Community Climate Action

Every day actions you can take as a resident or business owner to reduce your carbon footprint and address climate change.

Reduce your carbon footprint


  • Open your blinds to let natural light brighten a room
  • Use compact fluorescent light bulbs – they last longer and use 75 per cent less electricity than conventional bulbs
  • Install motion sensors for outside lights to avoid having them on all the time
  • Turn off lights when you leave a room to save energy and avoid producing unnecessary heat in warmer months

Appliances and electronics

  • When replacing or purchasing new appliances and electronics, consider using ENERGY STAR certified products to help you save energy
  • Set the refrigerator temperature at about 3 degrees Celsius and the freezer at -18 degrees Celsius
  • Don’t overfill the refrigerator as this blocks air circulation, requiring more energy to keep your food cool, and may result in frozen food in some areas of the fridge; conversely, a full freezer will require less energy than an empty one
  • Air dry your dishes and save on the cost of operating the drying cycle of your dishwasher
  • Check and clean dishwasher drains regularly to ensure efficient energy operation and try to cycle with a full load while using the energy saving cycle
  • Wash and rinse your clothes in cold water which will reduce your energy consumption significantly
  • Run full dryer loads, using the moisture sensing setting and clean the lint filter after every load - clogged filter will increase energy use
  • Separate loads into heavy, medium and lightweight items to optimize time needed to dry
  • Use an outdoor clothesline in the warmer weather instead of a dryer


  • Install a low-flow showerhead in the bathroom which will restrict waterflow and reduce the energy needed for heating hot water and pumping the hot water to the shower
  • Install a dual-flush toilet; this allows you to choose the amount of water you need to use for each flush
  • Install low flow aerators on faucets; this can significantly reduce water consumption
  • Take shorter showers and use less water in baths
  • Fix leaky faucets; little drips can add up to 95 litres of water per faucet per month and in turn cost you 7kWh per month
  • Use the vacation setting or turn off the water heater when you are out of town
  • Frain a pain of water from your natural gas hot water tank every three months (or as recommended by the manufacturer) to remove sediment build-up that prevents heat transfer in turn lowering the unit’s efficiency

Heating and cooling

  • In the colder months, reduce the temperature of your home by a few degrees at night and when you are away, during warmer months do the opposite to avoid air conditioning turning on as often
  • Use area rugs on cold floors to avoid cooling your feet and body as quickly and add layers of clothes to avoid turning the thermostat on
  • Cool your home to only 24 or 25 degrees Celsius instead of the low 20s – each degree below 26 Celsius will noticeably increase your electricity usage

Making simple daily changes to our daily and shopping habits can help reduce harmful GHG emissions and unnecessary waste. How you can shop more sustainably:

  • Choose reusable items instead of disposable – easy swaps include purchasing reusable water bottles or travel mugs, reusable straws and cutlery and reusable shopping bags or totes.
  • Pack meals for school, work or travel in washable and refillable containers with little packaging.
  • Plan your shopping trips ahead of time and buy only what you need to avoid unnecessary food waste. Try to select items with limited packaging.
  • Shop locally and purchase locally made goods or locally grown food. This helps reduce GHG emissions and unnecessary packaging from shipping.
  • Borrow, share or rent items you may use infrequently.
  • Extend the lifecycle of an item by having it repaired. Or, if it’s still in good condition but you need a change then consider swapping with friends or neighbours or donating and buying second-hand.
  • Sort your household waste appropriately: Use Halton Region’s Put Waste In Its Place tool to help you appropriately sort your household and special event waste into recyclables, compost and garbage.
  • Planning an event on town property? The Town of Oakville has adopted a Towards Zero Waste procedure that applies to all event planning and execution within the municipality. Learn more about greening your event in the event planning guidelines

Emissions from vehicles are a major source of GHG emissions. GHGs not only contribute to environmental problems such as climate change, but also cause health concerns by contributing to poor air quality. To reduce vehicle emissions you can:

  • Choose hybrid or fully electric when shopping for a new vehicle. Hybrid and electric cars will produce much less GHGs than gasoline-powered cars. Electric vehicle charging stations are conveniently located in commercial areas and at municipal facilities in Oakville.
  • Reduce your fuel consumption while you’re behind the wheel by accelerating gently, maintaining a steady speed, anticipating traffic, avoiding high speeds and coasting to decelerate. Learn more about fuel-efficient driving techniques.
  • Properly inflate tires help to reduce your fuel consumption and contribute to safe driving. Learn more about the fuel saving benefits of properly inflated tires.
  • Avoid idling your vehicle; learn more about the town’s Anti-Idling By-law.  

Smart commuting

Instead of driving, consider a carpooling, cycling, walking, roller blading or taking the bus or train to get to work, run errands, or visit family and friends.

