Understanding of Ontario's Cap and Trade Program
October 10, 2017
Ontario’s Cap and Trade Program is a government initiated, market-based effort to control pollution. In essence, the government is providing economic incentives to reduce emissions that contribute to pollution. Ontario has already set “caps” on total emissions for years going forward. The “caps” decline every year in an effort to achieve a 2020 target for reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution. Under the Cap and Trade Program, emission allowances have been pre-defined.
The Cap and Trade Program has regulations that define GHG emission allowances, and therefore allow businesses to release specific amounts of carbon dioxide and other pollutants. The “trade” part of the program allows businesses with higher carbon emissions to purchase allowances to offset those higher emissions. When businesses purchase their allowances, substantial amounts of money is then invested into projects and programs that will reduce greenhouse gas pollution.
The Cap and Trade Program for individuals and families
Most of the media coverage for the Cap and Trade Program has been focused on infrastructure projects, often overlooking the contribution of individuals, families, and smaller organizations. But through the Green Ontario Fund, Ontarians can explore a wide range of incentives designed to promote a cleaner energy economy. These incentives include upgrading a furnace, buying an electric vehicle, installing a smart thermostat, and even equipping a home with solar panels.
The objective of cap and trade, whether for the home or business, is to reduce carbon emissions. And based on the positive response from business, confidence is quite high in Ontario’s Cap and Trade Program. In fact, California and Quebec are also making great gains as they set the stage for the future. Better still, large corporations like Microsoft and General Motors are participating in carbon caps as a way of reducing their greenhouse gas emissions in a more meaningful way.
Building code changes designed to reduce emissions
Not surprisingly, buildings produce almost one quarter of the total greenhouse gas pollution in Ontario. And when it comes to urban centres like Toronto, Mississauga, and Hamilton, the total amount of energy used for heating, cooling, and lighting can reach up to 50% of emissions.
In order to reduce these huge emissions, big things need to happen, and changes to the building code will be instrumental. Indeed, as 2019 approaches, changes to the building code will have a special focus on improving energy efficiency for newly constructed buildings (as well as existing).
In future, building codes will strive for ZERO or NEAR-ZERO greenhouse gas emissions. These measures will reduce energy needs, energy consumption, and energy costs very significantly. Residential or commercial, building codes will focus on a number of construction priorities:
- high performance insulation
- energy efficient building envelopes
- better green roof infrastructure
- optimized solar-ready roofing
- grey-water systems/conservation
To learn more about “green” energy options, contact the energy professionals at Great Northern Insulation. Call 1-800-265-1914 or visit the company website at www.gni.ca. GNI can arrange for a thorough property assessment, with viable recommendations for various energy retrofits.