 day per week

100 kg CO2

Reduce idling by 5 minutes per day

795 kg CO2

Total Average Household Savings ($350/year)

What You Can Do to Save – Transportation

We are prone to judge success by the index of our salaries or the size of our automobiles, rather than by the quality of our service relationship to humanity. - Martin Luther King Jr.

Source: Natural Resources Canada, Transport Canada, Statistics Canada, WWF

Small group discussion


actual ghg reductions food
Actual GHG Reductions - Food
  • Phase 1:
  • Restarted herb & vegetable garden, cut buying of prepared foods in half
    • Saved 550 kg CO2
  • Phase 2:
  • Joined CSA, buy fruits & vegetables at local market, buy Ontario wine
    • Saved 225 kg CO2
  • Total:
  • 23% GHG savings
    • 775 kg CO2


what you can do to save food

Annual Savings

Energy Saving Action

370 kg CO2

  • Don’t eat meat for 1 day per week
    • (especially shrimp, lamb, and grain fed beef)

225 kg CO2

Buy local food where possible, especially in season

200+ kg CO2

Grow your own herbs and vegetables

100 kg CO2

Don’t eat prepared food 1 day per week

90 kg CO2

Drink tap water instead of bottled water

985 kg CO2

Total Average Household Savings ($400/year)

What You Can Do to Save – Food

The most political act we do on a daily basis is to eat, as our actions affect farms, landscapes, and food businesses. - Jules Pretty

Source: Statistics Canada, CBC, WWF 

Small group discussion


actual ghg reductions other
Actual GHG Reductions - Other

Phase 1:

Reduced flying vacations by 1 per year, stopped using lawn mower, snow blower

  • Saved 5530 kg CO2 & $1700

Phase 2:

Driving to ski instead of flying, cut garbage in half

  • Saved 3670 kg CO2 & $1200


50% GHG savings

  • 9200 kg CO2 & $2900


what you can do to save other consumption

Annual Savings

Energy Saving Action

1800 kg CO2

Take a driving vacation instead of flying every other year

400 kg CO2

Compost your food waste (new green bin)

300 kg CO2

Reduce your garbage by 1 bag per week

160 kg CO2

Recycle it (blue and black box)

90 kg CO2

Stop using gas lawn mower (or snow blower)

2750 kg CO2

Total Average Household Savings ($650/year)

What You Can Do to Save – Other Consumption

A house is just a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff. - George Carlin

Source: CMHC, Environment Canada, Statistics Canada, WWF


actual ghg reductions overall
Actual GHG Reductions - Overall
  • 19,000 kg CO2 reduction
  • 26% GHG savings without spending money
    • $3000/year savings
  • 50% overall GHG savings with $23k investment
    • $5330/year savings

Start by reducing first!


what you can save overall
What You Can Save - Overall
  • 6670 kg CO2 reduction
  • 25% GHG savings without spending money
  • $1950 potential savings

Make a plan and look for ways to save more


the next 25 investing money to reduce ghg s



CO2 Savings


Bullfrog Power


3000 kg/year

Not Applicable

Seal up home air leaks


500 kg/year


Drain Water Heat Recovery


120 kg/year


Solar air heater


250 kg/year


Tank-less water heater


400 kg/year


Insulate walls and attic


500 kg/year


Solar hot water


1000 kg/year


High efficiency gas furnace




2 kW Solar PV array


575 kg/year


Geothermal heat


2700 kg/year


Electric Scooter - commuting


1000 kg/year


Hybrid car


1500 kg/year


The Next 25% - Investing Money to Reduce GHGs

Get an Energy audit if you live in an older home


the final 30 life in 2050 and beyond
The Final 30% - Life in 2050 and Beyond

Creating the world we want is a much more subtle but more powerful mode of operation than destroying the one we don’t want.

- Marianne Williamson

  • Higher costs for gasoline, electricity, water and air travel
    • Less commuting and leisure driving
    • Electric trains, buses and cars for local and regional transportation
  • Smaller, passive solar homes (no furnace or AC), built with local material
    • Green roofs with solar hot water and photovoltaic power
    • Wind and small hydro turbines on farms
  • Primarily vegetarian, local and organic diet
    • Increased local food production and home gardens
  • Durable products and packaging designed to minimize waste
    • Increased local manufacturing of building materials, clothing, furniture, etc.

Living locally within our means will be very important


what challenges do you face

What challenges do you face?

Small group discussion

Seventh Generation Learning Series Simple Living

how to calculate your ghg emissions
How To Calculate Your GHG Emissions
  • Cubic meters of natural gas times 1.9
  • Litres of heating oil times 2.8
  • kWh of electricity times 0.241 (Ontario)
    • Borrow a kill-a-watt meter from the library to measure electricity usage
    • MyHydroLink to see usage history:
  • Km driven times:
    • 0.1262 for a hybrid car
    • 0.1830 for a small car
    • 0.2162 for a mid-size car
    • 0.2964 for a minivan
    • 0.3103 for a truck or SUV
  • Km of flights <500 km times 0.150
  • Km of flights >500 km times 0.297
  • Kg of garbage times 0.7
    • Do an audit of all the garbage you throw out for a week to identify savings


Online calculator:

Carbon calculator and offsets:


you have the power to make a difference
You Have the Power to Make a Difference!

There is a sufficiency in the world for man's need but not for man's greed. - Mohandas K. Gandhi


  • Don’t buy it
  • Buy the smallest, most energy efficient option


  • Buy it used
  • Give it away when you are done
  • Repair it when it breaks


  • When it can’t be fixed

Make a 20 year plan to reduce your energy usage by 80%

Small group discussion


peaksaver program
Peaksaver Program

How peaksaver PLUS™ works:

A few times a summer, during times of peak electricity demand, your thermostat may be signaled to cycle your central air conditioner in 15 minute intervals.Your furnace fan will continue to run so you likely won't notice a difference in temperature. Activations only occur on weekdays and not on weekends or holidays, plus you can opt out of an activation in advance.


greening with gratitude
Greening with Gratitude
  • Developed in Ottawa in 2011 by Adam Frey
  • An idea for sharing energy savings

7th Generation Learning Series

adam s savings
Adam’s Savings

Ways Adam saved on energy costs:

    • Moved closer to work to save on fuel
    • Car sharing
    • Hang drying clothes
    • Electricity use
  • Saved $8668over a period of 17 months

7th Generation Learning Series

investing savings
Investing Savings
  • Invested 80% of his savings personally:
    • CFL and LED light bulbs
    • Low-flow showerhead
    • Geothermal and Solar PV tuition
    • Bullfrog Power
  • Invested 20% of his savings for others:
    • Donation to Ottawa Sustainability Fund
    • Hot water heater and pipe insulation
    • 4.8L toilet with installation

7th Generation Learning Series

paying it forward
Paying it Forward
  • As a renter, Adam could only do so much
    • Hopes to coordinate with others to make a pay-it-forward collective
    • Would like to provide geothermal heating to a low income family

7th Generation Learning Series

energy savings calculator
Energy Savings Calculator
  • Vehicle
  • Electricity
  • Heating
  • Water
  • Other

Online activity

7th Generation Learning Series

what will you do differently

What will you do differently?

… this week ... this month … this year?

Write yourself a letter.

Put it in the envelope provided.

Address it to yourself.

Give it to a friend to mail it to you a year from now.

Note to self