Energy sources

Considering your options

Picking by price and availability

Common energy sources for heating your home or building include natural gas, electricity, oil, wood and propane Some heating systems use a single energy source. Others use a mix of energy sources or alternatives such as solar energy.

Price and location are the two main variables in choosing an energy source to heat your home. Prices vary depending on the type of energy source and where you live. Some energy sources are not available in certain regions.

Availability

Oil and electricity are available in most locations across Canada.

Natural gas, which is delivered by pipeline, is not available in much of Atlantic Canada or in many remote areas.

Propane is available in most parts of the country. It is often used in rural or cottage areas as a substitute for oil or natural gas.

Wood is a cost-effective complement to a primary energy source in most areas.

Price it out

Call a local energy supplier to learn about rates in your area. Prices should include all fees, e.g. propane tank rental, not just the cost of the energy.

Different types of energy are measured in different units. To compare costs, you may have to convert measurements.

Consider the environmental impact

Generating, transporting and using energy all have environmental impacts. Choose the cleanest energy source you can.

Burning oil, propane and natural gas releases greenhouse gases (GHGs) into the atmosphere. These fossil fuels are also extracted from the ground and transported to end users, both activities that impact the environment.

Electricity produces no GHGs when it is used, but it may have an environmental effect at the point of generation; for example, in Alberta, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, coal and heavy oil are burned to produce electricity, emitting GHGs in the process. Hydroelectric power generation at dams, for example in British Columbia, Manitoba and Quebec, can emit high levels of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Nuclear plants that generate electricity in Ontario and New Brunswick also produce environmental hazards such as radioactive waste.