Themes:

Women Trail Blazers

March 8, 2022

Linda was a rare bird. Not only was she the only other female candidate at my first-all candidates meeting, but she was also the rarest of creatures, a female incumbent. In 164 years, only six women had ever served on city council in the community, and she was one of them. In 1917, social activist and suffragette Hannah “Annie” Gale...

Another Energy Conscious Community takes action

May 30, 2021

  Essex County approved their Regional Energy Plan on May 19, 2021. The region is a shining example of what happens when a community becomes “energy conscious”. They take action to reduce energy consumption, emissions, and costs. Essex County was highly motivated to embark on this journey. In 2019 and 2020, the region was under flood watches and warnings for...

Balancing climate action priorities

May 17, 2021

  Fossil fuel consumption accounts for approximately 70 to 75% of a community’s greenhouse gas emissions. So, if you want to make an impact on climate change, building a more efficient and clean energy system must by a priority. Energy related emissions arise from the heating and cooling of our homes and buildings, the powering of industries and the movement...

Thinking fast and slow on climate change

April 26, 2021

The central thesis in Daniel Kahneman’s best-selling book Thinking, Fast and Slow is that humans have two systems of thought. The first system is fast, instinctive, and emotional. The second system is slower, deliberate, and more logical. His book explores how we lean towards replacing difficult questions with ones that are easy to answer as well as the many ways...

Getting to implementation

March 10, 2021

  An effective community energy plan will have engaged a broad cross-section of the community in its development. The simple reason why is that successful implementation rests on the buy-in and contributions of the community - public sector, private sector, civil society and individuals.  Maintaining momentum after the initial planning process can be challenging. Communities quickly learn that they don’t...

Going against the tide

November 11, 2020

  Community energy planning allows a community to understand their local energy system so they can identify the best local opportunities to reduce energy consumption, emissions, and costs. This is what it means to be an energy conscious community. So, community energy planning is going with the tide when it comes to fighting climate change. Half of Canada’s greenhouse gas...

Energy Conscious Communities Defined

November 10, 2020

  What is an energy conscious community? There are lots of technical ways to describe it, but I believe it comes down to this. An energy conscious community understands its local energy system. When we relied on a pre-industrial energy system – when we burned wood for warmth and to cook our food, raised working animals to plow the land...

London Underground heat warms homes

September 17, 2020

  The Bunhill 2 Energy Centre Waste heat from the London Underground network is being captured in a new energy centre to heat 1350 homes, a school and two recreational centres. The Bunhill 2 Energy Centre is described as the first of its kind in the world and is the result of considerable public and private sector collaboration.  Heat is generated by...

Transforming urban energy systems post-COVID 19

April 29, 2020

  Many have noted the opportunity to link the COVID-19 economic recovery with robust climate action.  We have an unanticipated opportunity to accelerate the transition to low carbon urban energy infrastructure like district energy systems. Modern district energy systems supply hot and chilled water to buildings through underground pipes for space heating, domestic hot water, air conditioning and industrial process...

Oakville endorses Community Energy Strategy

February 26, 2020

Oakville’s Town Council endorsed a Community Energy Strategy last night. It was an important milestone in their community energy planning journey and their response to the climate emergency. The key building blocks of the strategy were as one might have expected. Objectives and targets for home and building, industrial and transportation efficiency as well as local energy generation and distribution...

The Energy Transition is 50 years-old

October 29, 2019

  Canadians are beginning to wake up to the energy transition that is underway in our country. An energy transition is a long-term structural change in an energy system. In the last two centuries, Canada has experienced two. Early European settlers relied on a pre-industrial energy system. They burned wood to stay warm, used work animals to lighten their load and...

The Energy Conscious Community - Calling All Planners

September 24, 2019

  International Energy Association research confirms that successful urban energy planning is only possible if energy is integrated in the entire urban planning process. But in many countries, including Canada, consideration of energy issues is missing in land use planning processes. The problem A natural connection should exist between urban development and energy development, but the legacy of siloed urban...

The Future of Mobility

August 12, 2019

  Financial institutions are beginning to take notice of the mobility revolution. Insurance companies are planning for decline in personal automobile insurance while some credit unions and banks brace for a decline in car loans. The future of mobility is being described as autonomous, connected, electric and shared. The convergence of electric vehicles (EVs), artificial intelligence and the cloud are...

Alignment to act

May 23, 2019

Communities and organizations don’t transform – their leaders do. If leaders mistake talking about an issue as action, the issue might be taken seriously but nothing will change. In Canada, we have been on a climate change merry-go-round for thirty years – talking about it and taking it seriously and failing to act. We have the data. We know how...

Of course, it's a climate emergency

April 30, 2019

  There is a campaign underway to have all Canadian municipal governments declare a climate emergency. Offering a critique of this campaign puts you at risk of being labelled a climate denier – which is part of the point of this post. So, let me begin by saying I agree climate change is an emergency.  However, the predictable backlash to...