Newsletter #3

Check out the March 2022 Pocket Change Project Newsletter

Looking forward to spring - and turning off our furnaces!

Friends and neighbours, it's been a tough and lonely winter for many of us, but as the days warm and the pandemic numbers fall, spirits are lifting.

Here at the Pocket Change Project, we can't wait to turn off our furnaces, the #1 source of carbon emissions for most Canadian families.

While turning down your thermostat a few degrees has long been the hallmark of an eco-conscious household, burning methane all winter long is simply not tenable in the face of the climate change emergency. That's why we spend so much time learning and sharing information about alternatives to natural gas heating.

And we can tell you, those alternatives are becoming cheaper and easier to find as more and more people are turning to air source heat pumps (ASHPs) - even in Canada's coldest cities!

Read on for more on ASHPs and other highlights from February.

Air Source Heat Pump Webinar

Everything you wanted to know about heat pumps but were afraid to ask!

On March 3, the Pocket Change Project held a webinar on ASHPs, the unsung hero of green energy transition!

In this accessible primer, Erik Janssen, an analyst with the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority’s Sustainable Technologies Evaluation Program (STEP) shared his research on the basics of heat pumps and how they can make a major impact in reducing our residential greenhouse gas emissions.

If you missed it, we've posted a summary and video of the webinar.

Interested in learning more about ASHPs?

How Heat Pumps Work - Nate Adams, the House Whisperer from Cleveland, OH, has a great video breaking down heat pumps for residential uses.

How To Heat Your Home Without Heating The Planet - Brett Tyron has a great rundown in Chatelaine on why switching off natural gas is key to fighting climate change, is not more expensive (especially as the carbon tax rises), and will make your home more comfortable.

Why oil and gas heating bans for new homes are a growing trend - The CBC's Emily Chung has a great primer on why cities across Canada and the world are banning natural gas heating in newly constructed homes.

Guest Blog - The Ravina Project

We're starting a new feature on the Pocket Change website – The Ravina Project Blog by Gord Fraser. It will discuss lessons from almost 15 years of energy data gathered from a local Pocket household.

In his inaugural post, Gord takes a look at the impact of installing solar vs. insulating and reducing your natural gas use, and the result isn't even close.

Check out the Home Retrofits section of our website for more on how Pocket neighbours are retrofitting their homes and sharing tips on how to do so (and who to hire to do it.)

Study Explores Methane Leaks in Gas Ranges

Many of us grew up either coveting a gas stove or congratulating ourselves when preparing a delicious meal by saying, "Now you're cooking with gas!"

Swap out the marketing term - natural gas - for its scientific name - methane - and it just doesn't have the same ring.

Many people are taking a second look at their methane-burning stoves, especially now that induction stovetops are becoming more widely available.

No longer the sole purview of high-end European kitchens, induction stovetops are wildly efficient, can boil a pot of water in 90 seconds, and are safe for kids - the surface doesn't even get hot to the touch as heat is directly transferred to the pot via magnetic field.

Now, as if we didn't need another reason to switch off the natural gas in our households, a new study shows that gas stovetops are leaking methane even when they're off - silently increasing our carbon footprints 24/7.

For more on gas ranges and induction stovetops:

Why I’m Firing My Gas Stove

We need to talk about your gas stove, your health and climate change

ICYMI: Pocket Retrofit Coach Paul Dowsett on The Toronto Real Estate Podcast

Paul Dowsett and Daniel Hall of The Architect Builders Collaborative joined Sherille and Ed Layton on their podcast in March to discuss some of the green renovations they've been involved in.

Got a question about environmental retrofits? The Retrofit Coach is here for you.

Call out for garden sharers

As the snow melts, people across the Pocket are starting to rub their green thumbs together. In the spirit of community, we're looking to launch a garden matchmaker program to connect those who want to garden but don't have a yard with those who have gardens but have no interest in tending them.

Who knows if this will work, but it's worth a try.

Please email [email protected] to get involved.

Opportunities to get involved

We need you to help us build the Pocket Change Project. Bring your enthusiasm, experience and expertise to help with:

  • Communications - Prepare materials to share with Pocket Homeowners.
  • Website maintenance - Keep the new Pocket Change website informative and appealing. Help with design, administration, and/or content update.
  • Survey of Pocket homeowners – Help design, execute and/or process an online survey.
  • Track our carbon emissions – Help build and/or maintain an Excel database.
  • Pocket Laneway Project– Help arrange Indigenous art along the laneway, and advise on other improvements.

Email us if you're interested in pitching in on any of the above.


Until next month,


Liisa and Marco

Pocket Change Project

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