Energy Efficiency Trends in Canada
- Energy efficiency improved 26.5%, saving 1,766.1 PJ or $38.2 billion in energy and avoiding 94.8 Mt of GHG emissions.
- Secondary energy use (final energy demand) in Canada increased 30%. It would have increased 55% without energy efficiency improvements.
- Canada’s energy intensity per unit of GDP improved 27.5%
Energy use and GHG emissions
Secondary energy use by sector, 2015
|Distribution of energy use||Percentage|
GHG emissions by sector, 2015
|Distribution of GHGs||Percentage|
Motor gasoline and other oil products (diesel fuel oil, light fuel oil, kerosene, and heavy fuel oil) represented about 32% of energy use.
Secondary energy use by fuel type, 2015
|Distribution of energy use||Percentage|
|Other oil products||15.0|
|Aviation turbo fuel||3.0|
|Petroleum coke and still gas||5.2|
|Wood waste and pulping liquor||4.3|
The industrial sector used the most energy, consuming 3,540.5 PJ in 2015, while energy use in the transportation sector has been growing faster than that of the industrial sector (40% over the 1990–2015 period).
Total final demand and growth by sector, 1990 and 2015 (petajoules)
Canada’s GHG emissions excluding electricity-related emissions increased 32% between 1990 and 2015, while emissions including electricity-related emissions grew 22%.
GHG emissions related to electricity generation have observed an overall decrease because the fuel mix to generate electricity changed significantly. In particular, the share of coal used for electricity generation fell from 25% in 2008 to 16% in 2015.
Total GHG emissions and growth by sector, 1990 and 2015 (Mt CO2e)
The difference in the shares of energy and emissions is driven by the dominance of refined petroleum products in the transportation sector, providing a more GHG-intensive energy mix.
The Canadian population grew 29% (approximately 1.0% per year) and GDP increased 78.7% (about 2.3% per year).
Final energy demand, Canadian population and GDP, 1990–2015 (Index 1990=1)
|Final energy use index||Total GDP index*||Total population index|
Energy intensity per capita and per unit of GDP, 1990-2015 (Index 1990=1)
|Energy intensity per capita||Energy intensity per GDP|
One of the greatest sources of energy is the energy we save. We isolate and track the amount of energy saved through energy efficiency by identifying and measuring the other factors impacting energy use. These include:
- The activity effect is the increase in energy use due to the growth in the economy. Over the 1990-2015 period, the activity effect was 4,238.5 PJ, with a corresponding 224.8-Mt increase in GHG emissions.
- The structure effect is how the changing make-up of the economy influences energy use. For example, some industries may have growth subsectors that are more-or-less energy intensive than others. Over the 1990-2015 period, the economy moved toward less energy intensive industries, reducing energy demand by 722.4 PJ and GHG emissions by 29.3 Mt.
- The weather effect measures the impact of hotter or colder temperatures over time on energy use. In 2015, the winter was colder than in 1990 and the summer was a little warmer, resulting in a net energy use increase of 5.7 PJ and a 0.2-Mt increase in GHG emissions.
- The service level effect measures the uptake of equipment at home or in businesses. As the economy became more digital, the service level (or penetration of equipment of all types) resulted in increased energy use of 176.7 PJ and increased GHG emissions of 7.7 Mt.
The energy efficiency effect is the balance of the total change in energy use over time (1990-2015) less the impact of the identified factors above. As a result, in 2015 compared to 1990, the economy realized 1,766.1 PJ of energy savings and avoided 94.8 Mt of GHG emissions.
Summary of factors influencing the change in energy use, 1990–2015
|Total change in energy use||2055.8|
|Service level effect||176.7|
|Energy efficiency effect||-1776.1|
Steady increases in activity and, to a lesser degree, service level contributed most to increases in energy use. The structure effect resulting from a shift in production toward industries that are less energy-intensive resulted in a decrease of energy use especially from 2005. Steady energy efficiency improvement has been observed from 1990. However, this improvement has slowed down between 2009 and 2012. This could be attributable to the effects of the 2009 recession, when the industrial sector significantly lagged behind all other sectors in energy efficiency improvement.
Historical trends of factors influencing final energy use, 1990-2015
|Activity effect||Structure effect||Weather effect||Service level effect||Energy efficiency effect||Other|
Without significant ongoing improvements in energy efficiency in end-use sectors, energy use would have increased 55% between 1990 and 2015 instead of 30%. These energy savings of 1,776.1 PJ are equivalent to the energy use of about 39 million cars in 2015.
Final energy demand with and without energy efficiency improvements, 1990-2015
|Energy use without energy efficiency improvements||Energy use with energy efficiency improvements|
Over 94 Mt of GHGs were avoided in 2015, resulting from energy efficiency improvements in Canada. The transportation sector was the largest contributor at 47% of total GHG savings, followed by the residential sector at 29%. The industrial sector contributed about 16% and the commercial/institutional sector 8% of total GHG savings.
GHG savings by sector, 2015