Toronto energy plan promises paybacks

Evelyn Ragolia had been concerned about energy conservation for years ‑ so much so that she recently installed a sky light in her home to take advantage of sun-filled mornings and evenings.

Last week mayor David Miller announced that the city of Toronto may be aiding homeowners with energy conservation repairs. This new $36-million incentive is intended to help not only residential but commercial, industrial and institutional buildings owners as well.

A recent city report shows this as one of many strategies the city is hoping to implement within the Toronto Energy Plan. Through the plan Toronto hopes to achieve 90 megawatts of electricity saving across the city by 2010 and reduce energy consumption by 15 per cent not only in Toronto but the wider community as well.

“I think it’s great that they’re doing this,” Ragolia said, “but much more needs to be done.”

Fraser Stewart is the executive director for the environmental agency, Eneract. Its focus is on promoting implementation of energy efficiency and renewable energy in response to climate change and global warming.

“This can make a big difference,” he said. “When we improve our environment; we improve our economy.”

The plan is expected to pan out over four years and the city of Toronto is hoping that this investment will help homeowners with the initial up front fees of energy saving renovations. The nuts and bolts of the plan have not yet been discussed but it is expected to be ready in within the next few months.

Stewart warns that the initial cost for homeowners may be steep. In the long run, however, people should see a return on their money.

“You’re looking at five to 10 years in terms of payback,” he said. “So if you’re planning to move in the next six months, maybe you should reconsider.”

According to a 2004 study done by the Office of Energy Efficiency, Natural Resources Canada and Statistics Canada for an average annual energy bill of $2000, up to 62 per cent is spent on space heating alone.

“We’re reaching a point where saving energy is crucial,” Ragolia said.

Stewart recommends that homeowners get themselves informed about what’s available in terms of energy saving for the home. Some projects are simple and some are more complex

“Homeowners can start with baby steps,” he said. “Like changing the type of light bulbs they’re using.”

Through the Toronto Energy Plan, the city aims to move Toronto from its current unsustainable state to a state of energy sustainability through energy conservation and the generation of clean and renewable energy.

For more information on energy saving and the Toronto Energy Plan go to