The world's energy demand has been increasing exponentially as a result of our ever-increasing world population. In Canada, the majority of energy is currently supported via fossil resources - natural gas, oil, and coal. These fossil fuels are used for transportation, commercial, industrial and residential uses.
Due to the combustion of fossil fuels, profuse amounts of pollutants are released into the air, negatively impacting the local air quality levels. Local air quality is a vital concern; however winds and atmospheric turbulence can transport harmful emissions from neighbouring regions, which ultimately adds to the overall local air quality levels. Poor air quality can cause acute and chronic diseases in humans as well as animals and plants.
In Hamilton, there are various programs available for the public that are related to air quality and reducing energy consumption. A number of programs offer help to combat poor air quality and promote a more sustainable approach to local energy consumption:
Peaksaver Program allows residential and small commercial customers of Horizon Utilities with central air conditioning to help reduce the demands on Ontario's electricity system through the installation of a free peaksaver programmable thermostat. The thermostat can be remotely signaled by the Ontario Power Authority during critical times of peak electricity demand to operate 15 minutes on, 15 minutes off over a 4 hour period to reduce the amount of electricity used.
Generation Conservation is an innovative and exciting curriculum-based energy conservation program offered by Horizon Utilities for grade 5 students attending schools in Hamilton and St. Catharines.
Electricity Retrofit Incentive Program (ERIP) focuses on retrofitting areas of lighting, motors, heating, ventilation and air conditioning, as well as overall electricity systems. By taking advantage of this program, businesses can contribute to a cleaner environment and benefit from incentives and lowered operating costs. In 2008, Horizon Utilities' customers contributed 1,676kW in peak demand reduction through the ERIP program.
Earth Hour is a global event organized by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) which annually encourages households and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights and appliances for one hour to raise awareness of the need to tackle climate change. Earth Hour 2010 will take place on March 27, 2010 from 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm, local time.
Blackout Challenge is an annual event in response to the August 14, 2003 blackout that affected South-Eastern Canada and North-Eastern U.S. In 2007, Mayor Harding of Woodstock issued a challenge to all municipalities in Ontario to reduce consumption in their respective cities by 4% on the anniversary day of the 2003 blackout. On August 14, 2010, you are invited to conserve energy by powering down and having fun with the lights off.
Ontario Power Authority's Every kilowatt Counts offers a variety of residential energy saving programs including: The Power Savings Event, The Great Refrigerator Roundup, Cool Savings Rebate and peaksaver®.
PowerWISE offers a variety of resources including a home energy audit tool, a PowerWISE electricity calculator, as well as an abundance of conservation tips.
Take advantage of the ecoENERGY retrofit grant to make your home more energy efficient and help you save money.
Green Venture offers a variety of energy focused programs including home energy evaluations.
Toronto Atmospheric Fund and the Greater Toronto Area Clean Air Partnership's LightSavers Program combines grants, financing and market research to build awareness and advance the use of LED lamps and intelligent lighting system controls across the GTA and Hamilton areas.
Ontario Power Authority's microFIT Program allows homeowners and business owners to generate green energy from renewable resources and sell it for a guaranteed price. Specifically, for all the electricity produced from your very small (micro) renewable electricity generation project (10 kilowatts or less in size), is guaranteed for at least 20 years.

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