eMERGE Guelph

News & Blog

Posted June 12, 2018

REGISTER HERE: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/100-renewable-guelph-party-tickets-46979126833

Achieving 100% Renewable Energy by 2050 certainly sounds like a tall task. And of course, we have a long way to go. But philosopher Lao Tzu nailed it when he said:

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” – Lao Tzu

We’ve made that first step with city council confirming their support for the goal, so…

Let’s Party like it’s 2050!
7:00pm – 8:30 Thursday June 21
Red Brick Cafe

We’ll be light on the speeches but have lots of time to celebrate a great first step!

And if that wasn’t enough – June 21 is the summer solstice. A day when solar panels across Guelph bathe in the sunlight for longer than any other day of the year.

Limited space – registration is necessary but free. Complementary light refreshments will be served.

To register for this free event please visit https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/100-renewable-guelph-party-tickets-46979126833.

You can read more on the city’s commitment to 100%RE on our last blog post, https://emergeguelph.ca/city-council-commits-to-100re/.

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Posted June 1, 2018

Exciting progression is taking place in Guelph! With all of your help from the citizens of Guelph along with eMERGE we were able to encourage Guelph to pass the vote on Renewable Energy by 2050 (corporate target)!! This past Monday, City Council approved the target to get Guelph City operations using 100% Renewable Energy by 2050. All city operations including water pumping, waste management, city vehicles and buildings, public transit and more will all transition to renewable energy. 

City Council unanimously accepted Our Energy Guelph’s recommendations for bettering energy consumption and use in Guelph. They also approved the City of Guelph’s associations with Our Energy Guelph as a primary stakeholder and partner. One of the most prominent recommendations for the community is a target to push Guelph to become a net zero carbon community by 2050. Along with that, the task force also recommended these other five actions to be put in place immediately:

  1. Develop energy efficiency retrofit programs for homes built before 1980
  2. Develop energy efficiency retrofit programs for industrial, commercial and institutional (ICI) buildings
  3. Develop more efficient building requirements for new homes in Guelph (do better than the Ontario Building Code)
  4. Encourage solar panel installations to help homeowners offset their own household electricity use.
  5. Convert Guelph Transit buses to an all-electric fleet

If you haven’t made the pledge yet, take the steps to commit to 100% RE on our website. This was only part of the good news as we continue to pursue Guelph to become a 100% Renewable Energy city.

Guelph is ready! To learn more about 100% RE visit https://emergeguelph.ca/our-programs/100reguelph/. Make the pledge by clicking the link “Make The 100% Renewable Commitment”.

For the full City of Guelph article, please visit https://guelph.ca/2018/05/council-unanimously-accepts-energy-guelphs-community-energy-recommendations/.

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Posted May 24, 2018

Did you know that this June is Bike Month? From May 28th – June 30th there will be many events across Ontario to celebrate biking.

To kick off this celebration of healthy and fun transportation, Monday May 28th is Bike to Work Day! People across the country will be collectively biking to work together to celebrate cycling.

Sign up for Bike to Work Day on May 28th and you could win a $500 voucher to MEC or VIA Rail! To register visit http://bikemonth.ca/biketoworkday. You can also gain another contest entry by referring a friend or coworker to sign up. Contestants must participate in a Bike to Work or Bike Month event and guess what, you’re in luck!

Guelph is having the Love Your Bike Festival again this year on Saturday June 23rd. It will be located at St Andrews Church, 161 Norfolk St, Guelph. You can learn more about this event at http://bikemonth.ca/events/1588?location=guelph.

We will be at the Love Your Bike Festival to chat about Renewable Energy in Guelph and our Home Tune Up program – but we’ll also compliment your bike skills!  Biking is prominently one of the healthiest modes of transportation for individuals, communities and the globe. To lower your fossil fuel usage, biking can be a big step to changing your emissions. By biking instead of driving you can save anywhere from $7,000 – $10,000 from not having to purchase as much gas. The most efficient way of transportation is using your own energy to transport yourself. It will help you save money and the environment while also getting a workout in at the same time. Come find our booth chat more about it! 

If you are interested in what other events are happening in Guelph for Bike Month you can view the list at http://bikemonth.ca/events?location=guelph.

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Posted May 22, 2018

Are you interested in where your water comes from? You can come for a free tour of the water facilities in Guelph!

The Water Services Open House in Guelph is this Saturday May 26th between 9am – 2pm. Come on your own, with your family, or with friends to check out this fun event. There will be tours, games and activities, popcorn and snacks, a plant sale, a rain barrel sale and more!

eMERGE will have a booth set up inside where we would love to speak with you about Guelph’s water conservation programs and rebates.

This event is age and family friendly and it will be held at the water facilities located at 29 Waterworks Place, Guelph, Ontario. Read more at https://guelph.ca/event/water-services-open-house/.

