eMERGE Guelph

News & Stories

Posted June 9, 2017

With temperatures rising to over 30 degrees, this weekend is looking hot! We’ve curated a few of our favourite tips to help get you through the first heatwave of summer 2017!

Keep Your Cool in a Heatwave (1)

Keep Your Windows And Curtains Shut!

Only open windows when the temperature or humidity outside has dropped below that of your home. Keep your home cool and shaded by installing sturdy and light coloured curtains on windows facing the sun. This will reflect and block out intense heat and sunlight.


Install Awnings 

Install awnings over windows and doors, not those vinyl ones you see at your local pizza shop,

something more along the lines of this:

    awning 2

Wooden awnings block out sunlight in the summer months while the sun is high, but still allow sunlight to heat the home in the wintertime when the sun is lower in the sky.


Get Fans Up And Running 

Use stand fans and ceiling fans to cool yourself down, while keeping your AC off or on low. Remember; fans cool people down, not rooms, so turn them off when you leave the room.


Rethink That Turkey Dinner

Refrain from using large appliances that create excessive heat, like ovens, dishwashers, and dryers. Instead, use your BBQ to cook meals, and hang clothes to dry outside.


If You Have An Air Conditioner

follow these steps before you fire it up!

  • Make sure your AC filter is clean. The filter makes sure that the air circulating in your home is clean. Debris builds up on this filter, and can easily restrict airflow. Check out this link on how to replace your AC filter!
  • Make sure there is nothing in the way of the return air and supply vents on the floors and walls. There should be a two inch clearance around all vents in your home for optimum air flow.
  • Head outside and check your AC unit. Remove any plants, leaves or debris that could be obstructing the airflow of the unit.


Bonus tip!

Don’t be fooled, keeping your AC on while you’re away does not save energy! There’s a myth out there stating that it takes more energy to bring your home back down to a cool temperature, than it does to leave it running all day, and this is NOT true!


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Posted June 5, 2017

Happy World Environment Day! To celebrate, we’ve come up with a list of quick and easy things you can do today to save energy, keep money in your pocket, and reduce your footprint.

save energy

Unplug Appliances When Not In Use

Many appliances, including phone chargers and kitchen appliances, continue to use energy even when they aren’t in use! Save energy by unplugging all of your appliances after using them, or by purchasing an advanced power bar with a timer and auto-shutoff. (find coupons here)


Install A Programmable Thermostat

Save money and energy by installing a programmable thermostat to control heating and air conditioning. When combined with a good power plan, programmable thermostats can save between 10-30% of your energy bill by turning on only during off-peak times, and automatically shutting off when the desired temperature has been reached. (find coupons here


Replace All Bulbs With LEDs

Lighting in homes uses a substantial amount of energy, and inefficiently at that! A high percentage of electricity is wasted as heat and that can take money out of your pocket. Simply switching old and inefficient bulbs, for high efficiency, long lasting LED bulbs will save you energy and money! (find coupons here


Buy Local Food

Buying food grown and produced in Ontario saves a great deal of energy by reducing the distance it has to travel to get to your table. Purchasing local food also supplements Ontario’s economy by creating jobs and opportunities for local farmers and businesses – and it tastes great!


Book An eMERGE Home Tune-up!

Booking a Home Tune-up with eMERGE is the easiest and cheapest thing you can do to save money and energy in your home today! Simply sign up here for your free, one hour consultation. We provide on-the-spot retrofits, explain and compare gas and hydro bills and provide connections to money-saving incentives and rebates. We follow up by sending a customized Action Plan for increasing the efficiency of your home. It is a great way for you to save money and give back to your community through easy conservation!


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Posted June 1, 2017

Last Monday night, the second instalment of Guelph: 100% Renewable Energy landed at the Guelph Youth Music Centre.



Esteemed guest speaker and Renewable Energy Leader from Oxford County, Jay Heaman, took the stage to discuss his community’s commitment to 100% renewable energy by 2050. He began by introducing Oxford’s Community Sustainability Plan, a motion that was unanimously voted into effect by the county’s municipality. The plan outlines a merging of Economic, Community and Environmental action teams that work in unison to improve the sustainability of future Oxford. Big plans for social housing projects, and net zero homes have come out of the passing of this motion, Heaman explained.

