top of page


Energy & Housing is on average the second contributor to a family’s carbon footprint. Although a lot of carbon reductions can be done through behavioral changes, reducing the carbon footprint of your house will often mean sizable investments. However, those investments will often provide you with better thermic and phonic comfort, on top of a reduced utilities bills. 



Here is an average breakdown of an household electricity consumption.

  1. Cooling/air conditioning—15.4%

  2. Water heating (for those using electric water heater)—9.5%

  3. Lighting—9.4%

  4. Refrigeration—7.2%

  5. Space heating—6.2%

  6. Televisions and related electronic equipment—5.9%

  7. Clothes dryers—4.1%

  8. Cooking—2.3%

  9. Heating equipment fans and pumps—2.2%

  10. Computers and related equipment—2.2%

  11. Dishwashers—2.0%

  12. Freezers—1.6%

  13. Clothes washers (excludes water heating)—0.5%

  14. Other miscellaneous uses—31.3%

Actions to lower down electricity emissions be divided into 4 categories:

  • behavioral changes : this is all the actions that can be implemented without any investment such as taking shorter showers, air-drying your clothes, unplugging appliances at night, cold-washing your clothes, …

  • appliances efficiency: upgrading to appliances with a higher level of energy efficiency requires a low (switching to LED bulbs), to medium investment (replacing your old fridge by a more efficient fridge).

  • electric appliances: switching to electric appliances instead of appliances running on gas such a cooking stove or clothes dryers.

  • sources of electricity: Knowing how your electricity comes from is key to lower one's emissions. Depending on where you live, your electricity mix can be very different. You can lower your carbon footprint either 1) directly by installing solar panels on your rooftop, or 2) indirectly by subscribing to community solar or wind programs or 3) by switching to a utility committed to transition to a 100% clean mix .


House Heating: Natural gas, electricity, fuel oil and propane/LPG are the main energy sources used to power your furnace/heater.

Turning the thermostat down is the first easy-to-implement action. However, to significantly decrease emissions from heating, there are 2 types of actions to be considered: ​

  1. Insulation: this range from low and medium investments (insulating your ducts and pipes) to heavier investments for "home"insulation : walls and ceiling insulation, double-glazed windows. 

  2. Switching to a "clean" powered furnace/heater by installing:

    • an electric furnace

    • a heat pump (for mild winter climate)​

    • geothermal heating if this is an option in your area.

TIP: Changing a furnace/heater does not happen every year. However, when it's time to change one's furnace, all the more when it happens in the middle of winter, it's often easier to replace it with a newer model running on natural gas or oil. A good strategy to make sure an old furnace get replaced with a climate-friendly one, is to plan ahead: look beforehand at the kind of electric furnaces or heat-pumps which could fit the need of your house.


As for house heating, there is an array of actions to reduce your emissions from water heating. 

  • behavioral changes: setting your water heater thermostat to 120°F/50°C reducing your hot water consumption by cold washing your clothes, shortening your showers…

  • insulation: insulating your water heater tank and pipes

  • switching to a "clean" powered water heater :

    • switching to electric water heating powered from 100% clean electricity through your utility.

    • installing a water heater which can be powered by solar rooftop PV (50% more efficient than electric water heaters but you need a storage water heater as a back-up system for cloudy days)

© 2023 Helene Costa de Beauregard and Anita Bagdi 

bottom of page