Scientists around the world have concluded that the rapid increase in the production of greenhouse gases (GHGs) is causing an increase in the average temperature on the earth's surface. GHGs are produced when fossil fuels like gasoline, coal and natural gas are burned or when methane is released from landfills.
What does climate change mean for West Vancouver?
Research shows that about 95 % of West Vancouver’s GHGs are generated by the community, and 54 % of those GHGs come from heating homes. The rest of the GHGs produced in the community come from on-road commuting (41 %) and solid waste (4 %). As GHG emissions continue to grow, increased average temperatures will cause drier summers, wetter winters and more frequent extreme weather events, such as heat waves and storm surges. Another product of climate change is sea-level rise. It is estimated that by 2100, the sea in English Bay could rise by as much as one metre and inundate significant portions of West Vancouver’s waterfront.
Tackling climate change will require a range of actions—to reduce GHG emissions and also to prepare for the impacts that it could bring to the District.
Around the House
The natural gas used for space heating, cooking, and the heating of water for showers, appliances, and pools makes housing the largest source of GHGs in West Vancouver. Electricity also uses a lot of energy in the home including lighting, heating, and appliances.
Most houses have a lot potential of to save energy and money through a range of technologies and behaviours. Utility companies and the provincial governments often offer discounts for more testing and buying more efficient products.
Some easy things include
- A programmable thermostat can keep your home comfortable when needed, but help saves energy overnight or when unoccupied.
- Run your dishwasher only when it’s full and put it on air dry
- Switch from washing laundry in hot water to washing laundry in warm or cold water washing. It works just as well.
- Sign up to track your natural gas and electricity use at BC Hydro & FortisBC websites (you can also get an electronic bill to save paper).
- Put LED bulbs in lights that you use a lot.
- Change the air filter in your furnace/air conditioning system at least twice a year
- Seal leaky doors and windows with weather stripping and caulking.
- Install a low-flow showerhead to cut hot water use by a third.
Go to the next step
- Get a cover for your outdoor pool and look at installing solar thermal technology to heat the water
- If your furnace is more than 15 years old, you could save significant energy by upgrading your natural gas furnace. Have a qualified contractor advise you.
- Check your energy performance with an official home energy audit
- Make sure all of your electronics and appliances are ENERGY STAR rated where possible
Invest in a Heat Pump for Your Home
The District of West Vancouver is working with the other North Shore municipalities and the province’s CleanBC program to help homeowners make the switch to energy-efficient, low-carbon heat pumps for home heating and cooling.
If you’re interested in a heat pump, you can sign up for a free virtual home energy check-up for a free one-on-one conversation with an Energy Expert to assess what home energy upgrades best suit your goals and priorities.
Heat Pump Rebates
Additionally, residents can access rebates through the Canada Greener Homes Program. This program offers grants of up to $5,000 to help homeowners make energy efficiency retrofits to their homes, including switching to a heat pump. This federal rebate program requires a separate application.
One of the indicators of climate change is extreme weather. Extreme precipitation in winter months provides an abundance of water while putting a strain on our stormwater system.
Everything changes in the summer months when periods of drought put pressure on our limited supply of treated drinking water. and conservation becomes that much more important.
Solar Hot Water
The BC Building code requires that all new single-family homes must provide space to accommodate future solar collectors and piping from the roof to the home's primary heater
You don’t have to install solar heating, but you must make accommodations for a future installation. Details must be shown on drawings submitted for your building permit.
We are committed to reducing our community’s carbon footprint to limit climate change.