Jay ended his talk by highlighting Rhein-Hunsruck, a district in Germany, as an inspiration for 100% Renewable Cities. The district has predicted that by the end of 2017, their share of renewable electricity produced will be 298% of their total power consumption!

eMERGE executive director, Evan Ferrari, came with an encouraging message, confronting the monumental change that is transitioning to 100% renewable energy. “Guelph has done this before” Evan stated, regarding the city’s success in waste management and water conservation.

Not only has Guelph made monumental changes, so has Ontario as a whole; recall Ontario’s coal phaseout in 2014. Evan explained; the success of these changes, that were once regarded as “monumental” show the very real potential of Guelph achieving 100% renewable energy. The importance of building solar infrastructure as well as conserving and improving the efficiency of energy use in Guelph was also discussed as critical to reaching 2050 targets.

What can we learn from Oxford County? Quite a lot it seems.

From the facilitated breakout sessions, came great insight as to what Guelph’s next steps are. The first crucial steps identified; building greater community knowledge and participation in renewable energy initiative. Economic growth and understanding the financial benefit of renewables was next on the agenda. Addressing the conflicts and differing views on transitioning to renewables was another step established, where urging municipal government to take action was strongly recommended by all in attendance.

“We don’t have to reinvent the wheel”  Ferrari concluded.  “Communities like Oxford help make our job easier – now it’s time to get on with it.”

The Community Engaged Scholarship Institute of the University of Guelph and eMERGE hosted the event with the assistance of the Guelph Youth Music Centre.


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Posted May 9, 2017

Guelph 100 percent

As Guelph considers becoming a 100% Renewable Energy City, what can we learn from other communities that are already on their way?  Join us for an evening featuring a renewable energy leader from Oxford County followed by a facilitated community discussion.

Guelph: 100% Renewable Energy

What can we learn from Oxford County?

7:00 pm Monday May 29, 2017
Guelph Youth Music Centre
75 Cardigan St, Guelph,

ON N1H 3Z7

Register HERE

In 2015, Oxford County (including  five rural municipalities and the three urban centers of Woodstock, Ingersoll and Tillsonburg), passed a motion to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2050. There are only two other municipalities in Canada and 1,000 around the world that have taken this bold step.  But how daunting is it and how is Oxford progressing down the path to 100%?

Jay Heaman, Manager, Strategic Initiatives for Oxford County will share his experience on how his community is putting the pieces in place to get to 100%.

Share your thoughts with Jay and others in the community over the course of a facilitated community discussion led by eMERGE Guelph Sustainability and CESI (Community Engaged Scholarship Institute) of the University of Guelph.

Seating is limited, please register early.
Register HERE


Communities around the world and across Canada have declared their intent to be 100 per cent renewable on or before mid-century.  What about Guelph?  An evolving energy policy landscape and faster-than-anticipated technological advancement, combined with growing concerns around climate change and consumer empowerment, has opened up new opportunities for structural change in local energy systems toward local, renewable generation.

Oxford County and Sustainable Development

Oxford County and Sustainable Development:

Oxford County is emerging as a leader in sustainable growth through the Future Oxford Community Sustainability Plan. The County was the first municipality in Ontario to commit to achieving 100% renewable energy and, having already achieved one of the highest residential waste diversion rates in its class and having extended its municipal landfill life expectancy to 2063, the County is now working aggressively to achieve its zero waste commitments. The County is also transitioning to a green fleet; incorporating net zero standards into new builds for municipal housing and facilities; investing in a strategy to advocate for stronger transportation links in southwestern Ontario; and serving as an active member of CUTRIC, a national research and innovation consortium working to transform the Canadian transportation sector towards alternate fuel sources. Oxford County is currently working to establish a sustainability cluster in its historic Courthouse Square to serve as a “living lab” for sustainability initiatives and social innovation.

Jay Heaman, Manager, Strategic Initiatives for Oxford County:

Oxford County is Ontario’s first municipality to make a commitment to 100% renewable energy and Zero Waste. Jay has a demonstrated passion for sustainable energy and intelligent electrical system design and is now applying his experience and leadership skills with the County of Oxford as Manager of Strategic Initiatives.

Other LinksDebating the pros and cons of Guelph being a 100% Renewable Energy city

Lots of interest in Renewable city concept

Could Guelph run on 100% Renewable Energy?

