Electrify This … Snow Blowers

In Canada, we are famous for our winter season. We celebrate it with festivals like Winterlude and Carnivale. When we get a major dump of snow like Newfoundland did in 2020, we call it Snowmaggeddon and talk about it for months. We train our kids at a young age to brush the snow off the car. We even make fridges out of snowbanks to keep our beer cold. That is truly Canadian.

You know what else is truly Canadian?  Taking care of the environment. But get this, Canada sells roughly 200,000 gas powered snow blowers a year.

Gas-powered snow blowers are said to emit 1 pound of CO2 equivalent emissions per hour, and that the average snow blower runs for 8 hours every winter. According to StatsCan 2008 data, 20% of Canadian households have snow blowers. I know it’s old data, but it’s not our fault StatsCan doesn’t publish this stuff more often. So, if Canada has 13 million homes and 20% of that have a snow blower in operation every winter, that’s roughly 2.6 million snow blowers. To give you an idea of how many that is, it’s like having the Ottawa Senators sell out the Canadian Tire Centre over 139 times. Now that I think about it, maybe that’s a bad comparison during these unprecedented times.

If every snow blower runs 8 hours per winter season and we have 2.6 million snow blowers, that’s 20,800,000 lbs of emissions we are putting out into the atmosphere every year. Let’s metricize this – that’s 9434721.296 kg, the equivalent of over 904,000 emperor penguins. That would be more penguins than people who live in all of PEI!

That’s why I, Sparky Watts, am asking policy makers to consider reducing emissions by targeting gas guzzling products one at a time. It’s time to change up how we clear out snow. How about instituting a cash for clunkers program to incentivise Canadians to replace their gas snow blowers for cleaner options? This would ensure responsible recycling and steer shoppers away from upgrading to another gas snowblower.

Our country is moving towards Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050. These small steps to decarbonize by incentivising electrification will contribute to Canada’s ambitious goal.

I’m challenging the Federal government and ask for some real change, like putting a plug on gas guzzling snow blowers.

This is the first in a series of recommendations by Sparky Watts. Stay tuned for Electrify This…. Zambonis.