Environmentally friendly commuting initiatives at the town:

Protect the environment

Boulevard gardening

The boulevard (the green space between the road and your property line or sidewalk) can be the perfect spot for a garden. Permits are no longer required to plant a boulevard garden. 

Boulevard gardens beautify our roadsides and well-chosen, non-invasive plants that are designed to retain moisture can reduce water usage and therefore the need to use mowers and fertilizers. Introducing native and diverse plant species can also improve the health of our ecosystem. For these reasons, the town encourages residents to plant gardens on their boulevards, provided they do not obstruct the vision of drivers or prevent them from viewing traffic in all directions. 

Planting a pollinator garden

Pollination is an essential process for plant life which helps ensure genetic diversity and resilience of plants and almost always requires the external influence of insects and other wild animals. Bees, butterflies and moths as well as flies, beetles, ants, wasps, hummingbirds and occasionally bats, are important pollinators. Pollinators are under threat and facing population decline due to climate change, loss of habitat, toxins, use of pesticides and disease. 

Pesticides and natural alternatives

You can have a full, attractive lawn and garden without the use of harmful pesticides. For information on provincial regulations on the use and sale of pesticides, view the following resources:

Oakville’s tree canopy contributes to shade in the summer and protection from winds and their roots help reduce erosion and water runoff which may otherwise lead to flooding.

Tree removal

  • If you need to remove a tree from your private property that is greater than 15cm in diameter, please visit the town’s Private Tree Protection By-law to learn more about by-laws, policies, and procedures that are in place to preserve our community's tree canopy.


  • For information on how to take care of your trees, visit our Tree Planting page.

Invasive species

  • Remove invasive species widely found in Oakville such as Dog Strangling Vine and Garlic Mustard. For information on identifying and managing invasive species in trees on your property, visit the Tree Diseases, Pests and Invasive Plants page.

Pesticides and natural alternatives

You can have a full, attractive lawn and garden without the use of harmful pesticides. For information on provincial regulations on the use and sale of pesticides, view the following resources:

Use and dispose of chemicals and pollutants appropriately

  • When draining pool water, ensure chemicals have not been added for at least 10 days prior.
  • In the winter, use either low or no chloride ice melt.
  • Never dump hazardous waste into sewers or drains. Visit Halton Region's Waste Management Site to find proper disposal locations.

Think about protecting the environment this yard maintenance and landscaping season. Electric equipment offers an affordable, environmentally friendly and easy to maintain alternative for yard work. It also:

  • Eliminates carbon emissions and reduces reliance on fossil fuels.
  • Maneuvers easily being lightweight making yard work less demanding.
  • Improves the air quality in the natural environment.
  • Improves the health and quality of life for the community.
  • Saves you money on buying fuel! 

Landscaping and yard work can be just as clean going green. Visit your nearest retailer for more information. 

Open the Choose Electric Over Gasoline campaign flyer (pdf)

Reduce your business' carbon footprint

  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator (when possible)
  • Turn the energy-saving setting on all equipment
  • Unplug items that are not being used to avoid phantom power consumption
  • Turn their monitor off when away from their desks
  • Install CFLs or energy efficient fluorescent tube lighting
  • Install occupancy sensors and turn off lights that are not in use and at the end of the day
  • Install a programmable thermostat to automatically control temperature settings. In the summer, raise if to 25 degrees Celsius (28 degrees Celsius at night) to save on air conditioning. In the winter, lower it to 20 degrees Celsius (17 degrees Celsius at night) to reduce heating costs
  • Keep exterior doors closed and make sure all vents are clear. In the summer, close blinds or curtains to reduce heat build-up
  • Seal leaks, windows and doors and insulate buildings
  • Use reflective window film, awnings or shade trees to keep the heat from coming in through windows in the summer
  • Service HVAC systems regularly
  • Purchase laptops instead of desktops as they consume less energy
  • Consider using hosted computer applications, which are located in energy-efficient data centres
  • Install timers on printers and photocopiers and use the energy efficient setting
  • Purchase ENERGY STAR compliant electronic equipment to save on energy consumption and costs
  • Conduct an energy audit to evaluate energy use and plan reductions
  • When relocating or renovating, consult with a LEED-certified architect or designer. They’ll help you design your space to maximize energy efficiency and other environmental indicators
  • Buy wisely: products made from recycled materials usually contain less embodied energy (the energy associated with making the product) than those made from virgin materials
  • Go carbon neutral – find ways to measure, reduce and offset your carbon emissions

Additional resources

Climate change in Oakville

Learn how to help protect human health, the natural environment, residential homes and properties against the impacts of a changing climate.

Climate Change Primer

Fight against the climate crisis

Read about the top 10 actions you can take to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Oakville.

Top Ten Climate Change Actions