Two Econoler executives very recently published a book entitled Canadian Energy Efficiency Outlook: A National Effort for Tackling Climate Change, which is the very first comprehensive overview of Canada’s energy efficiency sector. By profiling the diverse environments that are favourable for improving energy efficiency across the Canadian provinces and territories, it is shown that in Quebec, as well as elsewhere in Canada, there is still huge unrealized potential for pursuing energy efficiency. The province of Quebec and the rest of Canada are among the most energy-intensive societies in the world. Although quite a number of interesting programs and initiatives have been implemented across the country by governmental bodies, many financially rewarding actions across the economic sectors can help reduce energy consumption, save a total of billions of dollars each year, reduce our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, create jobs and improve our businesses’ profitability.
Pierre Langlois, Econoler president and co-author of this book, suggests: “The rapid development of more efficient and effective technologies, together with energy-efficiency measures with proven profitability, shows us signs of great potential to be tapped. Although governments across the country do propose interesting measures, we can still do more like California, Japan or Germany.”
Highly Diverse Environments
Because most institutional responsibilities related to energy efficiency fall into provincial or territorial jurisdiction, each provincial or territorial government regulates this sector through laws, regulations and incentives. As Geneviève Gauthier, the other co-author of the book, explains, “Although the federal government can provide signals and lead by example, it is the provinces and territories that really play the leadership role in developing this sector.” Pierre Langlois adds, “We’re often surprised by this situation existing across the world when we try to better understand the realities in Canada’s energy efficiency sector. And it is the same situation for enterprises with nationwide presence, which intend to implement some overall energy-efficiency strategies across all their markets in Canada. We have tried to offer all Canadian market actors and all international experts who are interested an overview that provides both a big picture and an in-depth look at energy efficiency and the best practices observed across the country.”
The Factors that Drive Energy Efficiency
All across Canada, the desire to create jobs, reduce energy costs and GHG emissions and reduce the need for new energy-production infrastructure is the factor having a major influence on the development of energy efficiency.
“Today, we do see that energy-efficiency measures are financially rewarding, with a return on investment often higher than 10%, and sometimes even at 20 to 30% or more. Additionally, the political will and climate change are other factors with an influence on the development of the energy efficiency sector. Probably because of all these factors we are observing here and elsewhere, there is a strong tendency to consider energy efficiency as one of the first resources for finding energy supply. But we’re still far from considering it as the Number 1 sector to be developed to support economic growth across Canada,” explains Geneviève Gauthier, national director for consulting services at Econoler.
Good Practices Worth Knowing About
In this overview, the authors have identified quite a number of good practices which truly enable driving energy efficiency. For example, in Quebec, the recently launched Quebec energy transition effort is leading to better coordination of the sector and is helping better inform businesses, organizations, municipalities and citizens about various measures offering a good return on investment. In Nova Scotia, Efficiency One, a province-owned company entirely dedicated to promoting energy efficiency shows the importance that this province has attached to this sector in meeting its energy needs.
Among the missed opportunities across Canada, we can take the transportation sector, a highly overlooked sector, as an example. “Everywhere across our country, not many measures are being applied to the transportation sector, whether for people or for cargo. However, this is a sector that consumes an enormous amount of energy,” emphasizes Geneviève Gauthier, who, however, does admit that this sector is complex and is still poorly understood.
In general, it is especially a lack of information and knowledge that is hindering the development of energy efficiency. “Every day, I run into businesses that wrongly believe that energy-efficiency projects are complicated to implement, need much investment and their impacts are hard to evaluate. Every day, we provide advice to stakeholders in the commercial, institutional and industrial sectors so that they can implement simple, effective and rewarding initiatives,” explains Geneviève Gauthier, who is scheduled to host a workshop and talk about this book at an energy-efficiency-themed event organized by Les Affaires on September 20-21, 2018.
The Very First Overview of Our Country’s Energy Efficiency Sector
Pierre Langlois, Econoler president, and Geneviève Gauthier, the company’s national director for consulting services, have co-authored the book, Canadian Energy Efficiency Outlook: A National Effort for Tackling Climate Change, in collaboration with some energy efficiency experts in all the provinces and territories of the country, in both the public and private sectors.
The Econoler book has been published by Fairmount Press and is already available online here