reducing emmissons

Glossary

Adaptation: Addresses climate change by addressing its impacts. Learn more about Waterloo Region’s climate adaptation plans here.

Air-Source Heat Pumps: The most common, drawing heat from outside air during the heating season and rejecting heat outside for cooling. These allow adequate heating even during cold weather.

Backcasting: A planning method which begins with imagining an outcome in the future, and moving backwards from the vision to the present day to understand what steps are needed to reach that outcome.
(Source: http://www.naturalstep.ca/backcasting)

Biofuels: An energy source made from organic matter or waste. They can be replenished quickly, and the organic matter captures carbon during its growth.

Carbon Dioxide Equivalent (CO2e): This is a term used to describe different GHGs in a common unit. Greenhouse gases like methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O), each have different impacts on climate change. For example, 1 tonne of methane has the same impact on climate change as 25 tonnes of carbon dioxide, so it is expressed as 25 tonnes of CO2e.

Carbon Footprint: The amount of greenhouse gases emitted by something (such as a person’s activities or a product’s manufacture and transport) during a specified period of time. 
(Source: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/carbon%20footprint)

Carbon Neutrality: see Net-zero.

Carbon Offsets: A reduction in carbon dioxide or other GHG emissions made in order to compensate for emissions made elsewhere. They are sold to enable the purchaser to claim the GHG reductions as their own.

Coefficient of Performance (COP): For heating and cooling equipment is found by dividing the power output of the equipment by the power input, both in KWh. The higher the COP, the more efficient the equipment is.

District Energy Systems: Instead of producing heat for space and water on-site (such as your furnace or hot water heater), district energy systems produce heat in a single location and use a network of insulated pipes to deliver hot water or steam to buildings. This is often much more efficient than individual on-site heat generation.

Embodied Carbon: A measurement of the carbon used in the manufacturing and transport of a good or service, before it is even used. This includes carbon emitted into the atmosphere during the growth, mining, extraction, harvesting, transport, manufacturing, and distribution of materials.

Equity-deserving Groups: Refer to members of society who experience barriers to equal access, opportunities and resources due to historical disadvantages and discrimination and are often underrepresented in key decision-making positions. These are groups that deserve recognition, a reduction in burdens, and fairer access to societal benefits. Groups that are actively seeking social justice and reparation are referred to as equity-seeking groups (Canada Council for the Arts, n.d.). The following are examples of relevant equity-deserving and seeking groups in the Canadian context: low-income, racialized groups, immigrants, people with disabilities, people experiencing homelessness, Indigenous groups (who are also seeking sovereignty in addition to equity), 2SLBGTQIA+, women, youth, seniors, refugees, and workers affected by green transitions.

Geo-exchange (ground-source heat pumps): One of two types of heat pumps used for heating and cooling. Depending on the season, it transfers heat from the ground or water through a building, or transfers heat from a building back into the ground or water. Horizontal systems use shallow pipes in the ground over a large area. Vertical systems, which use pipes drilled deep into the earth, can be used in some locations where it will not disrupt our groundwater.

Green Hydrogen: A clean burning fuel that uses renewable energy to split water into its component elements of hydrogen and oxygen. It has several applications including as an energy source for vehicles.

Greenhouse Gases: Sometimes written as ‘GHGs’, greenhouse gases are gases (such as carbon dioxide and methane) that trap heat from the sun inside of Earth’s atmosphere. As more greenhouse gases are released into our atmosphere (largely through the burning of fossil fuels), more heat is trapped by them. This raises the temperature of the air, ocean, and water, changing our living conditions and increasing the likelihood of extreme weather events both globally and locally.

Ground-Source Heat Pumps: An energy source that used the earth, ground water, or both as the source of heat in the winter, and as a reservoir to reject heat from the home in the summer. These are less common than air source heat pumps. Some of these applications require drilling deep holes, and can only be used where they will not disrupt our groundwater.

Mitigation: Mitigation addresses climate change by addressing the causes of it, working to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases at the source of their production. ClimateActionWR’s actions and action owners work towards climate change mitigation locally. Mitigation is often contrasted with adaptation.

Net-zero: Refers to achieving an overall balance between GHGs produced and GHGs reduced or offset by renewable energy.

Regenerative Land Management: A set of principles and practices that reverse current trends of degradation in soil, water and air quality by enhancing the soil ecosystem and restoring its biology. This helps mitigate climate change: reducing dependence on chemicals and pesticides resulting in more nutrient dense food, and generating greater economic viability for farmers. It also greatly assists with climate change adaptation: drawing carbon into soil and increasing resilience against drought, floods, and extreme weather events (Regeneration Canada, 2021).

Solar walls: A technology used to absorb solar heat and passively heat a building.

15-minute community: Where people can meet their daily needs for goods, services, and employment using active transportation, within a short walk, bike ride, or roll.

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