May 8, 2017 – Launch of Global 100% Renewable Energy Platform

Seating is limited, please register early.

As a not-for-profit we have provided a quantity of Free tickets for unwaged community members.  In order to make this possible we appreciate the support made by all others purchasing tickets.

Order your ticket HERE

Jointly presented by:
Community Engaged Scholarship Institute (CESI)

eMERGE Guelph Sustainability

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Posted April 28, 2017

eMERGE Guelph is looking to hire a Sales and Marketing Specialist for the summer.

If you think you’d be a good fit for the position or know someone would would be a perfect match, be sure to take a look at the position!

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Posted March 23, 2017

EcoMarket logo

The Guelph unveiling of the North American Green Car of the year, Chevrolet Bolt, will occur at the eMERGE EcoMarket in Old Quebec Street Mall on Saturday March 25, 10:00 am to 3:00pm.

“We’re on the threshold of an energy transition in Guelph that is being fueled by battery powered electric vehicles, renewable energy and the internet of things.” said Steve Yessie, eMERGE’s EcoMarket Coordinator. These technologies are coming together at the EcoMarket along with other sustainable living exhibitors and local not-for profits.

Joining Barry Cullen Chevrolet’s Volt and Bolt, Guelph Toyota will have a hybrid Prius on hand. Electric bikes will round off transportation alternatives and will be joined by solar energy and internet enabled systems that help you save money while reducing your energy and water use.

“This 10th anniversary of the EcoMarket is more diverse than ever with everything from low flush toilets to electric cars” said Yessie.

As part of the annual Resilience Festival the eMERGE EcoMarket is one of several exciting events taking place in downtown Guelph on March 25th. In 2016, over 1,700 people joined the EcoMarket on a cold and rainy day.

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Posted March 2, 2017

100% Poster 7

Communities around the world and across Canada have declared their intent to be 100 percent renewable before mid-century.  This is an ambitious target to say the least.  Some would say unrealistic.  In any case, the questions above are worth asking.  An evolving energy policy landscape and faster-than-anticipated technological advancement, combined with growing concerns around climate change and consumer empowerment, has opened up new opportunities for structural change in local energy systems toward local, renewable generation.

Local not-for-profit eMERGE Guelph will be hosting a friendly, balanced conversation that will center on these and other questions. The entire community is welcome to share thoughts over the course of a facilitated community discussion following a brief presentation from Dr. Kirby Calvert, Assistant Professor of Geography at the University of Guelph and co-Director of the Community Energy Knowledge-Action Partnership (www.cekap.ca).

Anyone interested in joining the conversation can register on Eventbrite. The event is taking place Friday, March 24, at eMERGE Guelph in the Old Quebec St. Mall.

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Posted September 1, 2016

eMERGE Guelph has found some of the most energy efficient homes in Guelph and wants you to see them on September 10 from 11:00 am to 4:00pm. The event will highlight homes built from 1869 to 2015 that showcase alternative energy systems, low water use and efficient building envelopes.

“The most surprising thing that people will find is that an energy efficient home doesn’t look any different from other homes on the street” said Steve Yessie, eMERGE Home Tune-Up Advisor.  “And the age of the home doesn’t need to be a barrier to saving money by reducing energy and water use” he continued.

“We want to show people that homes, old and new, can be efficient. Investing in efficiency retrofits is a smart choice in any home, making it more comfortable through the hot and cold months and saving a lot of money too”

eMERGE received a lot of interest in the event from within and outside the Guelph community, an indication that there are many homeowners following similar paths toward home efficiency and reduced energy costs. “These are people who are proud of the work they have accomplished and who are keen to show others that whether newly built or a century old, efficiency retrofits make sense” added Yessie.

This is the first year eMERGE has hosted this event and based on early interest hope to make a yearly tradition. eMERGE has chosen 3 homes to showcase on Saturday, September 10th – the Findlay/Pocock house (40 Spring St.), the Colvin house (49 Caledonia St.), and Reid’s Net-Zero Home (197 Goodwin Dr.). Staff will be on hand at each to help answer any questions visitors have.

Part of the province-wide Green Energy Doors Open event, the eMERGE Efficient Homes will be open to the public 11:00 am to 4:00pm Saturday, September 10th.

