Canada is the sixth largest consumer of energy in the world (Canada Government, 2002). This can be attributed to Canada's "vast distances, cold climate, energy-intensive industrial base, relatively low energy prices, and high standard of living" (Canada Government, 2002). The excessive use of energy has environmental, economic and social concerns; therefore, it is desirable to reduce energy consumption. One way to address this problem is to increase energy efficiency.
In our society of over-consumption, there is a great potential to become more energy efficient. Therefore, the first question we will address is what potential exists for energy efficiency in the Québec residential sector. Knowing that, we can then investigate the barriers to energy efficiency that exist and the socio-economic classes to which they apply. Finally, we will examine the tools and programs that are most effective in overcoming these barriers, again, for each socio-economic class. It is important to know the potential for energy efficiency prior to studying the barriers and the tools to overcome them. If there is no potential, it would follow that barriers to energy efficiency do not exist, and therefore tools are unnecessary. Since we have an unattained potential for energy efficiency, we must identify the barriers that prevent Quebecers of various socio-economic classes from becoming energy efficient. It is necessary to divide barriers by socio-economic classes because some barriers apply more to one class than others due to income differences, for example. Once these barriers have been identified, we can then identify the tools most appropriate to overcome the barriers of the various socio-economic classes. Additionally, we will examine existing programs to show which tools are being used by these programs, and which programs are most effective.
Our methodological approach will primarily involve literature and reports issued by government agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGO's). This will be further addressed in the methodology section of our paper. A limitation of our research was the time limit which prohibited us from conducting surveys which would have yielded an analyzable data set. Additionally, interviews with NGO's and government agencies would have been helpful to determine the opinions of individuals working in this area. While we have reviewed a large quantity of literature, there remains much that we have not had the time to read and apply to our project.
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