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Posted May 22, 2018

Come say hi to us at the Multicultural Festival this year! We’ll be talking about our free one-hour Home Tune Up program as well as 100% Renewable Energy in Guelph. We would love to see you there.

We will be at the eMERGE booth under the Network Tent at Riverside Park on Saturday June 9th and Sunday June 10th between 12pm and 5pm.

“The Guelph District Multicultural Festival is a free three-day event held at Riverside Park over a weekend in June. Sponsored by local businesses both large and small, the Festival allows community members to discover and share the tastes, sights, and sounds of the city’s diverse population. In 2017, we welcomed over 25,000 visitors.” – http://gdmf.ca/

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Posted May 18, 2018

Water efficiency equals money in your pocket!

Is your home water efficient? Do you know about the Blue Built Home program in Guelph? You could receive rebates of up to $2,460.

The Blue Built Home program is helping homeowners in Guelph save money while reducing their water consumption. To qualify, homeowners can install retrofitting devices such as Energy Star dishwashers and washing machines or WaterSense toilets or showerheads. Each device has a different rebate amount that can be collected by filling out the Blue Built Home Sign Up and Certification/Rebate forms. Grey water reuse systems and all season indoor-outdoor rainwater harvesting systems have the largest rebates.

Already have some of these systems? Amazing! You may qualify! Become a Blue Built Home today.

Don’t have any of these devices? This could be a chance for you to consider making your home more water efficient!

Visit http://guelph.ca/living/environment/water/water-conservation/blue-built-home/ to find more information and the forms to sign up and book a Home Tune Up visit so we can help you make sure you’re on the right path to becoming a Blue Built Home. Book your free one hour Home Tune Up by visiting www.emergeguelph.ca/our-programs/home.

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Posted September 15, 2017

Car Free Day is September 22, 2017!

At eMERGE, our mission is to transition Guelph to 100% Renewable Energy. Reducing Guelph’s dependance on fossil fuels is the first step in making this a possibility! We are celebrating Car Free Day this year, and making the pledge to leave the car in the garage all day. We hope that you will too!

In order to make this day a little easier, we interviewed two of our followers who live a car-free lifestyle everyday (even through the winter). These interviews will give you an inside look on how to go car-free, year round!


Introducing: Jordan

How long have you lived car free?

Two years.


What inspired you to ditch your car or remain car-free?

Car ownership is needlessly expensive and aggravating and riding a bike is FUN and EASY.


How do you get around? (around town and longer road trips) How do you do this in a Canadian winter?

In town you’ll find me on a bike for 99% of trips. Even in the winter. The cold is not an impediment to riding a bike for short distances, and I could count the number of winter days on one hand where the roads/trails are actually impassable on an appropriate bike. It helps that I live/shop/play all in the downtown area… but it was a conscious choice to “set up my life” that way.

For longer trips or when my own legs can’t get me where I need to go, I take advantage of car-sharing (shout-out to Community CarShare), car rentals, carpooling, city and regional busses, taxis/ridesharing, etc. The money saved from not owning a car easily covers these costs.


How has living car free benefited you and others?

-More money in my pocket to spend (which also benefits our local economy)

-One less car on the road (decreased congestion, safer streets, lower emissions)

-Improved health/wellness from biking/walking (my employer also benefits as I rarely take a sick-day and show up fully-awake).

-Guilt-free eating to replace calories burned on the bike

-Riding bikes is addictive and so it’s also turned into a wonderfully rewarding recreational hobby.


Introducing: Kevin

How long have you lived car free?

Our family in Brampton has been free of car ownership for about 5 years.


What inspired you to ditch your car or remain car-free?

We started moving away from car ownership when my spouse and I sat down to discuss “the cost of going to work”. At the time, we realized that it cost less for me to take GO Transit to work than to pay for parking. We were able to shift priorities around, and sell the 2 cars we owned. It allowed my spouse to stay home with our kids, giving her the time and energy to be a more engaged parent, and us to forgo daycare costs.


How do you get around? (around town and longer road trips) How do you do this

in a Canadian winter?

It’s complete re-democratized how we get around. If we need to go somewhere together, we can cycle if it’s nearby, or take a cab or transit if it’s further away. My oldest child is old enough to take transit on her own now, and she knows how to get around Brampton better than her friends.

For a few years, we owned a cargo bike to help us move the kids when they were smaller, and for larger loads. Now, the kids are old enough now to carry small loads on their bikes, so they help with groceries!


How has living car free benefited you and others?

Not having a car has brought us closer together. I’m able to have a conversation with my kids while seated on transit or peddling to our destination.

We’ll probably get another cargo bike in a year or so. 🙂


eMERGE thanks Jordan and Kevin for their time, responses and for helping us make car-free day a little easier for the Guelph Community!


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Posted September 1, 2017

What do the most energy efficient homes look like? Well, a lot like your own.