Contact: Steve Yessie

Office – 519-763-2652

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Posted July 25, 2016

Do you have the most energy efficient home in the city? eMERGE Guelph wants to hear from you.

The local sustainability organization wants to showcase the most efficient homes in the city as part of Green Energy Doors Open Guelph. “Energy efficiency and conservation are key factors to reducing the pollution that causes climate change” said Steve Yessie, eMERGE Home Tune-Up advisor. “We know that there are leaders in conservation out there and we want to showcase that it can be done – now”.

eMERGE is looking for homeowners who have completed significant energy retrofits and are interested in sharing their stories with the community by opening their homes.

“It’s an opportunity for residents to share their energy achievements and passion for environmental sustainability with the city” added Yessie. Homeowners are adding insulation, installing higher efficiency heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, reducing drafts and other innovative energy retrofits – and have seen remarkable results.

eMERGE has two examples of homes already lined up – one built in the 1860s and a brand new Net Zero home built by Reid’s Heritage Homes. Both have reduced heating costs by up to 60%. The 19th century home is saving over $2,000 a year. “We know there are great homes built and renovated over the last 189 years in Guelph that can be examples of sustainability for all of us to learn from” continued Yessie.

eMERGE will use utility bills and other information to evaluate the homes for their impacts on saving money – and of course – helping the environment.

If you think your home could be one of the most energy efficient in Guelph – contact eMERGE Guelph at 519-763-2652 or email steve@emergeguelph.ca.

Contact: Steve Yessie

Office – 519-763-2652
Mobile – 1-226.339.0300


eMERGE Guelph Sustainability helps people save money by reducing their impact on the environment. The eMERGE Home Tune-UP, free to Guelph residents, is a one hour in home consultation that will help people save money and reduce the pollution that causes climate change.


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Posted March 8, 2016

EcoMarket Logo w date


The EcoMarket is back and better than ever. The event takes place alongside the H2O Go Festival and in partnership with Transition Guelph’s Resilience Festival – and we’ve rounded up the top 4 reasons you cannot miss it!

eMERGE will host the EcoMarket at the Old Quebec Street Mall Saturday, March 19th 10- 3 for a day of fun and activities for the whole family – everything from electric cars to low-flow toilets.

Jam packed with real advice, real inspiration and real products for your home, garden and daily living to help you live lighter and live richer. So here it is, the top three must-see’s at the eMERGE Ecomarket.

  1. Guelph’s finest green businesses

Ever wonder how far an electric car can go on one charge? How much LED lights could decrease your energy bills? If your home could be a candidate for solar panels? What your next DIY project should be?

Discover the answer to these and more by visiting our vendors and workshop hosts.  You can expect to see Barry Cullen’s Chev Volt, Nissan’s Leaf EV, Guelph Hydro, Green Tec, Threshold Apothecary, Bullfrog Power, RainWorx, and many more!

  1. Fantastic Door Prizes!

The EcoMarket, H2O Go Festival and the Resilience Festival’s Seedy Saturday are all happening within one block. Get your event passport stamped at each even for a chance to win a Rain Barrel to keep your gardens watered this summer. Pick up your passport when you arrive at any of these events!

  • H2O Go! Festival hosted by the City of Guelph will take place at the Old Quebec Street Shoppes with the eMERGE EcoMarket.
  • The Resilience Festival hosted by Transition Guelph will take place in Palmer Hall at St. George’s Church.

If local eats are more your style you can fill out a short survey at the EcoMarket for a chance to win a gift certificate to some of Guelph’s favorite downtown eateries.

  1. Free Workshops!

A staple feature of the EcoMarket and H2O Go Festival are its free workshops. Fun for the whole family. Stop by and get your hands dirty learning about vermiculture (composting with worms) or plan your native garden for the spring! The EcoMarket and H2O Go Festival will host 5 workshops through the day and everyone is invited to join in!

  1. Emerging Nature Gallery

This spectacular photo exhibit features 60 photographs taken by local elementary and high school students.  These 60 students and many more had the opportunity to explore and appreciate the nature surrounding their daily lives using cameras during a nature photography class run by Focus on Nature, a local non-profit.

Mark your calendars Guelph! Drop in, say hello, and join the fun. We’ll see you there.

When: Saturday, March 19th, 10 am – 3 pm
Where: Old Quebec Street Shoppes, Downtown Guelph


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