Natural gas is a widely available energy source that is often overlooked when deciding how to power your home. It is easily accessible in most regions of southern Ontario and offers a stable price. Connecting your home or office with natural gas is convenient and offers improved reliability for meeting your energy needs.
What is Natural Gas?
Natural gas is considered the Earth’s cleanest fossil fuel. It is a naturally occurring hydrocarbon that is primarily made up of methane but may also contain small amounts of natural gas liquids like ethane and propane.
Natural gas is both colourless and odourless. It is a clean source of energy because when it burns only water vapour and carbon dioxide are produced.
When natural gas forms in nature, it moves through the sediment where it was created. This causes fissures and fractures in the subsurface, and the gas will travel until it becomes trapped by layers of rock, shale, or clay. These reservoirs are where you can find natural gas today.
The term marketable resource refers to natural gas that is ready to be brought to the market. This natural gas volume has already had impurities removed and has already taken into account the energy that is needed to sustain surface facilities.
The Efficiency of Natural Gas
Not only is natural gas one of the cleanest sources of energy, and it is also very efficient. It is easy to transport, and there is almost no energy lost during the delivery and transmission to the final user.
Natural gas is also quite simple to store. In fact, excess renewable electricity can be converted to natural gas so it can be stored until it is needed.
Since the only byproduct of burning natural gas is water vapour and carbon dioxide, it can be converted to electricity very efficiently. New technology is also helping to improve this efficiency. As the gas moves through the pipeline, only about 8% of the energy is lost. This allows for an impressive 92% energy delivery rate.
Compared to Electricity
On the other hand, electricity loses a significant amount of power as it travels over a distance and only about 26% to 38% remains by the time it reaches the end-user. This can have negative implications for other clean energy sources like solar and wind because those plants are generally located further from homes and must generate more electricity to make up for what is lost.
Turbine generators that are powered by natural gas can ramp up or down quickly based on demand, making it extremely efficient in stabilizing the power generated by other sources. Instead of losing the excess energy created from sources like wind and solar, it can be combined with water and put through electrolysis so it can be stored.
This technology is called power to gas and has led to major efficiency improvements when it comes to energy storage.
Natural Gas in Canada
Canada is the fourth-largest producer and the sixth-largest exporter of natural gas in the world. The Canadian market is also heavily integrated with the US natural gas market, as the US accounts for 17% of our consumption.
Proved reserves include natural gas that is known to exist and is recoverable using existing technology. As of late 2017, there were over 69 trillion cubic feet of proved reserves in Canada, which means the current levels of production is sustainable for an estimated 300 years.
In 2018, 98% of all of the natural gas is Canada was sourced from the western provinces. Of this marketable natural gas, 69% was produced in Alberta.
There are three sections of the natural gas industry in Canada: upstream, midstream, and downstream. The upstream gas industry includes exploring and drilling for natural gas, as well as the production of raw natural gas. Companies in this industry may also have pipelines used to gather natural gas as well as field processing facilities.
The businesses in the midstream industry are the ones that operate the processing plants. These companies remove impurities from natural gas and manage storage and gathering facilities. Distribution companies make up the downstream natural gas industry. They use long-haul transmission pipelines to receive gas and then distribute it to customers.
Benefits of Natural Gas in Your Home
So now that we have established that natural gas is an efficient and abundant energy source in Canada, you may be wondering how this can be applied to your home. If you are building or renovating and have the opportunity to consider using natural gas for energy, here are some great ways you can incorporate it into your home.
No Need to Refill
Unlike a propane tank that requires constant refill deliveries, a natural gas-powered home is linked directly to the pipeline so that you always have access to energy when you need it.
Natural gas heating systems are a great alternative to traditional electric heat pumps as they are convenient, reliable, and efficient. They also produce warmer heat with temperatures ranging from 48 to 60 degrees Celsius, where an average electric pump will only deliver temperatures around 25 to 35 degrees Celsius.
Gas Water Heaters
Natural gas water heating systems provide an endless supply of hot water, as there is no tank required. Heating water makes up a large portion of household energy costs, so using natural gas is not only more efficient but also cheaper in the long run. You can also use natural gas to heat your pool!
This also goes for pool heaters as seen on our case studies page.
Another option is to upgrade your masonry fireplace to a natural gas fireplace. It is simple to convert to gas, and these fireplaces burn much more cleanly. Ash build-up and dangerous flying embers are eliminated, so this is even an option for areas of the country that have no burn regulations in place to reduce air pollution.
Perhaps one of the most appealing benefits of using natural gas appliances in your home is that you will not be reliant on electricity to use them. If there is severe weather and a power outage occurs, you do not have to worry about not being able to cook or heat your home. You can even have a natural gas standby generator nearby to provide a source of energy for the rest of your home!
There are many benefits to connecting natural gas to your home, including energy efficiency. If you are renovating your home or building a new office space, natural gas is a reliable and affordable energy option.