Join eMERGE September 23rd to check out some of the most efficient houses in the city. Spanning the late 1800s to the early 90s, eMERGE has scoured the city for the best examples of how efficiency can mean cozy, comfortable and cost saving! It also means reducing your household environmental impact, on a road to 100% Renewable Energy in Guelph.

Come see these houses as owners will open up their homes to the community.

eMERGE Efficient Homes

September 23rd – 11:00 am to 4:00 pm


Here’s a taste of what you’ll see:

The Maitland Home – 36 Freshmeadow Way

When we think of efficient homes we think of insulation and sealing, of construction and renovation. While owners at 36 Freshmeadow Way included efficiency in the design plans of an extension, they are a prime example of how behaviour and habit might be the cheapest and most effective place to start reducing your household impact!

The Maitland home doesn’t boast fancy new electronic equipment. In fact their thermostat isn’t even programmable. But they do keep a keen eye on energy and water use. Opting for slippers and sweaters in the winter, owners keep their house temperature setting slightly lower, during the day, dropping it at night and when away.

In summer laundry is hung out back. In winter, laundry is hung in the basement. Seldom is the clothes dryer used, eliminating the electricity associated with one of the biggest energy using appliances in a house!

These good habits extend to behaviours through the day. From showers, to washing dishes, to lighting, owners use what’s needed to keep happy and comfortable at home.

While behaviour has been a key component to household utility use, this 1993, two story home has seen a handful of modest changes to go along with a well-planned extension. While improving insulation in household walls can be an expensive yet satisfying retrofit, when considering beefing up the walls during a household extension, the marginal added cost is insignificant to the benefit received.

The 250 square foot extension was considered with care, and a contractor who knew their stuff (Braden Homes). The addition included beefed up insulation in the surrounding walls and the addition of insulation in attic spaces. Insulation was included under the foundation for a noticeable difference on the feet between the new and old construction. Of course serious attention was also given to air sealing.

While being efficient with energy was one focus from homeowners, these avid gardeners also take water conservation seriously, boasting low flow toilets, fixtures and featuring a sizable cistern collecting water which eventually feeds a generous veggie garden out back.

Sustainable features include:

  • Upgraded wall insulation
  • Upgraded attic insulation
  • Insulation under concrete slab of house extension
  • Heat reflecting window shades
  • Low flow water fixtures
  • Rainwater harvesting cistern

The McAuley Home/Office – 360 Woolwich St.

At first blush this 1890s home seems to use more than its fair share of energy? What’s the deal eMERGE?

On further inspection this large 3,000 square foot home AND office uses 36% less energy per square foot than the typical Guelph residence. It also out-performs the latest energy star rated homes. Pretty impressive, right?

What makes this space so efficient is not fancy technology or brand new upgrades. Instead retrofits completed 30 years ago focused on sealing and insulation. The end result: a quiet, comfortable office space, with 30+ years of lower bills. That’s a lot of money saved!

Sustainable features include:

  • Solar hot water system
  • Improved Sealing
  • Upgraded insulation


The Carter House – 60 Manitoba St.

(Note: This home will be open to the public Sunday September 24th from 10 am to 4 pm – NOT September 23rd)

Everyone knows that a house built in the 1800s is drafty and cold, right? Well, it turns it can be quiet, comfortable and extremely energy efficient! Through improved insulation and sealing the homeowner put his expertise to work on this 1885 bungalow which now uses a quarter of the energy that an average house in Guelph does.

That’s not only money saved on energy costs, but makes for a comfy place to kick up your feet!

Why stop there? Not only is this home energy wise, it also uses 30% less water than the average home, with a greywater system installed to feed low flush toilets.

Sustainability features include:

  • Solar hot water system
  • Air-sourced heat pump for space heating and domestic hot water
  • Medium/high efficiency heat recovery ventilator
  • Straw bale wall insulation upgrade
  • Improved ceiling insulation
  • Improved sealing
  • Upgraded windows


Intrigued? Come see these homes September 23rd.

More details to come. Check back soon!

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Posted August 22, 2017

Do you want to do your part for mitigating climate change? Are you interested in seeing Guelph go 100% Renewable Energy?

eMERGE will be hosting a series of exciting, hands-on and interactive 100% Renewable Energy Guelph events beginning this fall. In order to pull this off, we need a diverse and talented group of environmental stewards, electric car enthusiasts and conservation mavens to lend a hand in spreading the 100% Renewable Energy message!

Specific volunteer opportunities include:

100% RE Events and Electric Car Show Team

100% RE Strategic Advisory Committee 

Fill out your eMERGE volunteer application today!

Volunteer Application

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Posted August 2, 2017

eMERGE Overshoot Day 2017 by aerin venema

To book your Home Tune-Up, click here!

To calculate your own overshoot day, click here.

Click here to find more pledges to make to reduce your footprint.

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