You got questions, we got answers. Talking about saving energy can be a frustrating and confusing topic, and we’re here to help clear the air so you can save money, save energy, and save the environement

What’s energy efficiency?

Energy efficiency means that we are lowering the amount of electricity, or natural gas (or whatever source is providing energy) needed to complete a task.

As an example, when we turn on a light it used to take more electricity to power a standard bulb. Because most bulbs are now energy efficient, it takes less electricity to light up a room. And that means there is more electricity available for other things like powering your stove or charging your electric vehicle.

But energy efficiency doesn’t just apply to lightbulbs. Almost everything we do takes energy of some kind and offers another place where we can lower the amount of energy we use.

What kind of changes make a home more energy efficient?

In your home, you can lower the amount of electricity and natural gas you use by doing a great number of things, depending on how your home is built and how old it is.

This can include upgrades to insulation in different parts of your home, changing out windows and doors, buying efficient appliances like washers and dryers, switching to a high-efficiency (or a renewable) source of heating and cooling, as well as installation of smart thermostats.

These changes do not only apply to stand-alone houses, but also apartment buildings and condos. There are so many ways to improve the energy efficiency of the places you live. What changes are right for your home will depend on the building, but we’re here to help!

Email the City of Selkirk’s energy efficiency guru, Sarah Lawrynuik, to get more information: [email protected]

What kind of changes can a business make to become more energy efficient?

At your business, you can lower the amount of electricity and natural gas you use by doing a great number of things, depending largely on your building’s characteristics and the kind of work done there.

Changes can include upgrades to insulation, changing out windows and doors, buying efficient refrigeration units, switching to a high-efficiency (or a renewable) source of heating and cooling, as well as installation of newer technologies that help to lower the amount of energy needed to meet demands (i.e. smart thermostats and motion censors for lights).

These changes can be made at different scales depending on the size of your business, and for industrial sites too. For help sorting through all the information and for more details on what grants might be available to you, email the City of Selkirk’s energy efficiency guru Sarah Lawrynuik: [email protected]

How does energy efficiency help save the environment?

There are a number of ways that making where we live and work more energy efficient helps to save the environment.

Let’s start with electricity. In Manitoba, we rely on hydroelectric dams to generate power. These dams are mostly situated in the northern reaches of Manitoba, and while they have provided renewable power to Manitobans for decades, the construction of the dams and the manipulation of waterways has devastated large swaths of the environment in the province. It has also devastated many Indigenous communities that relied on the land for their health, safety and livelihoods.

So, the more we can lower our demand for electricity as consumers, the longer we can go before Manitoba Hydro needs to build more dams. This is one way that energy efficiency helps save the environment.

On the other side of the coin, we live in a world that is getting warmer because humans have burned fossil fuels to create power since the Industrial Revolution. Climate change has devastating impacts on environments all over the world.

In Manitoba, we primarily rely on burning natural gas to heat and cool our homes and businesses. This accounts for approximately 18% of the province’s greenhouse gas emissions. In order to slow climate change down, and eventually stop it, humans need to stop burning fossil fuels like gasoline and natural gas. This means we have to lower – and eventually stop – using these products to heat and cool our homes and switch to renewable sources of energy.

Sometimes, switching away from fossil fuels will mean we switch to new sources of power, like Manitoba’s renewable hydroelectricity. These switches are likely to increase our demand for electricity, which will impact our environment in Manitoba if we need to build new dams, so things are complicated. But if we lower the amount of energy we need in our lives, it benefits all aspects of the puzzle.

If you have more questions about this, feel free to email the City of Selkirk’s energy efficiency program administrator Sarah Lawrynuik: [email protected]

How does driving an electric car help save the environment?

We live in a world that is getting warmer because humans have burned fossil fuels to create power since the Industrial Revolution. Climate change has devastating impacts on environments all over the world.

In order to slow climate change down, and eventually stop it, humans need to stop burning fossil fuels like gasoline and natural gas.

In Manitoba, 40% of greenhouse gas emissions come from the transportation sector. Of that 40%, about 65% of transportation emissions come from our personal vehicles.

If Manitobans want to take action to help slow climate change down, they need to find new ways of getting around whether its by bicycle, or walking, or by electric vehicle.

There is a great deal of misinformation out there about electric vehicles, if you need help finding answers you’re looking for, get in contact with Sarah Lawrynuik at the City of Selkirk: [email protected]

What if I can’t afford to make the retrofits to my home?

There are federal and provincial programs that help to fund energy efficiency upgrades to homes. We can help you navigate which programs are best suited to your needs. There are also specific programs that provide increased funding for low-income individuals/families and for Indigenous individuals/families through Efficiency Manitoba.

Please get in touch for more information. Ask Sarah at [email protected].

What if I live in an apartment building?

Efficiency Manitoba offers a number of programs that are aimed at making apartments more energy efficient. Please get in touch and we can connect you with the right resources. Email Sarah at [email protected] for more information.