February 08, 2012 12:46 ET

C3 Study Charts Potential Savings from Energy Efficiency Expenditures in Alberta Homes and Buildings

Research identifies best future investments and estimates potential energy conserved, costs avoided, and GHG emissions prevented

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Feb. 8, 2012) - An economic study has outlined various levels of positive-return future investment in energy efficiency in Alberta that would produce corresponding reductions in energy use, energy costs, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by buildings in the province's residential, commercial, and institutional sectors.

The projections are part of a Conservation Potential Review (CPR), which was prepared by C3, Alberta's independent, non-profit energy efficiency champion. The study provides a numerical basis for discussions about where the most economic opportunities exist with buildings to moderate energy use, lower costs, and avoid GHG emissions.

To view a graph associated with this release, titled "Energy cost savings and GHG emissions avoided in 2015 through different levels of expenditure on cost-effective energy efficiency measures" please visit the following link:


"Previous research told us Albertans want to be more energy efficient," said C3 President and CEO, Simon Knight. "This study helps pinpoint where Alberta can focus efforts to get the best return on energy efficiency investment in our building stock."

The CPR projected energy use assuming the continuation of historical consumption trends and contrasted these projections with a situation in which Alberta was the most energy efficient province. It then estimated the extent to which cost-effective expenditures on efficiency measures could lower energy consumption, energy costs, and GHG emissions, and make Alberta the national leader in building energy efficiency.

The research contemplated various levels of positive-return investments that could be employed to reduce specific energy uses (such as lighting, appliances, heating and cooling):

  • A relatively small expenditure by Albertans of $21 million annually would capture the most cost effective energy efficiency measures. This level of expenditure was estimated to reduce yearly energy costs by $128 million and prevent annual GHG emissions of 0.7 megatonnes.
  • A larger expenditure of $114 million annually would implement a majority of cost-effective measures. This level of expenditure was calculated to lessen yearly energy costs by $330 million and avoid annual GHG emissions of 1.8 megatonnes.
  • An expenditure of $326 million annually was the level calculated as being needed to capture all cost effective energy efficiency improvements within the province's buildings. This would drive down yearly energy costs by $662 million and avert annual GHG emissions of 3.7 megatonnes.

Potential annual benefits from cost-effective energy efficiency expenditures in 2015

Selecting the most cost-effective measures Capturing a majority of cost-effective measures Capturing all cost-effective measures
Energy efficiency expenditure required (millions of dollars annually) $(21 ) $(114 ) $(326 )
Resulting energy costs avoided (millions of dollars annually) $128 $330 $662
Resulting GHG emissions averted (megatonnes annually) 0.7 1.8 3.7

The review identified specific areas of energy use in buildings that have the largest opportunities for energy efficiency improvements and those that offer the best benefit-cost ratios. The largest potential savings within residential homes were seen to lie in space heating and cooling and in water heating. Within commercial and institutional buildings, the largest potential savings were predicted to be in space heating and cooling and in auxiliary equipment, which includes such things as computer and related equipment, food service equipment, and refrigeration.

Largest energy efficiency saving opportunities and associated expenditures by 2015

Residential Commercial and Institutional
Space heating/cooling Water heating Space heating/cooling Auxiliary equipment
Energy efficiency expenditure required (millions of dollars annually) $(93 ) $(74 ) $(59 ) $(7 )
Resulting energy costs avoided (millions of dollars annually) $201 $83 $128 $80
Resulting GHG emissions averted (megatonnes annually) 1.2 0.5 0.7 0.4

About the Conservation Potential Review

The CPR is a comprehensive economic analysis of potential energy conservation within Alberta's residential, commercial, and institutional buildings to 2015 and beyond. It was undertaken to provide quantitative data to policy-makers to decide whether to increase investment in energy efficiency in the province, how much investment is needed, and where to target policies, including energy efficiency program planning and design.

To review the CPR outcomes, view here: Conservation Potential Review.

The publication of the CPR summary follows the issuance in December 2011 of C3's Energy Use Survey results, which indicated that Alberta residents are keen to become more energy efficient at home. Respondents said that while upfront costs of some energy-saving measures are a significant barrier, they would be willing to pay more than they do now to fund additional provincial energy efficiency programs to remove these barriers. More households supported paying towards additional energy efficiency programs through their provincial taxes or via a dedicated surcharge on utility bills, rather than through increases in utility rates.

About C3

C3 is an Alberta-based non-profit that encourages energy efficiency and the small-scale use of alternative energy sources by Albertans. We engage decision-makers - individuals, businesses and other organizations - to encourage new choices about energy use. C3 partners with government, municipalities and corporations to design and administer tailored programs to help people use less energy, save money and reduce GHG emissions.

Contact Information

  • C3
    Scott Ranson
    Acting Sr. Manager, Communications & Engagement
    403-517-2729 or 403-796-8386

    Gina Sutherland
    Sr. Coordinator, Communications & Engagement
    403-517-2711 or 403-612-4724