Take Action Burlington: An Update on Our Local Environment – Air

graphic with energy related icons including lightbulb, solar panels, wind energy, EV, bike, etc.On June 17, 2019 City of Burlington sustainability staff presented Take Action Burlington: An Update on Our Local Environment to Council. This report provides an overview on the state of Burlington’s environment and highlights local sustainability efforts and actions that can be taken. This is the third of five posts about the report.

This post provides some highlights from the “Air” chapter of the report including climate change connections, what the city is doing and actions you can take.

Climate Change Connections

Burlington is being impacted by climate change and has identified it as a significant issue. Severe weather, higher summer temperatures and significant swings in winter temperature are just a few examples. Taking collective action to reduce our impact on climate change is crucial and requires less reliance on the use of fossil fuels in almost every aspect of our lives and businesses.

What are we doing?

Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHGs)

  • Community GHGs decreased almost 200,000 tonnes since the first Community Energy Plan (CEP) was developed in 2014. This is like taking 42,263 passenger vehicles off the road for one year! The CEP is transitioning to a Climate Action Plan in 2019.
  • The transportation sector represents almost 45 per cent of the community carbon footprint.
  • There are almost seven megawatts (MW) of installed solar projects, mainly in the form of solar panels on homes and businesses.
  • 12 local developments are known to be using geothermal systems. This is a system that uses earth energy to heat and cool buildings.
  • Although emissions from City operations are considered to be minor compared to community emissions, the City is committing to City operations being net carbon neutral by 2040.
Tables showing community emissions by year and source between 2012 and 2017 and community emissions by year and sector from 2011 to 2017
Burlington’s Community Emissions by Year and Source (on the left) and by Year and Sector (on the right).

Air Quality

  • The Province has several monitoring stations to report on air quality. One station is in Burlington near the QEW at North Shore Boulevard East and Lakeshore Road.


  • Travel in Burlington is primarily by personal vehicle. To become a net carbon neutral community, Burlington residents need to reduce travel by low carbon forms of transportation like personal vehicles or transit, and increase active transportation trips like walking, cycling, etc.
  • 7 kilometers are dedicated to cycling in Burlington. A new cycling plan will be released in 2019.
  • The market share of new registrations for electric vehicles (EVs) increased from 1.45 per cent in 2015 to 5.01 per cent in 2018.
  • As of 2018, there are 29 Level 2 charging ports on City property, most of which are downtown.
Two tables showing Travel in Burlington (driver, passenger, local transit, GO, and cycle/walk/other) and cycling facilities.
Travel Choice in Burlington (on the left) and Cycling Facilities in kilometers (on the right)

What can you do?


Placing a bicycle on a Burlington Transit bus bike rack
Commuting by bike and bus.

Home / Business

  • Building a new home or business? Consider a net-zero energy building which produces as much energy as is used on an annual basis. Such homes have a better building envelope with more insulation and high efficiency/triple glaze windows.
  • Renovating?
    • Check out saveonenergy.ca for offers to help save you money on items such as insulation, air sealing, windows, water heaters and other heating and cooling incentives.
    • Consider an air source heat pump, which can provide efficient heating and cooling.
    • Replacing appliances? Make sure they are Energy Star labelled. This means they use less energy to operate, saving you money every time you use them.
  • Reduce phantom power by unplugging all non-essential devices such as chargers, coffee makers and other small appliances.
  • Renewable energy

Stay tuned for upcoming posts on water and waste. You can also view a copy of the full report (pdf), the online story map, and previous blog posts about the report (introductory and land theme).

Take Action Burlington! Collectively we can make a difference.


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