Hot Water Emissions

1. How are my personal hot water heater emissions calculated? The amount of hot water used by households of different sizes (for example, one person, three persons, five persons) is estimated based on research. You indicated how many people lived in your household earlier on. Based on that information, the amount of hot water used in your household is estimated. Then, based on the fuel you indicate your water heater uses, an estimate is made of the total amount of oil, natural gas, electricity or other fuel your house uses to heat water over the course of a year. Your household is assumed to have a "standard" water heater, and, based on the fuel it uses, the amount of fuel it will burn to provide your estimated household hot water needs can be fairly well established. If you have a new "standard" hot water heater, or a "high-efficiency" hot water heater, you can use the "hints and tips" to get a better idea of your personal hot water heating emissions using the more efficient hot water heater. The fuel consumption number is then multiplied by an "emission factor" - the known amount of greenhouse gases produced when, say, a cubic metre of natural gas or a litre of oil is burned. These emission factors have been established by scientific studies research organizations. The total greenhouse gas emissions produced by your house to heat water are then divided by the number of people in your home to arrive at your personal emissions. The amount of hot water your household uses will be affected by the appliances you have. By clicking on the appliances listed (clothes washer, dishwasher, pool heater or hot tub), you help the calculator figure out how much hot water your household uses.

2. How does my water heater fuel affect emissions? Different fuels release different amounts of greenhouse gases when they are used. For example, for a given amount of energy needed, natural gas produces fewer greenhouse gases when it is burned than heating oil, and wood produces fewer greenhouse gases than natural gas. Depending on which province you live in, electricity either produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions than natural gas, or more.

3. How is hot water energy use affected by clothes washers, dishwashers, pool heaters, and hot tubs? Whether or not your household has a clothes washer, it is assumed that everyone uses one. In other words, the clothes washer you use does not have to be in your house or apartment. It could be in a laundromat or in another house you, a family member, friend or neighbour owns. Your emissions from using a clothes washer are automatically included in your personal hot water heating emissions. Not everyone has one, but a modern dishwasher uses as much or less hot water than the average person washing dishes by hand. Dishwashers only consume more energy and create more greenhouse gas emissions from hot water use when a special feature, such as a "pots and pans" cycle is used. In the calculator, it is assumed that a normal cycle is used. Therefore, the amount of hot water used by a dishwasher is assumed to be the same as if you were washing dishes by hand, and the hot water emissions from dishwashing are automatically included in your personal hot water heating emissions.

However, dishwashers do create more emissions than washing dishes by hand because of the electricity they use to run the motor and operate features such as "heat-dry." The emissions from motor electricity use are added to your personal emissions if you indicate that you have a dishwasher, although only about 20 percent of the emissions created by using a dishwasher come from the motor. Pool heaters consume a lot of energy and create a lot of greenhouse gas emissions. Most pool heaters use electricity to heat the water, so the emissions created will vary depending on which province you live in. Although the pool heater may not make the water seem that warm, most pools contain a lot of water. Even heating up the water in a pool by a few degrees Celsius consumes a lot of energy and creates a lot of emissions because of the large amount of water that has to be heated. Hot tubs also consume a lot of energy and create a lot of emissions. This is because they usually come with an electric heater that boosts the temperature of the water. Hot tubs also have fairly powerful electric motors to power the water jets. Often hot tubs are placed outdoors or in cool basements, which further increases their consumption of energy because the cold air cools the water, which has to be reheated by the electric heater. Because hot tubs generally use electricity, the emissions created by your hot tub will vary depending on which province you live in.